When you’re seeking international study opportunities, aside from the academic criteria and professional aims, you also have to decide on the country you want to live and study in. That’s why getting to know the culture and people is an important part of your decision-making process.
If you’re currently considering studying in some Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences, but aren’t quite sure, we want to convince you to choose Finland by introducing some cool aspects of this country with the help of emojis.
The Finland emojis, published by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland in 2015, are the world’s first country-themed emojis. They portray some of the cornerstones of Finnish society with humorous and insightful images regarding education, nature, or various aspects of the culture. You can find all the emojis at Thisisfinland.fi.
We chose some emojis that describe different aspects of Finland and Finnishness and asked foreign students studying in FINNIPS network’s member Universities of Applied Sciences to reflect on them. What do they think about these Finnish habits? How do the phenomena appear in their studies or life in Finland? Could these features regarding the people and culture be among the reasons for you to choose Finland as your study destination?
Let’s find out, shall we?
Sauna is, in many ways, the essence of Finnish culture and lifestyle. But what’s the mystery of it? The only way to really find out is to experience it.
Universities of Applied Sciences’ Student Unions organise a lot of social programme for students and, in these activities, you will surely have a chance to get your sauna experience and see if it’s “your thing”.
In the meanwhile, let some international students provide their descriptions and opinions on sauna:
At first, sauna was a strange thought. However, after spending some time in Finland, the thought of being without a sauna is haunting. It is a great place to relax, talk, and meet new friends. There is so much more to say, but in the efforts of keeping this short… If you want to truly get to know somebody – bring them to a sauna.
Almost in every Finnish house there is a sauna, which might seem quite unusual to people coming from outside the country. I find going to the sauna a nice habit, because it is good for your health (when not used exceedingly, of course) and it allows you to relax if you’re going alone, or to socialize, if you’re going with other people.
Hot corner to discuss any topic in life!
My first sauna experience in Finland was during a study trip. I love the tradition of ice swimming right after coming out of a sauna, even though I have never tried it myself. That is so Finnish!
For me, it’s a really great thing: to have the possibility of going to a sauna often. Besides, it’s healthy, so big thanks to Finnish people for this great habit! I’ve read some researches that show that if a person goes to sauna several times per week it has a good influence on his or her health.
2. Cup of coffee
According to many international surveys on coffee consumption per capita, Finland takes the leading position.
Apparently, Finns enjoy coffee drinking so much that it’s an integral part of many social occasions and creates a rhythm for the day.
Indeed, as you will learn from the international students’ comments, enjoying coffee in Finland is not just about the drink, but a way of socialising:
I love coffee myself! I am from Vietnam and we have a different way of making coffee and different taste, for sure. Nevertheless, I have always been offered coffee (and tea) whenever I have entered a Finn’s home or visited a place in Finland. Generally, it is served at every single event, and I am delighted and excited that we share the same passion, coffee! In Finland, coffee is not only a drink - it is hospitality.
Coffee is life.
I never knew coffee had any significance to Finland, specifically. Never knew that Finland was a ‘top 5’ worldly consumer of coffee. Come to think of it, I rarely drank coffee before my trip to Finland…but now the situation has changed!
A Finnish citizen’s best accessory.
3. Sunless days
Weather. Oh, the weather.
It is undoubtedly among the most asked questions from students considering Finland for their international experience.
Finland has four beautiful seasons, with warmer and colder periods enriched by some fascinating contrasts: in Northern Finland you get 24 hours of daylight in the summer, when the sun does not set, and in the winter…well, you get the opposite for a while. But it’s not that bad. It’s all about your attitude, as some students advise:
A lot of foreign people seem to be a bit worried about this phenomenon, but I am not. On the contrary: I love darkness and cold weather, so Finland (especially Lapland) seems to be the perfect place for me.
It was quite scary at first, when I was psychologically preparing myself to experience this the first time in my life, but also excited. In fact, it turned out that the polar night did not have much effect on me, except for the feeling of having shorter working and studying time, since I started to feel “Well, let’s call it a day” when it was getting dark outside. It just felt like I had less time to do things. On the other hand, having a chance to experience the polar night is something to be proud of. It’s special. It is part of the story of my studies and living in Finland, which I can tell my friends or people I meet in other countries when I travel.
Coming from Florida – I am not a fan of the darkness. But on a perfect winter – with white snow illuminating the path and moonlight or northern nights guiding the way– I can easily find peace.
Because you cannot do anything about it, you have to try and enjoy it…
Many world-famous metal bands come from Finland. Maybe they get their inspiration from the sunless days?
Nightwish. Stratovarius. Sonata Arctica. HIM. Lordi.
Finland is the home country of many metal bands and I really like this. I prefer rock to metal, but I am fond of music, in general, so I listen to any kind of music genre and I headbang a lot. This emoji totally represents me.
Last, but certainly not least, we have the topic of education. Finns are very proud of their education system. Its success is widely recognised in international rankings.
While the PISA results echo Finland’s accomplishments in basic education, we should also consider what the University of Applied Sciences students think about higher education and the role of education in Finnish society, in general.
It is known worldwide that Finnish education is one of the best in the whole world. My experience in a Finnish University of Applied Sciences confirmed it to me so far. I am very glad that I have chosen Finland as my international destination.
Best ever! I love the way teaching and learning work in Finland. Teachers are truly professional and invest their time and put effort in the content and teaching methods. The learning environment in Finland is a good representation of open-mindedness, progress, respect, and encouragement. One of the wonderful things regarding education in Finland is the library. Schools try their best to support students’ reading needs with books and e-books. Furthermore, they are willing to add (or buy) a new book if it is necessary for students. This is a truly huge advantage, because purchasing books sometimes might be a financial issue.
Before starting my studies here, I couldn’t even imagine that it’s possible to have so much freedom in the study process. But I love the Finnish system of education, which emphasises that when you are an adult you must take responsibility for your own learning: you have the freedom to come to the lesson or not, to do the assignment or not, to pass a course or not. It all depends on you and your goals on how much knowledge you want to gain.
Best in the world.
Want to learn more about Finland and its peculiarities? Why not come and explore them yourself. Find your future education among the international degree programmes offered by Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences.
Check out the Finnish Network for International Programmes (FINNIPS) website for more than 30 English-taught degree programmes in different study fields.
The Emojis used in this article were taken from Thisisfinland.fi