3 reasons + 2 tips to learn Finnish

 Before moving to Finland, I often thought:
“You don’t need Finnish, everyone speaks English.”
“Finnish is a super hard language to learn.”

But still, I decided to give the (to me) strange looking language with its 15 cases a chance – out of curiosity and respect towards my new home’s culture. Let me share with you some good reasons and my personal tips for learning Finnish!

In my Finnish courses, we use the book series “Suomen Mestari” which translates to “Finnish Champion”. Photo: Vanessa

3 good reasons to start learning Finnish

1. Get challenged

The fact that I started learning Finnish makes my everyday life in many situations not only easier, but also more interesting. Personally, I find it so much more exiting to read signs on the street or in the supermarket when there is a chance to understand at least a few words. When learning a language, every new word you learn brings you forward and is a success on its own!

2. Meet new people

In my Finnish courses organized by the University’s language center, I met many interesting people from all around the world. It is very interesting to hear about peoples’ reasons to live in Rovaniemi and their motivations to learn the language or even to stay in Finland permanently.

3. Learn something about your native language

Having learned only Germanic languages before, I have never reflected as much on my native language (German) as I do now, when I am learning Finnish.  Whenever I learn Finnish grammatics, I think about how my native language works – and finding surprising similarities between Finnish and my mothertongue language makes me excited over and over again.

Tips for improving your Finnish in your free time

1. Connect with native speakers

Learning a language from a native speaker is very enriching, especially when it comes to learning spoken language. If you want to practice your Finnish also outside of the university courses, you can for example join ESN’s yearly friend programme, join the Café Lingua meetings or participate in the Teach & Learn programme, where you teach your native language in exchange of learning from a native speaker.

2. Combine your hobbies with language learning 

You can learn Finnish in many ways – also individually in your freetime. Do you like listening to music, reading books or watching TV? Just do it in Finnish! Subtitles, (childrens’) books and listening/translating slow songs are a great way to combine learning Finnish with your hobbies. Also, the Finnish news channel YLE provides news in easy Finnish (Uutiset selkosuomeksi).

Is it worth learning Finnish? After 1,5 years I can say that:

You will survive without Finnish skills, but learning it makes your life easier.

Finnish is not an easy language, but with motivation and patience you can learn it.



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