Study Abroad Student Handbook
Finland Finland
Center for Global Education

Why Learn a Language?

Finnish has unfairly received a reputation for being a particularly difficult language to learn for an adult. In reality, Finnish is not any more difficult than Spanish, German or French to learn. However, it is different. Finnish is not similar to neighboring Swedish or Russian as many would believe. It is a part of the Finno-Ugrian languages which include Estonian, Hungarian and Lapp (Sami). Finnish is believed to have formed around 3000B.C. The language has always been specific to the country. However, Scandinavian language speakers may find it easier to learn Finnish because of their similar cultures. Outside of Finland, Finnish is only understood in Estonia.

The Finnish people take great pride in their language. The University of Helsinki wishes for international students to try their hand at learning Finnish, so they have created free of charge language courses for any international student in the University. Learning Finnish is advantageous for any study abroad student. Although most Finns understand English, they will appreciate and take note if you try to speak their unique language with them.

Sami, the native language of the indigenous people to the north is also on the rise. The language is a close relative to Finnish, although there are three different versions of it. In an effort to promote Sami cultural preservation, their language has recently been introduced into the education system all over Finland. In Northern Lapland, Sami natives now have the option of taking their primary education in Sami. Any student of anthropology or anyone interested in cultural diversity in general may take interest in learning Sami. And since Finnish and Sami are so closely related it may be beneficial to study the two languages together.

Read on – Why Study Abroad and find answers how study abroad can affect your personal growth and career path.

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