WHAT YOU DON’T READ ABOUT FINLAND:
Your orientation to understanding Finland,
Finnish culture, Finnish people and to
knowi...
Guess who!
What did international
students like best in our
country?
• A peaceful country
• Natural beauty with contrasts
• All is qu...
Typical quotes about Finland
• Model of an information society with a high
level of social and intellectual capital (PISA
...
So how do you get onboard this wonderful ship?
What this talk will do
• Increase your awareness about your
situation and your non-academic
learning task right now
• Clar...
What this talk will not do
• Provide facts and figures about Finland,
Finns and Finnish society/ culture, overall
• The ab...
A quick poll for you (Y/N/DK)
1. I (already) know three street names in Kokkola.
2. During my stay, these are my prioritie...
Adapting and fitting in?
Is adapting stressful?
Based on previous foreign student
experience, what should you know?
And what (not) to do?
• Intreract with the locals in t...
FROM GENNY’S STORY (2013)
When I ask her to define a global person, Genny tells me that
basically, an exchange experience ...
0 % 20 % 40 % 60 % 80 % 100 %
9 Learning and using Finnish language
8 Finland being a country of natural
beauty
7 Finns be...
Some findings of the Johnson & Finell
(2005) study
 International students: satisfied with their study
–liked the approac...
 Learning the national language(s) and culture
was rare
 Adaptation to and integration into the academic
and local commu...
0 % 20 % 40 % 60 % 80 % 100 %
10 Personal health problems (physical
or mental)
9 Too much academic freedom: I can't
contro...
Liisa Salo-Lee on communicating
with “the Finns” (*)
• “Triple W”: word, work, watch (Kirri)
• Be careful not to generaliz...
About the triple W
Dear Stephen
Please meet me tomorrow Thursday at
11.00 in my office, room # 287.
All the best, Esko
Can you follow these
rules when communicating?
1. Never comment on anything that is obvious
2. If you say something, say s...
What is the expected academic
conduct in Finland?
• Centria UAS has publisehd the Code of Ethics –
read it!
• Observe and ...
Stereotypes
• Are ‘pictures in our heads’, or images of reality –
metaphors, beliefs, ideas - that define different cultur...
WARNING! When do you know you have gone
native in Finland?
• You wear shorts and a T shirt in June while the
thermometer s...
STATISTICS!
MY OWN ”GETTING LOCAL STRATEGY” YES NO I DON’T
KNOW
1. I (already) know three street names in Kokkola
2. Durin...
What you-dont-read-about-finland
What you-dont-read-about-finland
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What you-dont-read-about-finland

  1. 1. WHAT YOU DON’T READ ABOUT FINLAND: Your orientation to understanding Finland, Finnish culture, Finnish people and to knowing more about yourself, too Esko Johnson PhD (Education) Formerly Principal Lecturer of English Language and Communication Centria University of Applied Sciences
  2. 2. Guess who!
  3. 3. What did international students like best in our country? • A peaceful country • Natural beauty with contrasts • All is quite well organised, including HE study and study opportunities • A less stressful ’study climate’; the university staff are easy to approach and empathetic of the learners • The friendly, honest & helpful Finns • International student communities (local) Sources, Garam, I. 2001. My Finland. Survey of experiences of international students in Finnish higher education. CIMO; Johnson, Eijsberg & Finell 2009; Johnson & Finell 2005.
  4. 4. Typical quotes about Finland • Model of an information society with a high level of social and intellectual capital (PISA results etc.) • Our country promotes equality • Our country a good balance of the ’faceless forces’ of globalisation1 • Our telecomms is a ‘strong muscle’, yet, the whole body needs a shape-up2 1Castells (2001), 2Hautamäki (2001)
  5. 5. So how do you get onboard this wonderful ship?
  6. 6. What this talk will do • Increase your awareness about your situation and your non-academic learning task right now • Clarify what you can do and what you might want to do MOTTO: This is the first day of the rest of your life, for becoming a truly global person; you’re the change agent for yourself – later for others, too!
  7. 7. What this talk will not do • Provide facts and figures about Finland, Finns and Finnish society/ culture, overall • The above content you will get in two courses: - Finnish Society and Culture, 3 ECTS - Getting Local and Global, 3 ECTS • Don’t hesitate to ask me for more information!
  8. 8. A quick poll for you (Y/N/DK) 1. I (already) know three street names in Kokkola. 2. During my stay, these are my priorities here, in this order: (#1) having a lot fun, (#2) making friends, for my life, (#3) completing a few courses (the degree) - a must 3. On and off the campus, I will hang around mostly with foreign (international) students and my own countrymen (countrypeople) 4. Every day, I will try to learn at least 5-10 words of Finnish 5. I will make friends with local people in pubs, clubs and restaurants 6. I will follow the local and national/Finnish news regularly 7. I will try to travel as much as possible
  9. 9. Adapting and fitting in?
  10. 10. Is adapting stressful?
  11. 11. Based on previous foreign student experience, what should you know? And what (not) to do? • Intreract with the locals in the right places; use your imagination; learn the best strategy, and take time to become confident at this • You cannot make friends with the locals in a pub or a restaurant if you are in a group of other foreign/international students • Finnish people (both young and old) go to a pub/restaurant to have fun in the first place, not to make friends with other people/strangers • To make friends is a long-term process
  12. 12. FROM GENNY’S STORY (2013) When I ask her to define a global person, Genny tells me that basically, an exchange experience can be nothing at all for some, just because of enjoying the more relaxed and freer settings with not too many assignments, in other words, “if they’re just thinking of their free time, like drinking, partying, and night life. The core priority is to mingle with the locals, not to hang out too often with other exchange students from other countries. “We have to communicate with the locals- this is the way how we know about their culture and lifestyle. I wouldn’t say I had a really great time as an exchange student if I just mingled with other exchange students.” “To become a globalised person is by meeting the locals, by knowing about the locals. This is how you become a globalized person, it’s not because of crossing the border literally and staying there for four months without doing anything.”
  13. 13. 0 % 20 % 40 % 60 % 80 % 100 % 9 Learning and using Finnish language 8 Finland being a country of natural beauty 7 Finns being friendly, honest, and helpful 6 A less stressful study climate than in my home country 5 University staff being easy to approach and empathetic of me 4 Self-directness and flexibility of study (i.e. academic freedom) 3 Things being well organised everywhere 2 Finland being a peaceful country 1 My higher education study at COU overall Europeans Non-Eur Gr3 Non-Eur Gr2 Non-Eur Gr1 Facilitators: What things made your stay enjoyable and meaningful? (MC question)
  14. 14. Some findings of the Johnson & Finell (2005) study  International students: satisfied with their study –liked the approach of teaching methods and tutoring  Had their own networks international friends and acquaintances – but were not well integrated into the local communities  Said they failed to learn Finnish/Swedish language and culture
  15. 15.  Learning the national language(s) and culture was rare  Adaptation to and integration into the academic and local communities varied somewhat between European and non-European students, as well as between exchange and degree students  Adaptation and integration seemed to be directly dependent on the length of stay in Finland Some findings…. (cont.)
  16. 16. 0 % 20 % 40 % 60 % 80 % 100 % 10 Personal health problems (physical or mental) 9 Too much academic freedom: I can't control how I... 8 Lack of meaningful freetime activities 7 The Finnish climate being too cold for me 6 Feeling homesick and lonely 5 Much too quiet life in the university town 4 My lack of Finnish skills 3 Finland being so expensive to stay and study in 2 Lack of parttime job opportunities 1 Finns being shy and not always easy to approach More than 1 yr in COU Less than 1 yr in COU What is related to experience of stress?
  17. 17. Liisa Salo-Lee on communicating with “the Finns” (*) • “Triple W”: word, work, watch (Kirri) • Be careful not to generalize/stereotype on individuals • What makes your intercultural communication effective with “the Finns”? • Tolerance of ambiguity, being non-judgmental, empathy skills • Be flexible, sensible, other-oriented • Be culturally literate! (*) See http://www.jyu.fi/viesti/verkkotuotanto/kp/vf/liisa.shtml
  18. 18. About the triple W Dear Stephen Please meet me tomorrow Thursday at 11.00 in my office, room # 287. All the best, Esko
  19. 19. Can you follow these rules when communicating? 1. Never comment on anything that is obvious 2. If you say something, say something that all should know (high information content and relevance) 3. Never raise issues that might cause conflicts; keep up the good harmony 4. Commit yourself to whatever you say 5. Whatever you say will become the basis of future co-operation (Carbaugh 1993)
  20. 20. What is the expected academic conduct in Finland? • Centria UAS has publisehd the Code of Ethics – read it! • Observe and learn how to work, create knowledge, collaborate, and how to submit the results of study at campus – Individually, on your own – In a group (in a team) – In class • ”Copy+paste” , in other words, using other people’s work as if it was your creation (i.e. plagiarising) in all forms is penalised
  21. 21. Stereotypes • Are ‘pictures in our heads’, or images of reality – metaphors, beliefs, ideas - that define different cultures in a very rough way, but can be harmful • Streotypes are group concepts held by one social group about another, often used in a negative sense and used to justify discriminatory and unacceptable behaviors • What stereotypes determine your behaviour, communication, and thinking when in Finland? • You need fewer stereotypes to understand the world and other people than you realise!
  22. 22. WARNING! When do you know you have gone native in Finland? • You wear shorts and a T shirt in June while the thermometer shows plus 10 centigrade • You think it’s fantastic to sit in your class and say nothing • A stranger who smiles at you can only be 1) a foreigner, 2) a lunatic, or 3) an alcoholic • You have been engaged for four years without intending to get married • You go to the movies early enough to see the commercials • Your wife watches TV while you look after the kids
  23. 23. STATISTICS! MY OWN ”GETTING LOCAL STRATEGY” YES NO I DON’T KNOW 1. I (already) know three street names in Kokkola 2. During my stay, these are my priorities here, in this order: (#1) having a lot fun, (#2) making friends, for my life, (#3) completing a few courses (the degree) - a must 3. On and off the campus, I will hang around mostly with foreign (international) students and my own countrymen (country- people) 4. Every day, I will try to learn at least 5-10 words of Finnish 5. I will make friends with local people in pubs and restaurants 6. I will follow the local and national/Finnish news regularly 7. I will try to travel as much as possible

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