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NATIONAL PROFILE

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NATIONAL PROFILE Powered By Docstoc
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Dear exchangee,

We are happy to welcome You to spend your exchange year 2006-2007 in Suomi Finland. We hope
your coming time in Finland will be an intercultural success for all parties involved: for You, for your
voluntary work place, for the host family and for us in ICYE Finland. Your year here will surely be an
important experience in your life and for sure You will not regret choosing our Nordic country.

This National Profile is made for You by members of ICYE Finland, in order to give a basic idea on
how the Finnish society works and what living here is like. This booklet also gives you some
important advice for your stay here. Please, read this National Profile carefully, it contains a
great deal of Very Important Information. Over the years we have included in this booklet the
things we in ICYE Finland feel that every exchangee should know before coming to Finland. If you
have difficulties in understanding something, ask someone to translate those parts to you!


NB! : Este ”National Profile” tiene información muy importante sobre el programa de ICYE en
Finlandia. Por favor, si no lo entiendes, pide que alguien te lo traduzca.


Reading this National Profile is one of the first steps in preparing you for your year in Finland. Your
exchangee-period starts right now! Don't forget the basic rule: only by being an active participant
you can get the best out of your exchange-year. We can only give you the tools for a good stay
here, but the final touch depends on you.

We in ICYE Finland are really looking forward to meeting you.


Tervetuloa!                                                   Welcome!


Katri Suomi                                                   Mila Sell
Chairperson of ICYE Finland                                   Program coordinator


Marika Heinonen                                               Sanna Nerola
Member of ICYE board                                          Member of ICYE board




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Content

Thoughts of Former Volunteers                          4
Maailmanvaihto ry – ICYE Finland                       5
Programs___________________________________________6
The Exchange Year                                      7
Motivation of the Exchangee                            7
Requirements of the Exchangee                          8
Hosting Assingments__________________________________8
Very Practical Advice                        __________9
Something to Bring Along                               9
Pocket Money and Cost of Living                        10
Important to Know: residence permit          __________11
                    insurance                          12
                    vaccionations                      12
                    travelling                         12
Facts about Finland                                    13
History of Finland                                     14
Geography and Nature                                   15
Climate and Seasons                                    15
Finnish Character                                      16
Men & Women                                            18
Society                                                18
City vs. Countryside___________________________________19
Finnish Culture and Arts                               19
Economy                                                20
Education                                              20
Food                                                   20
Sauna                                                  21
Finnish Language_____________________________________21
Useful Words                                           21
Finland on the WWW                                     22




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                      THOUGHTS OF FORMER VOLUNTEERS
                                    This is what I like about Finland
            -sauna! (I love coming to people hearing the sentence “the sauna is still warm”)
                                                    - pulla,
                                         -they have real winter here
                   -12 year old girls laughing at you because you’ve never been fishing
 -the feeling when understanding something that people said to you in Finnish (and when you can even
                                                 answer this)
 -the people (believe it or not….but I’ve seen them laughing and strangers talking to me on the street)
 -going to watch sports events live (Biathlon and Nordic ski world cup competitions, volleyball and ice
                  hockey matches ym.) and it’s quite easy finding someone to join you.
                                   -kids teaching you words like “ripuli”
               -though I hadn’t been believing in it anymore, but THE SUN IS BACK !!!!!!!
                                        -watching Finnish folkdances
                                            -cross-country-skiing
                                             -Finnish first names
                                    -have I mentioned the SNOW ?!!?
                                                -great nature
                                       -no traffic news on the radio!!
                                              -walking on rivers
                             Anja Dottermusch, German Volunteer 2003/04

…I was told that “Finns are friends for a lifetime” but the first couple of months I felt it would take a
lifetime to get a Finnish friend. Even though I was living and working with the same people, they never
tried to speak to me or even smile at me, and at one point I almost thought of going back to India. The
ICYE were a great deal of moral support to me. Then I learnt the art of making friends. It was so easy!
All I had to do was asking questions, especially about the culture, language, food, beer or winter;
sometimes even if I knew everything about it! The fact is that the Finns love to teach. Once a person
speaks, we have already found the door to his heart; opening it and getting in is as easy as that! And
now I have many nice friends and I feel it was worth all the troubles. My social life has been quite easy
and fun since then and hope it would be the same for the months to come…
…Punctuality is the surname of the Finns and the clock rules their life! One can witness that in every
aspect of Finnish life…
…The weather variations are at the extremes in Finland. The temperature in summer might be +30C,
while in winter it might go down to –40C (it was –31C in my project). In other words it varies from
delightful to depressing. The same with the sunlight; in summers Finland is all light. Yes, one can read a
news paper without lights at midnight! But in winter Finland is all night; one can’t even find a newspaper
without the lights on, even in afternoon! Nature is lovely and it is at its best in Finland. In summer the
whole country is green and blue and in winter it is all white. If a person loves nature (like me) then
Finland is a natural and obvious pick…
Arwind Kabbhinahally Raghupathy, Indian volunteer Finland 2001/02

Finland is almost beautiful country than i thought. I had travelled to Lapland this summer wow,it was
like a small piece of heaven was fall in the earth by mistake.Here is a lot of the lake and I was
surprised that people have to use two diffrent kind of the way,in summer they use boat to go home and
in winter they use car in the same way,if I tell this things to any one of my country then it will hard to
believe. Another thing is that the changing in the colour of the leaves is another amazing thing.It’s the
place of magic.It will be better if Finland will be named as “Magicland”.
    About the people only the colour is different all thing are same.They are so helpful and honest and
punctual in the time, by the way Finnish people are finest people.
Krishna Bahadur Subedi, Nepalese volunteer Finland 2004/05


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                      MAAILMANVAIHTO RY - ICYE FINLAND
”Not for you but with you”
The Finnish ICYE committee aims to provide the exchangees from different cultural backgrounds
the possibility to meet with a new culture and language, Finnish. We aim to offer an experience the
exchangee could not meet in his or her own country. We believe that this experience will help to
widen one‟s views and help one to become aware of the responsibility to strive for peace and justice
in the world.

ICYE Finland is a registered, independent organisation with its General Assembly held once a year
in March. At this assembly the chairman and the board are appointed. The board meets normally
once a month and uses the highest decision making power between the general assemblies.

THE BOARD
The board of ICYE Finland in 2005 and the areas of responsability:

Katri Suomi                                   Chairperson
Meri Tennilä                                  Vice Chairperson, PR
Marika Heinonen                               Foreign Volunteers in Finland
Sanna Nerola                                  Foreign Volunteers in Finland
Ella Douhevyx                                 Finnish Volunteers abroad, PR
Niina Airikka                                 Finnish Volunteers abroad, finances
Anna-Sofia Joro                               Hosting Projects and Host Families
Mari Toivanen                                 Hosting Projects and Host Families


THE ICYE OFFICE
The office is located in Helsinki. The exchangees are always welcome to call, email or visit the office
with their questions, problems and joys.
In the office there are two paid staff members. The Secretary General Anni Koskela is responsible
for general administration and for the program of the out-going Finnish volunteers. The program
coordinator Sinikka Biose (substituted at the moment by Mila Sell) is the responsible for the program
of the foreing exchangees in Finland.
There may be as well trainees and other temporary staff working in the ICYE Finland office.

The contact address of the office:
              Maailmanvaihto ry – ICYE Finland
              Pitkänsillanranta 11
              00530 Helsinki, Finland
              Tel. +358-9-774 1101 Fax. +358-9-7310 4146
              E-mail: Mila: hosting@maailmanvaihto.fi,
                      Anni: maailmanvaihto@maailmanvaihto.fi
              Internet: http://www.maailmanvaihto.fi

THE CO-WORKERS
Most of the the ICYE Finland activities are organised by Finnish co-workers, who do it voluntarily.,
Co-workers are former exchangees of ICYE or otherwise interested in this type of intercultural
activity.

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                      ICYE / EVS / GERMAN CIVIL SERVICE
Maailmanvaihto ry – ICYE Finland receives volunteers through three different exchange programs,
which are ICYE, EVS and German Civil Service. All three programs offer similar opportunities for
intercultural learning and are quite similar. Some differences do exist though.
                             ICYE                          EVS                      CIVIL SERVICE
Countries         All ICYE countries             European countries           Germany
Age               16-30                          18-25                        18->
Start             Mainly in August               Through out the year         In July and in January
                  Mainly 12 months,
Duration          some 6months                   6-12 months                  11,5 months
                                                 European Union
Cost              Participation Fee              Sponsored Program            Own Sponsors
                                                 190 euros per month paid
                  Minimun 85 euros paid by       by ICYE Finland with the     130 euros per month, paid
                  the local hosting project or   support of the EU’s Youth    by ICJA – ICYE Germany /
Pocket Money      ICYE Finland                   program                      German Government

                                                 All projects approved by
                                                 the EU Commission before
                                                 and are found in the EVS
                                                 web-page. ICYE Finland ICYE Finland finds the
                  ICYE Finlands finds the        provides volunteers with    suitable project for civil
Projects          suitable project for volunteer list of available projects. servants
                                           max. 35 hours
Working hours     20-40 hours per week     per week                    32-38 hours per week
                                           Organised by Finnish EVS
                 Organised by ICYE         returnees association       Organised by ICYE
Support Person Finland                     Tukineuvot                  Finland
                                           2 trainings organised
                                           by CIMO, the Finnish
                                           National Agency of EU's
                                           Youth Program EVS
                                           volunteers are welcome to
                                           the ICYE training, though a
                 3 camps organised by ICYE small participation fee     3 camps organised by
Camps/ trainings Finland                   exists                      ICYE Finland

                                                                              Public Health Insurance &
                                                                              additional Private Health,
                  ICYE Group Insurance in        EVS Group Insurance in       Accident and Third Party
Insurance         SITE                           AXA                          Liability Insurance




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        THE EXCHANGE YEAR
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE AN EXCHANGEE?
The exchange programme of ICYE works for intercultural understanding between people from
different countries. The exchangees get to know the cultural differences and learn about them. You
are coming to live for one year in a country where the cultural patterns and family customs may be
different from those familiar to you. Therefore it is important that you begin your year with an
open mind and that you are ready to adapt. Do not expect too many things but be prepared to
meet the unexpected.

ARRIVAL TO FINLAND Someone from ICYE Finland will be meeting you at the airport. Do not
leave the airport on your own! Before your arrival we will send you a letter, which will give you
more detailed information about your first days in Finland. In the letter you will also be given
emergency phonenumbers, which you can use in case you will not find a member of ICYE at the
airport.

ORIENTATION AND THE LANGUAGE CAMP After the arrival in Finland the exchangees have an
orientation camp for 10 days. The camp gives the exchangees the basic knowledge of the language,
culture and volunteer work in Finland. The exchangees also get to know each other, the ICYE co-
workers and staff at the camp. It is very important that all the exchangees arrive for the camp.
Therefore, apply for your residence permit on time.
For EVS volunteers the on arrival training is provided by the Finnish National Agency, CIMO. EVS
volunteers are welcomed and encouraged to join the ICYE orientation and language camp as well.

MID-YEAR AND FINAL EVALUATION CAMPS In January ICYE organises a mid-year camp for the
exchangees, where they have the chance to evaluate the months they lived so far in Finland. The
final evaluation camp will be organised in May.

THEME Before each volunteer year begins, the board of ICYE Finland decides a specific theme for
the exchange year. The theme will be a part of the camp programs. The past themes have included
topics such as alienation, equality between sexes and civic society.

SUPPORT PERSON ICYE Finland provides every ICYE volunteer and German civil servant with a
support person, a personal contact person between volunteer, host situation and the office. This
person will help you especially in the beginning in adjusting to the Finnish society and should be the
first person to be contacted if you encounter some problems at the beginning. Mostly support
persons are former exchangees of ICYE, so they are aware of the problems exchangees may
confront during the year.


                         MOTIVATION OF THE EXCHANGEE
 We want to emphasize that you will be living and participating in a programme. You will not
                                        be on a holiday.
 An exchange year is experiencing the daily life in your host country. It is very important for yourself
 that you are motivated and know why you are actually going abroad as an exchangee and why to
                         Finland. Here are some tips you can go through.

                1. Be curious and willing to learn! Questions are made to be asked !
2. Be quick to observe but slow to judge. It is good to ask questions and learn to understand strange
                                                 things.
 3. Mistakes are human. Do not be afraid to make mistakes and to be corrected. Mistakes can help
                              you understand your environment better.

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     4. Appreciation! People hosting you are              interested in having you and do it voluntarily, so
                                      do appreciate their hospitality.
  5. Adapt! You may not like the place all the time but still you have to adapt and get along with the
                                       people you are staying with.
 6. Learning Finnish language helps you to get to know the culture, the habits, the people. Take the
   challenge! Finnish language is just different, but not impossible to learn. Numerous exchangees
 before you have shown it. Note that studying English is not so easy in Finland, because almost all
                                   the projects use Finnish language.
             7. Humour! Do not forget humour which is the best remedy in many cases.
 8. The more you give, the more you get. The right attitude is very important during your exchange
                                                    year.
 9. Enjoy yourself! Be always ready for new things in your hosting place even though you would not
                            like it at the first time. It´s good to be curious.
                               10. IT IS YOUR YEAR - WORK FOR IT!


                      REQUIREMENTS OF THE EXCHANGEES
-Age 18-30 years for voluntary work programs, 16-18 years for the school program; exceptions must
be negotiated beforehand!
-No academic requirements. ICYE Finland CANNOT place anyone in a university, polytechnic or
formal educationl institute as a student!
-Interest in everyday social life in Finland.
-Motivation to be a volunteer, not a tourist!
-Willing to go to school or to work voluntarily regularly.
-Mature and active enough to get along both alone and with others.
-Willing to learn a new language, Finnish.
-Positive and open attitude towards new and different lifestyle and culture.
-Acceptance of the the contract stating the rules and regulations of the program in Finland. The
exchangee who must return a signed copy of it to ICYE Finland prior to his/her arrival.


                                  HOSTING ASSIGNMENTS
The exchangees are scattered all over the country from Helsinki to Lapland : from south to north.
Most exchangees live in the countryside or in little towns of 2000 to 10 000 inhabitants. Some of the
exchangees live in very small places in the countryside, which is scarcesly populated in Finland. The
distances between neighbours can be relatively long. Own activity and initiative are really important
when it comes to adapting to the Finnish countryside and to understanding its charm. Many
volunteers have said that in the smaller villages they have had a change to experience the “real”
Finland, different to modern urban way of life. Public transportation in the countryside is not very
good. There may be very few busses daily to the village centre of to a nearby bigger city. The public
transportation is relatively expensive. However, often the projects and/or host families do not mind
giving the volunteers a lift once in a while to a nearby town or city. NB! It is not likely that you will
be placed in a city.

HOST PROJECTS The great majority of exchangees coming to Finland will be working as
volunteers in various different volunteer work projects. Most of the volunteer work projects are in the
field of social work. Some exchangees will spend their year in a Folk High School, where he/she will
be studying and/or working as a volunteer. Each year ICYE Finland also hosts a few school
exchangees, who spend their year studying in a local high school. See Work Profile for more
information.

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HOST FAMILIES             About one third of the exchangees will live in Finnish host families. Host
families can also be single parent families. Families mainly represent middle class. The families
have different political and religious backgrounds. As regards the social life in Finland, many families
like to spend their free time at home with other family members. It is important for volunteer to
remember that he/she will be an equal member of the host family with equal rights and
responsabilities.

OTHER LIVING SITUATIONS Many exchangees also live within their voluntary work placement in
a community or in a separate apartment or in a room in a boarding school. These situations vary
from place to place.

WHAT ABOUT PAID JOB? It is not possible to get a paid job in Finland! ICYE has a
programme of voluntary work which allows only a monthly pocket money. ICYE programme
participants do not get a working permit for Finland, just a residence permit. It is possible to earn
small amounts of money occasionally without a work permit, but the limit is very strict in Finland.
Your freetime activities should not interfere with your voluntary work.


                               VERY PRACTICAL ADVICE
CLOTHES When coming to Finland you must be prepared for all kinds of weather. Finnish winter is
cold (freezing) and for this reason you will need warm clothes. Cap, gloves, boots, a woolled scarf,
warm wind- and rainproof coat, long underwear etc. are essential. You can also buy warm clothes
here - your hosts or ICYE co-workers will give you practical advice. However, clothes are quite
expensive. Many young people buy them in second hand shops.
Warm winter clothes are important, but do not forget the other three seasons! In the autumn and the
spring you might find water&wind proof clothes useful. The summer is usually pretty warm so
summer clothing is necessary, including your swimming gear!
If possible, bring also your sleeping bag with you as you will find it useful during your stay.

One of the practical principles in Finland is that everyone carries his/her own
luggage and this is good to remember when packing. Do not over pack!


                            SOMETHING TO BRING ALONG
- Your passport! Remember that even if you are coming from another EU country, you will not be
able to visit Russia, or even Estonia, without a passport. It is also very difficult to open a bank
account without one.
- All your ICYE-papers (collect them in a file). Do not forget this National Profile we have sent!
- Some information about your own country: maps, family pictures, slides etc.
- Small things to give as a present to your host family and friends you will make
- A camera
- Bring your favorite music with you. Also bring your musical instrument!
- National dances, plays and games and other programme items for the camps
- Sleeping bag. It will be good both on camps and your own holiday trips.
- If you are regularly on medication, bring along enough medicine for the whole year
- Small important things (like sanitary towels, toothbrush, towel) you might need in the beginning.
- Warm winter clothes if you do not want to buy them from here.
NB!You do not have to bring your own bedlinen, they are provided by the project/host family.


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 POCKET MONEY AND COST OF                                            LIVING
Exchangees will receive a small pocket money of 85 EUROS monthly either from ICYE of from the
host placement. It is good to keep in mind that Finland is an expensive country in comparison to
many other countries. The pocket money, 85 EUROS, is small. You will certainly need to bring
some own money with you. Especially transportation is expensive and you will likely want to visit
your friends and se the country in your free time!
Please, keep in mind that there will be more expenses during your first weeks of stay in
Finland than later on. ICYE Finland recommends that at the arrival to Finland, the volunteer
should have at least 100 euros in cash with him/herself.

Here are some prices that tell you what your pocket money can buy.

Urban area bus ticket (Helsinki):                         2 EURO
Train ticket Helsinki-Tampere , adult one way             25
Youth Hostel, dormitory bed, one night                    ~15 ->
Chocolate bar                                             1
Beer (a bottle in a shop)                                 1
Beer (restaurant)                                         4–5
Cappuchino (in a café)                                    3
Cigarettes (pack of 20)                                   4
Hamburger                                                 4

Pizza                                                     6- 10
Stamps (post cards worldwide)                             0.65
Jeans                                                     ~35 ->
Sweater                                                   ~30 ->
Toothpaste                                                2
Shampoo                                                   3
Sanitary towels                                           4
Movie ticket                                              7.50-10
Swimming hall, single entry ticket                        ~3.5 ->
Ice-hockey game in Helsinki                               11 - 35
Opera                                                     14 – 62
Summer Rock Festival, 2-day ticket                        ~60 - 70
Finnish language course                                   ~30 ->
Finnish-English-Finnish pocket dictionary                 16 ->
Mobile phonecall within Finland                           ~ 0.1- 0.25/minute

1 EURO ~ 1,2 USD




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       IMPORTANT TO KNOW
RESIDENCE PERMIT

Citizens from EU, Switzerland and the Nordic Countries:
Volunteers coming from European Union countries need only their I.D. card and/or passport to enter
Finland. Bring your passport with you as you will need it when you open a bank account and also
if you wish to travel to Russia. Those coming from European Union countries can stay in Finland for
three months without a particular permission. EU and Swiss citizens have to apply for a certificate
of registration in Finland from the local police within three months of the arrival. It costs 40
EURO (in 2005) and you need a passport sized photograph for it.
Volunteers from other Nordic country should bring Inter-Nordic Migration Form with them and
register at the local city administration.

Other nationals:
If you are coming from outside of the European Union, you will need to apply for A RESIDENCE
PERMIT for one year at the nearest Finnish Embassy or Consulate before entering the country. The
fee for a first residence permit is 175€ (1.1.2005). Depending on the local currency exchange rates
and service fees, the cost can vary slightly. The price for a student residence permit is 50€
(1.1.2005). You can find the application form (UVI 101) for residence permit from www.uvi.fi .
Participants of the ICYE program do not need a work permit.

Apply for the residence permit in time! Preferably as soon as you are accepted to the ICYE
programme in Finland! It takes up to 3-4 months to get the residence permit. The Finnish
embassy in your country cannot grant residence permits. They have to send your application to the
Finnish Directorate of Immigration (www.uvi.fi) in Helsinki. The directorate grants all the residence
permits!

July is generally the month of summer holidays in Finland and if you apply for the residence permit
in the end of June or in July, be prepared to miss the language and on arrival camp in August and
the beginning of the ICYE year in Finland. So, DO NOT leave the application to the summer
months!

For the residence permit application you need:
-a valid passport
-”To Whom It May Concern” letter, which you will get from ICYE-Finland.
-two passport photos
-an application form from the embassy or consulate

You can find the addresses and other information of Finnish Embassies and Consulates from the
homepage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is Finland (www.formin.fi).

Finland is one of the countries in Schengen territory, which means that when you have the
residence permit issued by Finland, you have the right to travel also in other Schengen countries
without another visa.
However, keep in mind that if you have to make a transit during your flight in a country e.g. UK,
which is not part of the Schengen territory, you should make sure you have a valid transit visa.


CONTRACT AND THE INVITATION LETTER Your sending National ICYE Committee should give
you a contract, which ICYE Finland makes with all our ICYE volunteers. Please, read it through
carefully and if you agree to its terms, send a signed copy to ICYE Finland. Once we have the
singed copy from you, we will sign it as well and send you your own copy.

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ICYE Finland will also send you an invitation letter (“To Whom It May Concern”). This is an
invitation, which tells the authorities about the program and about the responsibilities of ICYE
Finland. So the letter is important when applying for the residence permit. ICYE Finland will send
you this letter once we have received your application and a signed copy of the contract from your
sending ICYE committee.

INSURANCES
Insurances normally cover normal medical care in the case of sudden illness or accident, also dental
care up to a limited amount. Routine check-ups, preventive health care and medicines without
doctor‟s prescription are not covered by the insurance. Your personal items are not covered. Driving
a car is not covered by all insurances!
    - ICYE exchangees are insured for the period of their stay in SITE (CareMed Travel
         Insurance). You will receive more information regarding the insurance from your sending
         National Committee, who will also give you the Guide for Exchangees 06-07, where you can
         find more insurance instructions.
    - EVS volunteers have a group insurance in AXA – European Benefits. If you come from an
         EU country, you should also bring a valid European Sickness insurance card with you. You
         will receive more information about EVS insurance during your predeparture camp. Along
         with your insurance card you will receive a Guide for Volunteers.
    - German Civil Servants will receive their insurance from Germany. You will receive more
         information about your insurance from ICJA.
Make sure you read and listen to the insurance information carefully and that you are aware of what
your insurance does cover and what it does not already before arriving to Finland.

VACCINATIONS You do not need any special vaccination when you come to Finland. However, we
recommend you to check that your polio, tetanus and diphtheria vaccinations are valid, since they
are the basic vaccinations every Finn has.

TRAVELLING During your stay in Finland you will travel for camps, visits and trips with friends but
still, you are an exchangee not a tourist! Your time for touristic travel is limited to four weeks . This is
you travel month and it usually takes place in July. You will negotiate with your voluntary work place
about the timing of your travel month. On other times you are supposed to go to school or your
voluntary work regularly. Following points are important to remember when you are temporarily
away from your hosting situation.
1) Negotiate first with your hosts about your travel plans, if you need any extra holidays. You are not
allowed to travel on your working days, if your work place has not agreed about it.
2) Be sure that your hosts know where you are and how you can be reached. Always inform the
ICYE office when you are travelling more than three days or out of Finland!
3) Inform your hosts (family, school, work placement) when you will be back and keep up with the
time! Inform about the changes!
4) If you are planning to travel abroad in the end of your year ICYE Finland must approve your
plans. If you want to have an individual return, inform the office early in the spring!


                NÄHDÄÄN PIAN!                                    SEE YOU SOON!




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                     FACTS ABOUT FINLAND

Population: 5 210 000 persons. Average life expectation - women:82,3 and men:75,3 years. Average age in 2004 –
women: 41,8 and men 38,7 years

Capital city: Helsinki with 560 000 inhabitants
Major cities: 67% of the Finnish population live in cities – the major ones are Espoo (227 000), Tampere (202 000),
Vantaa (185 000), Turku (174 000) and Oulu (127 000)

Area: 338 145 km2 our of which 33 672 is water – there are 188 000 lakes in Finland! The longerst distance you can
drive is from Hanko to Utsjoki: 1157 km. The highest point is Halti: 1328 m.

Population density: 17 inhab./ km2. The average living space per person is 36,7 m2.
Family structure: Finnish people normally live in nuclear families and the average family size is 2,9 persons/household.
The average number of children 1,8/woman. Single-parent households are also common and since 2002 the registration
of homosexual partnerships has been legalised.
Employment situation: 60% of the Finnish population have a degree at some level. At the moment there is an
unemployment rate of 8,8%.

Languages:
Finnish 91,9%
Swedish 5,5%
Sámi       0,03%
Indigenous people:
Sámi people living in Lapland are the only indigenous people in Europe.
Foreigners:
At the moment 1,9% of the population are of foreign background, most of them from Russia, Estonia, Sweden and
Somalia. There is an immigration rate to Finland of 3,8% per year.
Religion:
The majority of Finns (84%) belong to Evangelical Lutheran Church, although many people only go to church on the
important holidays. The Lutheran mentality is a strong cultural heritage, which affects the Finnish society very much! 1%
are considered Finnish Orthodox (Greek Catholic), while 1,1% follow other religions and 14% remain outside of the
church or religious groups.

President:
Tarja Halonen (elected in 2000 for 6 years). The first female president in Finland!
Parliament:
The legislative power lies with a unicameral parliament with supreme executive power vested in the
cabinet and the president. The 200 members of the parliament are elected for four years. The major
parties are Social Democratic, Centre, National Coalition (conservative), Green Party and Left Wing
Alliance.
Foreign Policy:
 Finland seeks security by staying outside international conflicts. Non-alignment and friendly relationships, especially
with the Nordic countries, Russia and EU, are the basis of Finland‟s foreign policy. The discussion about whether
Finland should join to NATO or not has been vivid in the media in the recent years.
Domestic Policy: Finland is a member of the European Union and its domestic politics are strongly influenced by the
all-European way. It‟s a market economy with extensive social security.
Currency: EURO, the common European currency




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H              The first missionaries arrive to Finland                from    Sweden.       Finland
    1155      becomes a part of the Swedish kingdom
I
    1527      Lutheran reformation
S             First Finnish     language      (grammer)      book is produced           by   Mikael
T   1543      Agricola

O   1640      The first University is established in Turku
              Sweden surrenders Finland to Russia after the war of 1808-09.
R   1809
              The Czar Alexander II declares Finland as an Autonomous
              Grand Duchy with the czar as its ruler
Y   1812      Helsinki is declared capital of Finland
    1828      The University is moved from Turku to Helsinki
O   1860      Finland acquieres its own currency, Finnish mark (markka)
F             Finnish language gains equal statues with Swedish as a language of
    1863      administration
               Unicameral, modern parliament                 is    established.    Women        are
    1906      granted full national political rights
F              Finland declares independence from Russia on 6th of December.
I             The new state is recognised by the Soviet Union, France, Germany and
    1917      Sweden
N              Civil war breaks between the rightwing and leftwing forces. The
              Whites gain victory over the Red Guards. A German prince, Friedrich Karl, is
L             chosen to be king of Finland but he renounces the nomination within a month,
A   1918      without setting foot in Finland.
              Finland becomes a republic with a president as head of the
N   1919      State
D   1921      The Aland Islands are granted autonomy
    1939-40   The Winter War against the Soviet Union
              The Continuation War. Fighting between Finland and the Soviet Union
              resumed. A massive offensive by the Soviet troops in the summer of 1944
              forced the Finns to surrender. Important territories were ceded to the USSR,
              but Finland was not occupied and preserved its independence and
    1941-44   sovereignity
              War in Lapland as Finnish troops drove the Germans out of
    1944-45   Finnish Lapland
              A Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual                      Assistance is
    1948      signs by Finland and the Soviet Union
    1952      The summer Olympics were held in Helsinki
              Finland becomes        a    member        of   the   United     Nations    and     the
    1955      Nordic Council
    1970      Finland adopts 40-hour working week
    1973      Finland signs the free-trade agreement with EEC
              The Conference        on   Security      and    Cooperation     in   Europe      takes
    1975      place in Helsinki
    1991-93   Deep economical recession
    1995      Finland joins the European Union
    2000      The first female president is elected.
    2002      Euro replaces the national currency markka




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GEOGRAPHY & NATURE                    Finland (in Finnish: Suomi) is the sixth largest country in
Europe. Roughly 1/3 of the country lies north of the Arctic Circle. Finland shares a common border
in the north with Norway, in the east a long border (1,269 km) with Russia, on the south it is
bordered by the Gulf of Finland, and on the west by the Gulf of Bothnia and Sweden.

Most of Finland is lowland, but in the far northwest some mountains rise to over 1000m. Most of
Finland is made of ancient granite bedrock, which has been shaped and fractured by numerous ice
ages, the marks of which can be seen for example in the complex lake system and the equally
complex archipelagos. Finland has three main physical regions: the coastal lowlands, the inland lake
system, and the northern uplands. The coastal lowlands extend along coasts of the Gulfs of Finland
and Bothnia, off which lie thousands of rocky islands; the principal archipelagos are the Aland
Islands and the archipelago of Turku. The lake district is an interior plateau of southern central,
heavily forested and studded with lakes, swamps and bogs. The northern upland, much of which lies
north of the Arctic Circle, has rather poor soils and is the most sparsely populated region of Finland.
In the far north, arctic forests and swamps eventually change to tundra.

Finland is home to a grand total of some 42,000 species of plants, animals and fungi. Insects are the
largest single group, with an estimated 20,000 species. Among the large wild animals are for
example brown bear, golden eagle, elk, deer, lynx, reindeer, white-tailed eagle, wolverine and wolf.
The Saimaa ringed seal is found only in the Saimaa lake system, and since there are only around
250 of them, they are considered to be one of Europe‟s most endangered mammals.

Did you know that:
* 68% of Finland is covered by forests, the highest proportion in the world.
* 10% of Finland is covered by water. There are 187,888 lakes in Finland. The
biggest one is called Saimaa.
*The longest river in Finland is Kemijoki - the River Kemi (483km).
*The highest tunturi (arctic mountain) in Finland is Halti (1328 metres high).
* The archipelago off south-west Finland is the biggest in the world, measured by the number of
islands in it - more than 20,000.

Remember that Finland is a country of nature! Finland‟s traditional rights of common access, known
as everyman‟s right (jokamiehen oikeus), provide a legal basis for this free exploitation of the fruits
of nature. Everyone in Finland has a free right to roam the forests, and pick wild berries and
mushrooms, no matter who owns the land. Hunting rights are however dependent on landowners‟
permission, while most types of fishing require permits from the owners of fishing, who generally
grant fishing rights to outsiders on the payment of a small fee.

Finns‟ typically close relationship with nature is also evident in the high number of cottages (mökki)
in the countryside – almost half a million, in a country with just over five million inhabitants. Almost
all of these cottages or cabins are by lakes or the seashore, and about half of them are suitable for
use in the winter. However, still many of the cottages are very basic, in other words, there is no
electricity or running water and many Finns prefer it that way. For sure, you will be invited at least to
one of the cottages during your stay in Finland. Make sure you do not miss an opportunity to get to
know a Finnish cottage life especially during the summer!

So, be curious to invent the possibilities around you, even though you have not been a scout or
even interested in forests or nature before! Many Finnish people enjoy the wilderness and would
appreciate if you are ready to try this experience here during your exchange year. You will perhaps
understand something more about this peculiar country and its people!

CLIMATE & SEASONS               Finland's climate shows both maritime and continental influences.
Surrounding seas cool the climate on the coast in spring but on the other hand warm it up in the
                                                   15
                                                   16
autumn.The climate becomes more continental, i.e more extreme, the further east and north one
goes. The furtherst north, however, has a rather marine climate because of the influence of the
Arctic Ocean. The summer lasts two to four months.The mean annual temperature in the capital,
Helsinki, is 5.3 degrees Celsius.

There are four distinctive seasons in Finland, which differ greatly from each other: winter, spring,
summer and autumn.It is important to be prepared for all them.
              Autumn (syksy) is usually quite rainy, dark and chilly throughout the country. Yet
               there are many people, who truly like the autumn best. Ruska, the colourful leaves,
       give the early autumn that special feeling.
             Winter (talvi)temperature often fall as low as -20 C, but it can get even colder than
                 that. It may be hard to imagine how cold that is, but keep in mind that the
                 temperature in an average freezer is „just‟ –18 C! The coldest temperature ever
       measured was –51.5 C. That record was broken in Kittilä, Lapland in January 1999.
       However, with the climatic changes the winters have become milder in the southern part of
       the country. Wintertime is also the season when days are very short. In the northern part of
       Finland the sun does not rise for 51 days (polar nights) during the winter. This period is
       called kaamos. It is sometimes possible to see the wonderful Northern Lights (Aurora
       Borealis) especially in the northern part of the country.
              Spring (kevät) time the days get lighter and the snow begings to melt away. Nature
              goes through another of its transformation. It is uplifting to see the first spring
       flowers blooming, leaves beginning to reappear and the migrant birds returning for the
       summer.
                Summer (kesä) are the time of the light nights. In the far north section of Finland,
                   the sun does not set for 73 days in the summer (white nights). The summer
                  temperatures are normally around +18-25 C, but sometimes summer highs
       approach +30 C.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO KEEP IN MIND THAT:
·The winter in Finland is long and cold. The temperature can vary between cold and very cold
(normally between 0 to –35 degree Celsius). But on the other hand, just by wearing enough warm
clothes the coldness can be easily beaten. Besides the central heating in the houses is really
excellent.

· The winter is also very dark. The darkness is the one thing that the volunteers often find the
hardest to cope with. There is light for about 6 hours a day in the south of Finland. Having snow
makes it feel lighter and so does Christmas with lots of candles.
At wintertime people seem to be less social. Some people also feel like they cannot sleep enough
even after 12 hours of sleep.

· The summers, on the other hand, are very light. Basically it is day all the time and some people
find it very hard to get a proper sleep at all – because it is day all the time! In Lapland the sun does
not set at all. During the summer people seem to be really happy and content and it seems as if
they do not need any sleep what so ever.

· The seasons have effects not only on volunteers but on Finns, too.

FINNISH CHARACTER                  Finnish people are often thought of as very introvert and stubborn.
This is partly true, because in everyday life Finns avoid too close contact with other people and are
not very confident with so-called ”small talk”. Finns do not necessarily talk very much.
Communication, in general, is quite short and may at first appear to be rude. Honesty plays an
important part in a Finnish way of communication. They may not speak so much, but what they say
they truly mean regardless of the possibility of being too frank.
                                                   16
                                                     17

Honesty is of great importance. If someone forgets for example in a shop or café his mobile phone,
jacket or even a wallet, it is not uncommon to find it there afterwards. Most likely the person, who
found it, gave it to the staff of the place to keep till the rightful owner returns to look for it. Honesty is
important part of the working life as well. In 2003 Finland was ranked the least corrupt country in a
survey conducted by the Tranparency International.

When people meet, they normally shake hands. Finns are not used to giving kisses. On the other
hand, good friends may give each other a hug. Some have even said that Finns hug a lot.

It is also absolutely normal for Finns to spent time together without really speaking to each other for
example on the bus two friends do not necessarily speak to each other and neither one is
uncomfortable about it. Yet you should not see this quietness and strong need for privacy as a sign
of impoliteness. Silence is not considered as a bad sign. Then again, Finland has one of the highest
density of mobile phones in the world and strangely enough, you are likely to see the otherwise
silent Finns blabbering to their beloved phones in public all the time.

I was on a trip to a national park with 6th grade last week which was an intensive experience,
we were wandering about 27 km in 3 days, living in a cottage without electricity, our running
water was a little creek next to the cottage, but of course the 11 years old children took
their mobiles...so this is the finnish way of life :)
Anja Dottermusch, German volunteer to Finland 2003-4

Finnish people are shy, but when you get to know them you‟ll find that they are very trustworthy and
sincere. Being shy is especially true when it comes to begin communicating in a foreign language –
even though most Finns have a good knowledge of English (especially the youger generations). It is
not very common for them to come and make the first move even tough they would like to do so. It
is important for the volunteer to be prepared to make the first effort to get to know people. Yet
getting to know and to make a friend with a Finn can take a while, but it normally is worth the while.
Finns are often considered as loyal friends. So once you have one, you will have a friend forever.
Yet just like everywhere else, people are different, so you can be sure not all the Finns fall into this
category.

Tipping is not very common in Finland. You are not expected to leave tip in restaurants, bars, taxies,
etc. Yet some Finns leave a tip if the service has been exceptionally good.

Religion is more private than public matter. Compared to many other countries Finland is
secularized, and most of the population does not attend religious services regularly.

Finns are very punctual and many prefer to arrive rather early than late. Arriving late is not viewed
very positively at all. The punctuality normally also applies to public transportation as well.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO KEEP IN MIND THAT:

· The experience has shown that volunteers tend to spend a lot of free time among themselves instead of
making Finnish friends. This is probably, because it appears easier to make friends with and to relate to other
volunteers. A need to make Finnish friends may seem little, but often towards the end of the exchange year,
volunteers realise that they are missing something important: true Finnish contacts. These contacts are
important after the year is over, so be willing and prepared to make an effort.

· It is good to keep in mind that punctuality is also expected of the volunteer and it is good to get in to the
rhythm right from the start. You will be expected to arrive on time for work as well!


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MEN AND WOMEN                     In relative terms women and men in Finland are very equal both in the
public and the private sphere. The Act on Equality between Women and Men in 1995 introduced a
quota provision. The quota provision ensures an equal proportion of women and men in public
organs. The provision applies to government committees, advisory boards and other corresponding
bodies, and to municipal bodies, exclusive of municipal councils. A share of less represented sex in
those organs must be at least 40. Women who do not work are a rarity in Finland today. There are
hardly any at all among younger women. Women are mainly employed full time, and they do not
leave their jobs when they get married or have children.The widespread participation of women in
working life has not, however, meant that there is equality between the sexes in the labour market.
There is still a clear division into men's and women's jobs, although this boundary has become more
blurred in recent years. The division of labour between the sexes is also in evidence in salary levels.
Women's salaries in both the private and the public sector are still only 80 % of men's salaries, even
though women in every age group are more highly educated than men. Women work full time
almost as often as men do, but their salaries are still lower, depending also on the appreciation of
different professions.           At home mother‟s opinion is usually just as respected as father‟s.There
are lots of single parent households since the divorce rate is high - almost half of the marriages end
in divorce. Couples often live together for without getting married, in a so called common law
marriage. Finnish youngsters move away from home at early age, and lead an independent life.
Attitudes towards sexual relations are quite liberal.
SOCIETY             After World War II Finland developed as a Nordic social welfare state. Social
segregation is less visible than in many other countries and people socialize freely regardless of
status. It is quite normal to speak to a new person in first person singular right from the beginning
regardless of his/her social status or age differences.
Finland has a public health care and education system available to all residents. For example
libraries have excellent facilities open to everyone including free internet. The municipalities also
offer sport facilities, for example, swimming halls, cross country skiing tracks, etc.
Relatively high unemployment rate has affected the Finnish society a lot in recent years, although it
has been improving since the economic slump of the early 1990s. The unemployment rate was
8,8% in 2004, but the rate varies a lot in different parts of the country, for example between 7% in
Helsinki and 19% in Eastern part of Finland.
The high unemployment rate in the countryside and in smaller cities drives the population to the
bigger cities. The urbanisation causes many typical problems in the cities such as expensive
housing, traffic congestion and pollution. Racism and intolerance have also caused problems in
some areas.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO KEEP IN MIND THAT:
There are not many foreigners in Finland, thus a volunteer may come across a situation when
he/she gets the feeling of standing out from the crowd. In smaller places the volunteer may be the
only foreigner in the village. At first this might feel unpleasant, but it is just a question of getting used
to. It happens everywhere in the world. Finns may look, but be too shy to come to talk to. With time
this normally does stop and the curious looks turn to happy hellos.
Unfortunately some foreigners do experience intolerance especially verbal abuse. Quite typically it is
by men and especially under the influence of alcohol. The best policy is normally just to walk away
without paying them any attention. These people are a small minority. Verbal abuse and intolerance
hurt and there is no excuse for it. However, it is important not to let a few bad apples spoil the whole
great experience, which the ICYE year really is.

Criminality and drug abuse are an increasing problem especially in the bigger cities. Loneliness of
the elderly and alienation can be called a social problem to some extend in Finland. Alienation affect
the unemployed and the people especially in the remote parts of the country.

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Alcohol is a big social and health problem in Finland. Like many Nordic people, some Finns drink a
lot, and under influence their behaviour may be quite far from how they normally behave. The
consumption of alcohol per person per year may be higher in other countries, however, the manner,
in which alcohol is consumed, differs notably. A typical Finn drinks a lot and fast. But once again,
most people control their drinking perfectly well - it is just that the drunk ones stand out.

CITY VS COUNTRYSIDE The urbanisation and the movement from the rural areas to the
cities and towns really begun in the 1960s. The movement was particularly directed to the Helsinki
area and to some extend it is still continueing. A slight 'counter-urbanization' also occurred in
Finland during the 1990s. Most of the university towns in the provinces show rising population
figures, positive for the development of the knowledge-based new economy partly induced by the
universities themselves.
Finland's most densely populated and urbanized areas lie in the south and southwest of the country.
This area is said to be located within the “susiraja” - the wolf line. In other words, the majority of
Finns live in this relatively small area. These same areas have historically been the core of Finland.
The population of Finland is, in fact, very unevenly distributed. The overall population density is 17
per km² of land, yet the density in the province of Uusimaa, which includes the capital, is almost 205
per km². The population density in the other, more industrialized southern provinces is over 30 per
km², while that in the provinces of the east and north is less than 10 per km². Lapland is the most
sparsely populated province, with a population density of only 2.2 persons per km².
Important to keep in mind is that even though Finnish cities (small in a global scale) do not differ a
lot from the ones in Europe in general, the countryside does. In a small village of 2000 people, the
majority does not live in the village centre, but rather the houses are scattered around the whole
area of the municipality. The distances between neighbourgs can be relatively long and the public
transportation to the village centre or to bigger cities is not very frequent.

FINNISH CULTURE AND ARTS: Finland has the world's highest per capita rate of public
funding for the arts and museums, some 90.83 euro (c. USD 100) annually. There are many
interesting museums and galleries in Finland that are really worth visiting. These range from Modern
Art museums to old castles and fortresses. They normally have an entrance fee, but at least some
of the biggest museums have certain times when it is possible to visit them free of charge.
One of the most important pieces of Finnish literature is our national epic called Kalevala. It consists
oral poems of the Karelian region of Finland, which were collected and composed as a book by Elias
Lönnrot in the 19th century. The poems tell stories of great mythical heroes and their adventures. It
is possible to find translations of Kalevala in various languages.
There are other famous Finnish writers, whose works have been translated to many languages.
These authors include for example: Mika Waltari, who wrote The Egyptian, F.E. Sillanpää, who
won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1939 and Tove Jansson, the creator of the Moomins.
There are no really famous Finnish painters, but if you are interested in
arts, it is worth seeing the works of art by artist such as Akseli Gallen-
Kallela, whose used Kalevala as his inspiration for his painings. Other
painters, whose works are definately worth getting to know include
painters such as Helene Schjerfbeck, Albert Edelfelt and Hugo
Simberg. Sculptor Eila Hiltunen is quite famous as well. One of her
most famous works is the Sibelius Monument in Helsinki.
Jean Sibelius was a Finnish composer, who composed among other
things 7 symphonies in his lifetime. His most famous compositions include Finlandia and Valse
Triste. Sibelius‟ house Ainola is one of the famous museums in Finland. Clasical music is still very
highly esteemed in Finland and there are many Finnish world class opera singers and directors of
orchestra.
Finland is also well know for its architecture and industrial design. Names that can be connected
with these are for example, Alvar Aalto, Eliel and Eero Saarinen and Tapio Wirkkala.
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More recent trends in the field of arts include the Kaurismäki Brothers, Aki and Mika, who are film
directors. Aki Kaurismäki‟s Man Without a Past (Mies Vailla Menneisyyttä) was nominated for a best
foreing film in the Oscars in 2003. Aki Kaurismäki has also directed films about The Leningrad
Cowboys, which is a Finnish band. The Leningrad Cowboys have played two big free rock concerts
in Helsinki with Alexandrov Red Army Chorus and Dance Ensemble.
Finnish music, with the exception of the classical music, is not really very well known outside of the
country. In the past years some bands have gained a bit of recognition also abroad. Perhaps you
have heard of HIM, Darude, Nightwish, The Rasmus or Apocalyptica? If you have the opportunity,
go to one of the music festivals taking place outdoors during the summer. It will definitely be one of
the best opportunities to hear and see Finnish music; whatever kind of music you happen like from
classical to traditional and from tango to pop and rock.
                      There is one world class personality, who comes from Finland and has to be
                      mentioned. He is Joulupukki or Santa Claus as he is known in English. He is a
                      Finn, too. He has his home place called Korvatunturi, which is a remote fjeld in
                      Lapland, close to the Russian border. For sure you will have the opportunity to
                      meet him during your stay here…and if you have been nice, he just might bring
                      you something nice at Christmas!!!

ECONOMY            Finland has an advanced industrial economy. A full 2/3 of the nation's economic
output comes from the service sector. Forests are still Finland's most crucial raw material resource,
although the engineering and high technology industries, led by Nokia, have long been the leading
branches of manufacturing. The industrial structure of Finnish exports has changed dramatically
over the past decades. The wood and paper industry accounted for well over half of exports less
than thirty years ago. Now the paper industry is only one of three major export sectors, the other two
being electronics and other metal and engineering. Electronics is the most spectacular success
story in Finnish exports. Its outstanding growth in the 1990s is mainly based on mobile phones and
other telecommunication equipment. The successful story of mobile phones, however, is only one
example. Linux, Benecol, Kone, Metso, Polar Electro, Suunto, Fiskars, and Exel are all world-class
brands of Finnish origin.

EDUCATION             Finnish people may seem somewhat reserved but they are well educated.
Finland invests 7.2% of its GNP in education, the highest figure within the OECD, the group which
includes the western industrialized countries and Japan. The education in Finland is public and free.
There are few private schools. All Finns are required to get their basic education between the ages
of 7 to 16. They may then choose to further their education at an upper secondary (3 year) or
vocational (2-5 year) school, and after that at the universities or other institutes for higher education.
Also popular forms of education are the folk high schools, which offer non formative education, and
so called työväenopisto or kansalaisopisto, which offer evening courses in various subjects including
Finnish language.

FOOD Welcome to la cuisine finlandaise - Tervetuloa Suomi-keittiöön! The basic meal in Finland
traditionally consists of potatoes and meat or fish. Nowadays salad is also a inseparable part of a
Finnish meal. Potatoes and bread are traditionally eaten almost at every meal and in general Finns
drink a lot of milk. Another drink that Finns are absolutely crazy about is coffee. With a consumption
of 14 kilograms per person annually, we drink more of it per capita than any other nation. So when
you go to visit someone, they most likely will offer to prepare you a cup of coffee. Finns also enjoy a
lot of the fruits of our own forests: different berries and mushrooms.
However, the Finnish diet has been influenced by international cuisine a lot and therefore rice and
pasta are sometimes eaten instead of potatos. Finnish food is not at all spicy and foreigners often
find it lacking salt as well. Anyway, an increasing number of young people are vegetarians in
Finland. The food is certainly something that you will have to get used to - it is a big part of the
culture.

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SAUNA        is probably the most famous feature of the Finnish culture internationally. There are
over 2 million saunas in Finland (consider the rate per capita!..). There is a sauna in almost every
house and nowadays you can often also find one in apartments. Traditionally Finnish people went
to sauna once a week every Saturday night, but depending on the family it can even be used every
day.

FINNISH LANGUAGE                     People often mistakenly assume that languages spoken in
neighbouring countries are closely related. A simple answer to 'Is Finnish like Swedish?' or 'Does
everyone in Finland speak Russian?' is 'No.' Swedish - although one of the two official languages of
Finland - and Russian belong to the Indo-European group of languages. Finnish, on the other hand,
is one of the Finno-Ugrian languages, which do not belong to the part of the Indo-European
language tree like the majority of languages in Europe. In all, about 23 million people speak a Finno-
Ugrian language. The major ones are Hungarian and Estonian. Most of the other languages are tiny,
threatened minority tongues whose territories lie within the Russian Federation.
The Finno-Ugrian languages share enough common lexical and grammatical features to prove a
common origin. Although these languages have developed separately for thousands of years, it can
be seen that common features include for instance: absence of gender (the same Finnish pronoun
hän denotes both he and she), absence of articles (a and the in English), long words due to the
structure of the language, and numerous grammatical cases.
Finnish often expresses ideas very differently from the ways of the more commonly studied
European languages. Therefore Finnish has a quite notorious reputation of being a difficult
language. Finnish is a very demanding language to learn and to master. There are not exceptions or
irregularities to the rule, but unfortunately, there are a lot of rules. Grammatically speaking Finnish is
a very logical language and the spelling is also completely phonetical.
It is good to keep in mind that a study of any foreign language requires work - and often very hard
work. Finnish is no exception. But each year a number of volunteers learn to speak Finnish
fluently! So do not feel put off by the first hard lessons or by the fact that colloquial (spoken) Finnish
often differs a lot from the standard language. In addition, Finnish has regional dialects and different
social variants(slangs). For a foreigner, however, it is always best to start with the standard form of
the language. The more effort you put into learning Finnish, the more you will learn and with the
language a new perspective to the country and its people also becomes available to you.



USEFUL WORDS ~ HYÖDYLLISIÄ SANOJA
GENERAL ~YLEISTÄ
YES                                            KYLLÄ, JOO, JUU
NO                                             EI
THANK YOU                                      KIITOS
HERE YOU ARE                                   OLE HYVÄ
EXCUSE ME/SORRY                                ANTEEKSI (colloquial: SORI)
GOOD MORNING                                   HYVÄÄ HUOMENTA
GOOD DAY                                       HYVÄÄ PÄIVÄÄ
GOOD NIGHT                                     HYVÄÄ YÖTÄ
HELLO                                          PÄIVÄÄ
HI!                                            HEI! MOI! TERVE!
BYE!                                           HEI HEI! / MOI MOI! / HEIPPA!
HOW ARE YOU?                                   MITÄ KUULUU?
(I AM) FINE / GOOD                             ( MINULLE KUULUU ) HYVÄÄ
OPEN                                           AVOINNA, AUKI
CLOSED                                         KIINNI / SULJETTU
TOILET                                         WC, VESSA;
M - MIEHET                                     MALES
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                                                       22
N              –                         NAISET           WOMEN
TELEPHONE                                   PUHELIN
TRAIN                                       JUNA
RAILWAYSTATION                  RAUTATIEASEMA, JUNA-ASEMA

BUS                                               LINJA-AUTO/ BUSSI
BUS STATION                                      LINJA-AUTOASEMA, BUSSI ASEMA
AIRPORT                                          LENTOKENTTÄ
HARBOUR                                          SATAMA
TAXI                                             TAKSI

NUMBERS ~NUMEROT 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
YKSI, KAKSI, KOLME, NELJÄ, VIISI, KUUSI, SEITSEMÄN, KAHDEKSAN, YHDEKSÄN,
KYMMENEN
You can find a virtual Finnish language course called Finnish for Foreigners from:
http://donnerwetter.kielikeskus.helsinki.fi/FinnishForForeigners/




FINLAND ON THE WEB
IT IS IMPORTANT TO KEEP IN MIND THAT:

Finland is one of the countries with the highest number of internet connections per population. This
does not, however, mean that every place has a computer or that the volunteer can use it freely and
as they are used to at home. In case, there is no connection in the project, free internet can be
found, for example, from local libraries.

   If you are interested in finding more information about Finland, the internet is the quickest and
probably the easiest way to do so. Here are some useful links:
http://www.formin.fi/english/     (Foreign Ministry)
http://virtual.finland.fi/      (Lot of useful information about Finland and Finns)
http://www.vyh.fi/eng/environ/bdclearh/disco.htm (“Finland in a nutshell”)
http://www.finland-tourism.com/       (Tourist Information of Finland)
http://www.yle.fi/fbc/index.shtml     (YLE - Finnish National Broadcasting Company)
http://www.helsinki-hs.net/     (Helsingin Sanomat, the biggest Finnish newspaper )
http://www.sauna.fi/pages/index.htm        (The Finnish Sauna Society – whatever you wish to know
about the Finnish sauna)
http://www.sci.fi/~kajun/finns/ (Lists of Finnish names, which can cause some problems for non-
native speakers at first. It is not always easy to distinguish which name is for women and which one
for men)
http://www.hel.fi and http://www.helsinki.fi     (The City of Helsinki and the City and the University of
Helsinki)
http://www.virtualhelsinki.net/english/index.html       (Virtual Tour of Helsinki)
http://www.netek.fi/surf/index.html         (Active map of Finland, with links to webpages of various
cities, towns and villages)
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Normally it is possible to find the webpages of the Finnish cities and municipalities by writing
www. Name of the city. fi for example:
Tampere:      www.tampere.fi
Turku:        www.turku.fi
Jyväskylä:    www.jyvaskyla.fi
Lahti:        www.lahti.fi

NB. If the name of the city has got dots they are written without them in the web addresses. Ä -> A
& Ö -> O




Finnish                          Swedish                        Sámi


Tervetuloa! Välkommen! Buresboahtin!

                                      Welcome!




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