Nursing in Northampton

The adventures of 3 Finnish nursing students in Britain

England vs Finland – are they different?

Hello everyone!

I’ve started this post maybe two months ago but never actually finished it! Here I’ve written down some differences ¨(and similarities) between England and Finland. These are just my thoughts, someone else might see things differently. I absolutely love England and have enjoyed my time here! So no hate! 😉

Being polite – whole new level

British people are polite in a way that doesn’t happen Finland. I don’t say we Finns aren’t polite, we just have our own ways. Here in England using ‘please’, ‘sorry’, ‘excuse me’ and ‘thank you’ in every moment is super important. I’ve noticed English people say ‘sorry’ even though there’s not much to be sorry for. In addition to using these polite words they ask a lot ‘how are you?’ or ‘you all right?’ when they meet each others. In Finland we do ask ‘how are you?’ but we expect to get and give honest answers instead of ‘I’m fine thank you’.

“Hello my dear!”

Words like ‘dear’, ‘darling’, ‘love’ and ‘sweetheart’ in Finland are preserved for the people who are meaningful to you. Here in England you call even random people with these words. For example my some of my colleagues might say ‘hello my love’ or patients might say ‘thank you darling’. I almost bumped into an old man at the street and after saying ‘I’m sorry’ he said ‘it’s ok my love’. For me this seemed very odd at the beginning but I got used to it. I think it makes communication with other people a bit more nicer. To be honest I haven’t started to use these words myself and probably never will.

The traffic = crazy

As you know these English people drive the wrong side of the road (read: the left-hand-side). At the beginning it took some time to get used to it. The streets are narrow and they park both sides or the road. In addition to driving left side, these people drive like crazy. I’ve been in car several times and I have to admit every time I’ve been a bit frightened. In Finland people drive quite carefully compared to England.

Everyday food

British people don’t seem to eat as healthy as Finnish people do. Finnish kids have somewhat healthy school lunches and they eat vegetables. Even universities and upper secondary school provide healthy food with vegetables. Here a lot of people eat sandwich and crisps for lunch, which is so weird to me. They also drink a lots of soda drinks because it’s usually part of the meal deal (sandwich + drink + crisps). In Finland crisps and soda drinks are usually something to drink on special occasions, not on daily basis.

Planning and scheduling

In Finland it’s very important that things actually happen on time. For example if we’ve agreed to be somewhere at 9a.m. we’ll be there. We Finns like to organize things efficiently. Sometimes the British way of doing things seems a bit slow and is frustrating.

Health Care System

In the UK they have public health care system free for everyone. The NHS (National Health Services) gives care for free to everyone. In Finland we like to say that we have free public health care system, but actually we need to pay small charges every time we see a doctor or go to hospital. However, I think it’s ok to pay small charges since it helps us provide the services. In my opinion they should have small charges here in England too, especially when their NHS has it’s problems.

Culture and History

England is an amazing place to explore historical and culturally remarkable places. This country has long and very versatile history. I love to see old architecture and learn about the history. For example London is a beautiful city with a lots to provide. The opportunities are endless. There really aren’t that many towns or cities in Finland that provide the same level of culture and history to enjoy.

The money

They have same currency in the whole UK (pounds) but still you can have money that some local entrepreneuer might refuse to accept. I had £5 note that was from Scotland and local bus here in Northampton refused to accept it. Why on earth do you have same currency but you can’t use English money in Scotland or Scottish money in England? That sounds just ridiculous. They also still use 1 and 2 pence coins which isn’t very functional. They should start rounding the prices as we do in Finland.


There are so many people of different ethnic backgrounds, people from many countries, people of colour, people with different religions and backgrounds. I think this is a great thing and I truly enjoy seeing different people and getting to know them! People here seem to be more acceptable than in Finland. It’s been interesting experience couple times going home from university and realising after couple minutes that I’m the only white person in the bus. That definitely doesn’t happen in Finland.

Schools and education

Most of the (primary) schools have locked doors or gates so that people can’t get in and out without supervision. For me that sounds so weird but it’s for safety here. Luckily we don’t have to do that in Finland. They also have very posh private schools where only the rich kids can go. I’ve visited a private school that was in old mansion and it was impressive. Studying at university here costs a lots of money, in Finland it’s free. Also living in university dormitory is pretty expensive I would say. I don’t know how the students make it here. (Well I do know: their parent’s pay or they take massive debts but you get the point.)


There you have it guys! If I remember any other differences I’ll make a new post.

Enjoy the summer days! It’s been lovely here in England!

Here are some photos. Twish your head please because this WordPress platform still doesn’t like pictures.

Becket’s Park in Northampton

Northampton Market place

Kew Gardens in London