Magazine topic: 
Life around the world

Culture clash: UK and Finland

by : 
LaurenS

What do you visualise when you think of Finnish culture? 2 years ago I wouldn’t have even been able to point the country out on a map, let alone tell you about its culture. Now I can tell you much more than an average Brit probably could.

During my first year studying at the University of Chester, I met other students from across Europe who were spending a year in the UK through the ERASMUS programme, which enables higher education students like me to study or work abroad as part of their degree. Throughout the year I was able to share the students’ experiences of British culture, which led me to learn about the differences in culture between the UK and Finland and establish lifelong friendships with some Finnish students.

During one of my first conversations with a Finnish student, I learnt that Finland is situated in northern Europe; the name of the capital is Helsinki and it has a subarctic climate, which means it often experiences very cold weather during the winter. From then on it was interesting to discover the differences in culture through the ways in which we reacted to the world around us. For example, winters in Finland can reach -45 degrees and experience heavy snow, which I experienced when I visited Finland during the Christmas holidays. Finland is very well equipped for this weather and continues to maintain daily activities with little difficulties. On the contrary and to the amusement of many Finns, snowy conditions in the UK often appear dramatized as what seems like a small amount of snow to a Finn can cause British everyday life to grind to a halt.

Winters in Finland can last from November to April and include a period in which the sun doesn’t rise, which can vary from days to months. Similarly, during midsummer there is a period when Finland has no sunset at all. Perhaps the sauna, which is popular with Finns in all seasons, is used as a method of enduring this extreme weather.

This experience has demonstrated to me that travelling abroad does not only impact your own life, but it can also impact the lives of others too. Experiencing languages and cultures that I am unfamiliar with has now become one of my passions and I look forward to discovering other cultures and their fascinating similarities and differences that make them so unique.

Discussion

Do you like meeting people from other countries? 

Comments

Wesal's picture
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Wesal 18 August, 2014 - 11:14

reality is this meeting with other countries people rise your knowledge and experience. And I indeed like to meet with other countries people cause by to learn some thing from them and also get information about their countries, moreover we people have a slogan if you are able to take one language your are one man if your are able to take two language your are two in fact man. So it is good custom to meet with other countries people and do the respect of their custom and tradition.

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dzeni's picture
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dzeni 14 March, 2014 - 12:41

Yes, of course. I think it is great because on that way you will discover something new and interesting about other cultures. You can also improve your knowledge of foreign languages because it is the best way for learning. Maybe you will talk with them about your country and customs.
I lately met three persons from China. They knew my mother tongue very well. I hope I will meet some people who know just English. It will be great chance to practice my English.

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justcricketforme's picture
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justcricketforme 20 October, 2013 - 11:41

Yes I do because its nice to meet and know people from other countries. I recently met a Chinese at a mosque and a German in Lahore. I've met plenty of Chinese, Japense, American and British because my in Dad's office, they come to visit his dept. and our school's administration has a couple of Brits.

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Elcuapo 16 October, 2013 - 12:43

it's good to meet people from other countries, you can learn a lot about their customs and culture.I have met tourists from France ad Spain.I also met black people like Natalija but from Ivory coast and Senegal,because i live in Morocco in the north of Africa and my country has a strong tourism industry.

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Natalija's picture
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Natalija 14 October, 2013 - 14:58

Yes, I really enjoy meeting people from other countries, I think it's one of the best experiences one can get, because in that way we get to know more about other countries, their customs and language. This summer I was a host and I hosted one American girl in my house for two weeks, she's a black girl and it was so nice to meet her. It was my first time to meet a black girl, and I really liked her. I'd like to host someone for a year at my house, some student, and I think it'd be a great experience, very valuable for both sides.
I also met people from Turkey, Austria, Czech Republic, Macedonia etc.

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