There are many reasons why people decide to study the Finnish language. It might be the language of their favourite musicians, the almost mythical status that Finnish holds in the domain of the complicated languages or the fact that they are living\intend to live in Finland – for me, it was a mixture of all those.
At first, the language can impresses by its uniqueness: as you might have heard, Finnish bears little resemblance with other European languages and its grammar and vocabulary surely demand a certain stretch of mind from most people. But don’t let that discourage you; the Finnish language can be like that untouched thick book in your last shelf, that just enchants you when you decide to read the first pages!
A great step to help you getting started in the enterprise of cracking the Finnish Language can be the Intensive Finnish Course, offered by the Helsinki Summer School. If you are accepted to Master’s degree programme, you can apply to this course. I have taken the course in 2013 and it was an invaluable experience; here’s why:
1. The teaching is fabulous!
The material used in the course included topics on the Finnish Culture, which made the learning process a lot more engaging and pleasant. The teacher and the assistants were so helpful, patient, and specially well-prepared. It gave me a great first impression about the teaching in the University of Helsinki.
2. Getting to know fellow students and Helsinki
The Summer School itself is an amazing way of getting to know the University environment, some of the other new students and the visiting and local attendees. If you’re first moving to Finland, I’d say it’s also a great opportunity to settle down, solve pending bureaucratic issues and start socializing (or networking, if you wish)!
As the name suggests, it is quite an intense course, but it doesn’t require you to know any Finnish beforehand. After the course, you’ll know (a bit more than) the basics of Finnish and you can continue your studies at other beginners’ and advanced courses, depending on how far you are into the Finnishness. You can find these courses and others in the Language Centre on the University of Helsinki.
You’ll also be equipped to make a bit of sense of all the double letters, ä’s and ö’s that will cross your path in these lovely northern lands. You can be sure that there will be many. The course is worth 4 credits that can be added to your degree as Optional Studies, if your master’sdegree programme includes this possibility.
Visit also University’s New Students pages for more information about studying Finnish.
Text and picture:
Veruscka Xavier Filgueira
International Student Ambassador