When I moved to Finland I knew several words and expressions in Finnish and I didn’t understand the importance of Finnish language skills because I was sure that English is enough. Usually almost every Finn can speak English or just understand English but then I faced with different situations when I couldn’t solve the problem without Finnish. During first year of studying I was learning Finnish at the University in Kajaani so I passed two courses of Finnish there. Moreover, I decided to participate in Tandem course, I found a Finnish person who wanted to speak Russian and can teach me Finnish and we organized one lesson every week, it was great experience because we not only learnt languages but also traditions of our cultures. When I moved to Jyväskylä I decided to take third course of Finnish and then I started my language course in Upper Secondary Education College. I also have a friend who is a native Russian and Finnish speaker that is why we can easily communicate in Finnish and she can explain difficult words or grammar rules in Russian. Now it became not so difficult for me to explain something in Finnish, to get service in Finnish, etc. Moreover, before I couldn’t understand anything in Finnish I was confused sometimes when I was only one person who didn’t speak Finnish and all conversation was difficult to participate in.
I started to notice that many people are so happy when foreigners try to speak Finnish, they all the time try to help you if you can’t find a word or they try to speak slow. Now I am absolutely sure that if you want live here and be a part of the country, it’s important to know the language. Be sure without knowledge of Finnish, you miss so many events, traditions and activities. And one of the important moment you need to know Finnish is to find a job here. Of course, if you are absolutely lucky and can find open position in English and get this job it’s not a problem for you, but in many cases Finnish language is a requirement to apply for the position.
Hyvää kesää!!! (Have a good summer!)