Are the stereotypes real ? Let’s make an investigation about the clichés !

clichés

Every country have a really long list of stereotypes, and Finland is not an exception. Going in an other country can be a possibility to verify the stereotypes that you believe in which can be wrong or true.

First, to be fair and realized how we can be judged by the other countries, let’s see the clichés of each country where we, the Erasmus students, come from :

 

cliché hollandais Dutch people are constantly stoned, they don’t hesitate to dare to say to people what they have in their mind, they are rude and they become really attentive when it’s about their money.

 

cliché

The French people are really nationalist and the cheese is their God. Their jobs are always related with arts and cooking, and they are food and wine lovers “Oh là là!”, maybe for this reason they are life enjoyers.

 

 

 

spain cliché

If I say to you these following words : hot blood, fury, passionated lovers, laziness, procrastination. Can you tell me about who we are talking about ? That’s the Spanish people who take everything easy and enjoy their life with sangria and paella.

 

 

cliché germa

 

What to say about German people? Beer, wurst, beer, wurst, beer, wurst, … But even though they drink so much they are really serious and they don’t laugh a lot. Be strict and well-organized is running in their veins.

 

cliché belge

In Belgium the people are kind, naive and they are considered stupid at the same time by their neighborhood countries. They seem younger in appearance but not in mind … Drink a lot of beers and make a good chocolate are the best abilities that they have.

 

 

Now let’s talk about our adopted country for our Erasmus experience : FINLAND.

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Before coming to Finland, we didn’t know a lot about the social culture of the country and its people. We didn’t know how the people from Finland are communicating with each other, how they express their feelings or how their friendships and family relations are. Nonetheless we were expecting to find a person according to these next stereotypes.

 

  • All the Finnish people are introvert, don’t show their emotions and never smile.

This is one of the bigger stereotypes about the Finnish people, but when you spend every day with them, you realize that they are no like robots. Of course they can not be compared with the people form south Europe, but you can perceive something from them..

  • All the Finnish people don’t talk to strangers.

It’s not so easy to accost Finnish people because they look serious. And one thing to consider is : they don’t like to be near people, you have to keep a distance between you and them. But..but when you learn more about them, then this distance can be destroyed and you can talk to them easily. 

  • All the Finnish people are calm. 

F-A-L-S-E, completely false. If you live with them you can hear shouts all the day at all hours. Something that surprised and impressed us. 

  • Finnish guys and girls are good-looking.

Before coming to Finland, we can imagine that people are handsome and attractive. In fact, it’s not completely true but it can be consider by many different point of view. It depends if you like tall blond-haired and blue-eyed persons! Oh…wait.. that’s a new stereotype!

  • All the Finnish people are tall, blond-haired and blue-eyed.

Most of them are like that. If you get bored in the transport, you can play a game and try to count how are they. It can happen that some of them don’t want to belong to this figure and try to hide these scandinavian attributes by different manners.

  • All the Finnish people are depressed. 

Cold and darkness. What could be more depressing ? It’s less depressing for them when they are drunk.

  • All the Finnish people are alcoholic.

We can corroborate that this stereotype it’s more true than false, Finnish people drink a loooooooot, and where can they find so much alcohol? In Tallinn of course, you can’t find cheap alcohol in Finland, so let’s go to Estonia! But there is a good new, there are studies where is said that the consumption of alcohol is decreasing in Finland.

  •   Sauna, Sauna and Sauna. 

It’s quite strange if you describe to someone who doesn’t know what is a sauna. “Well, in Finland, I am sitting naked in big hot box and I throw water on stones…” Sounds weird. But it’s the temple of the Finns and it become ours as well because there is nothing better than relaxing and sweating in a sauna after a long day.

  • All Finnish people are honest. 

In every country there is honest people and dishonest people, and in Finland as well.

  • All the Finnish people respect the rules

They are not so different to the other european people, they also cross the road when the traffic light is red!But one of the things that impressed me, and in a really good way, is that they respect a lot of the nature, and they have a lot of rules to conserve it. Hopefully all country had the same consideration to the nature.

  • All the Finnish people speak good english.

Another false stereotype. Not everybody speaks good english, it’s more, not everybody speaks english, and you can find it out, for example, using public transport or going to the supermarket. If you take the right bus: congratulations!!

 

Can you approve these stereotypes ?

As we can see, all these stereotypes are not completely true but sometimes you can discover a little part of the truth. We encourage you to verify these stereotypes by yourself and see if they are right. BON VOYAGE !!!!!!  

Demonstration in Finland – Voices in the streets of Helsinki

Demonstrations in Finland? Sounds untypical for Finnish people right? That’s why we decided to find out just how Finnish people demonstrate. On the 12th of March we took part in our first Finnish demonstration in Helsinki. On that sunny Saturday around 8.000 Finns from all sides of the political landscape were on the streets to fight together against the “dark government cloud” and government’s austerity plans.

But aren’t Finnish people known for not being very talkative and shy towards strangers? Well…we decided to ignore that stereotype and confronted them directly. With the microphone on and a couple of questions in our pockets we tried to get an authentic picture of the demonstration while interviewing Finnish people, both demonstrators as well as rubberneckers who just watched the event. We asked about why they are going on the streets, how they feel and what they think – what their voices in the streets mean to the Finnish society.

And what a surprise! Finnish people do talk to strangers and they can be talkative! We had a couple of very interesting answers and we met a lot of very nice people!

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Interviewer Arnaud ready to talk to the voices of the streets about the demonstration in Helsinki

The reactions of the interviewees in the streets of Helsinki differ, but are mostly positive. The demonstrators were workers, students, parents, kids, elderly people and many more, demonstrating against austerity measures and funding cuts, for ecological reasons, like saving and protecting the planet and especially the Finnish nature, lakes and water as well as financial reasons like capitalism, student money and education.

The demonstration started at around 14:00 on the Senaatintori (Senate Square) with a speaker and music, people were sitting on the staircase of the Helsingin tuomiokirkko – the Helsinki Cathedral, warming up their voices to get ready for the march in streets, signs in their hands with statements to show what they are demonstration for.

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Demonstrators on the Senate Square holding up signs

_DSC7642 sign demo2

A lot of people also just watched the demonstration and weren’t quite sure what the voices of the streets are demonstrating for but seemed interested and wanted to know more about the demonstration. Compared to our countries, Germany and France, we noticed on arrival that the demonstration was much quieter. So why? Don’t they want to change something?

After approximately an hour the demonstration continued as a parade marched towards the Hakaniemi Market Square. Suddenly there was more movement, more noise, more people and we felt the voices of the streets, their concerns and fears. Still peaceful and calm but with more ambition.

Do you want to know why people went on the streets and how they felt about the protests? Here you can listen to the voices of the streets, their emotions, statements and fears: Voices in the streets of Helsinki

But what were our fellow exchange students saying about the demonstrations? We received the following answers from Alex and Aline, both from France (of course):

Alex: “It’s a sunny day with positive atmosphere and a lot of people from all origins, every age, it’s a very, very nice. We can also find dogs in demonstration, but dogs don’t speak very much, because they don’t speak Finnish or English very well. But I’m also a bit disappointed with the demonstration, because there is no violence, it’s too calm and with music.”

Aline: “For the beginning it’s a calm demonstration, but hopefully it will become more violent at the end because I saw people with alcohol and they might become violent because they are maybe disappointed.”

Interviewer: “And will you get violent?” Both: “No never.” Others: “Of course, for sure – French people!” 😉 Luckily we managed to keep the three French away from any violent acts, which was not easy! 😉

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Exchange students marching with Finns through Helsinki – trying not to become violent

All in all we can say that it was an interesting experience to join a demonstration in another country than our own, we had lots of fun while interviewing the Finns and also marched with them for a couple of hundred meters during the demonstration.

Wake up in the snow !

Hi,

We are 9 exchange students who started studying in Finland. We study at the University of Applied Science of HUMAK in Nurmijärvi. We are from all over Europe: France, Netherlands, Spain, Germany and Belgium. But why choose Finland? The beautiful nature, the interesting program, the desire for snow?  Let’s find out!
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Sports

Being a sport-a-holic is definitely possible in Nurmijärvi. In the past weeks, we already enjoyed a lot of different activities. First of all, Finland is well known for their cross-country skiing. Here they just call it skiing. In this area you can also do it. And… It is fun! The accommodation doesn’t have skies for us. So one of our teachers brought 2 pair of ski’s that we could borrow. THANK YOU!

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Once the Finnish students organized winter funny games. We played football in 20cm snow! Fun guaranteed! You slip, the ball doesn’t go the way you want and everyone is laughing. We also made ice sculptures that day. What do you think of our results?

 

Catepillar       Unicorn

                     Catepillar dragon                                                           unicorn

Further there is a gym you can always use, a swimming pool and a large sports hall. Two days a week we can use the sports hall with the students. Then we play games like volleyball and badminton.

Saunaparty

In our first week we had a lot of introduction about the Finish school system, Humak, the area… But also a lot of fun things were in the program. One of them was an outdoor sauna and a swim in ice water. The sauna is located near a lake and completely frozen. Except one part, here we could go in the water. They recommended us to first go in the water and then to the sauna. So we did, starting scared, but full of adrenalin! It was so refreshing and we felt alive. Then to the sauna. Also great! Some of us went a couple of times to the sauna and back to the lake. Already addicted after one time.

After the sauna, we stayed in the cabin and ate some cookies, fruits,… We talked and practiced our Finnish. Not a typical party, but one we will never forget!

 

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First impressions Helsinki

Helsinki is a beautiful city. It has huge buildings and is quit clean. When you take the bus from our place to Helsinki, you’ll arrive in Kamppi. This is an area where are a couple of shopping centers, a bus station, a railway station… There is also a lot of beautiful culture. The modern art museum is definitely recommendable. I haven’t been there yet. But other Erasmus students have. They were enthusiastic and when I saw the pictures, I understood why.

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          Modern arts museum                                                       Modern arts museum

Nice to know

We also had some struggles and questions the first weeks. Sometimes it’s nice to know already things before you go to that country. So here a couple of ‘nice to know’:

First, bring a picture (like the one on your passport!) You will need a student card and then this is necessary.

Another nice thing to know, don’t bring to many hot clothes. The building is quite warm! So bring 1 or 2 thick sweaters, but 5 is too much and not necessary.

Third, shops and parties are not close! The closest shop is 5 km from our staying. Some students have a car, then you can ride with them. Otherwise you can walk (1h) or take the bus. Hitchhiking is also very useful. When the winter is over, we can also use the bikes. For a party you have to be in Helsinki. That is 50km from Kiljava Opisto (1h with the bus). There is one night bus at 2u10.

You want to drink alcoholic drinks? That’s possible, but not as easy then in most countries. If you go to a normal shop, you won’t find alcohol above 4.7%. If you want stronger drinks, go to an Alko. They have a large offer of different drinks. Alko’s are easy to find, but look at their closing hours. On Saturday they close up at 18 hours.

Alko

 

And last but not least, there is a lake here! When we arrive, you could just walk on the ice. In a couple of weeks the lake will melt. We can take a boat and enjoy the lake in a whole different way. Nature is beautiful and by the changing of seasons, we can replace the winter activities as skiing  to frisbeeing!

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Citytrips

When I hear Erasmus, I automatically thing of traveling. These just go together. Above you could already read about Helsinki. But we still want to visit much more.

Some of us have visited Turku, we loved it. It is a very nice and cosy city. We went to a Castle, Biological museum, Cathedral,… Now that biological museum, not quit recommendable. But the castle is! A lot of interesting information and a beautiful building.

Further we went to a couple of bars in the weekends. We enjoyed our time with a beer (or a coke) and played games. When the Easter holidays are coming, we all have the opportunity to travel again. Everyone has their plans; Tallinn, Riga or Lapland.

We are still looking for more opportunities to travel and time by time we find those. Goal for at the end: see as much as possible of Finland and the neighbouring countries.

In turku    Turku Castle

                               In Turku                                                         Turku Castle