22/04/2017

10 Finnish Stereotypes Your Finnish Friend is Tired of Hearing

10 Finnish Stereotypes Your Finnish Friend is Tired of Hearing


I've lived abroad for long enough to have answered the classic "Where are you from?" at least a hundred times. Well, we all have at some point of our lives, so we all know what comes next: wherever you come from, whatever your answer might be, the person asking the question tries to make sense of you and break the ice by telling you that one thing they've heard about your home country.

When you come from a country like mine - a puny, irrelevant Finland somewhere between Russia and western Europe - there are only so many things people know. Are we like Swedes? Do we hate everyone? Funny or not, believe me, after hearing the same things over and over again throughout the years there's a point where even a calm, silent Finn has had enough of your bullcr...

...What I'm trying to say here is: here are 10 Stereotypes Your Finnish Friend is Tired of Hearing! Clinically tested by yours truly!


1. "But you're from Finland? How can you feel cold?"

How? How about by not dressing properly?

My Finnish skin doesn't make me immune to cold temperatures. Yes, there indeed is a chance I'm more used to cold than someone from a more southern hemisphere - in other words, I'm not necessarily wearing a coat in +15C - but there is a limit. That limit is very easily reached in a place like Ireland, where the humidity gets into your bones and freezes you from the inside no matter how many layers of scarves you're wearing. The Atlantic wind is ruthless, folks.


2. "Your education system is so flawless. Why would you move abroad to study?"

Probably because I wanted to study somewhere else than Finland.

Yes, education is great. Yes, it's free. Yes, we rank incredibly well internationally every year. But also no, we do get homework, we do have exams and our teachers are not rich. Thank you for verifying that.

If you're interested in finding out why I left Finland, check out this blogpost: WHY I MOVED ABROAD. It will reveal the secrets of Finnish emigration on my part.


3. "Finland? You speak Swedish/Russian/English there, right?"

Well, you're not entirely wrong there. Finland is a bilingual country: Swedish is the first language of roughly 5% of Finns. And well, at school we indeed learn English and even Russian sometimes.

But the answer to your question here is NO. The logic to my first language is pretty simple: Finland - Finnish. Finnish is my first language. No, it's not anything like Swedish of Norwegian.  No, it doesn't sound like Russian either. It's the odd-one-out orphan separated from her brothers and sisters at birth, and while Estonians and Hungarians took a southern turn, we got stuck here in the North.

How does it sound like? Ask me to demonstrate one more time ("Just say anything!") and you can be sure the example I'll give you is something sort of hääyöaie or tunturikyyhky (for some reason deemed incredibly hard by my quebecois friends).


4. "What do you know about problems, you're from Finland..."

As a postgraduate in conflict studies and international politics I've noticed not everyone is aware of the complexity of Finnish history. On our last Independence Day I posted a short message on Facebook congratulating my tiny little homeland, took the bus to the campus and walked to my seminar. One of my colleagues had noted my status and wished me happy independence day. Everyone in the room fell silent and looked slightly confused until someone finally asked: "Wait... Independent... from who?"

Finland is your fairytale come true - a Cinderella rising from poverty, war and famine to the promised land of Angry Birds it is today, and it's true we're doing incredibly well nowadays. It doesn't mean we haven't had issues. It doesn't mean we don't have any issues. The fact that you mostly hear Finns complain about the lack of proficient heating in their apartment abroad doesn't mean it's the biggest problem their delicate Finnish skin has ever heard of.


5. "Finland? Hey, I have a friend from Sweden called ____! Do you know him?"

Yes, Björn Persson, of course I know him. He's a cousin from my mother's side.

No, I don't know your Scandinavian friends. We're quite a few million people in there, with a few borders and language barriers in between.

Finnish Food


6. "Norway, Sweden, Finland... What's the difference?"

Say that one more time and I'll show you why Finns are always depicted with a knife in their hand.

... Just kidding. There's a point in there though - you wouldn't say "Germany, France, Spain - what's the difference?" to a guy from Madrid. Despite us all being from northern Europe, our cultures have their own really distinctive features, the languages vary and the history of each country is very different. We don't even eat the same things: Finns have their mämmi, Swedes have their surströmming and Norwegians have... whatever it is that they eat. Don't even get me started with Danes. They can't even understand each other sometimes.


7. "You must really enjoy this summery weather seeing you don't have summer that up in the north."

Why yes thank you, see, in Finland we live in eternal darkness and this is the first time I've laid my eyes upon something so bright.

... Come on. Even Iceland has its summer! Stop with the polar bears and penguins. Finland might be in the northern Europe, but that doesn't mean we're still living in the Ice Age. Our summers are usually between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius (sometimes even 30!) so thank you for being concerned about my vitamin D intake, but believe me, I'm doing just fine.


8. "Can you introduce me to one of your Finnish friends? All Finnish girls are so blond and beautiful."

I refuse to introduce any of my lovely Finnish gals to anyone who doesn't know a thing about Finland. How would you know to appreciate their incredible stubbornness and blatantly straightforward way of stating their opinion?

Yes, some of us are blond, but I'd like to remind you we're not talking about that weirdly culturally stereotyping adult film about Swedish sluts having fun in the sauna you probably inspired yourself from - we're talking about 5,5 million people. We come in all shapes, sizes and colours.


9. "I'm not gonna hug you, I know how jealous of your personal space you Finns are."

Thank you for leaving me without love and affection to protect my national pride.

More seriously though, we're all different. It's true we're most likely not going to jump to your warm embrace of kisses and back rubs unless we've lived in such a culture for some time. We might even need some guidance with such gestures at first. But as someone who's been bootcamped with this stuff for three years now I can assure you I'm almost prepared to reach out for the hug now. Almost.


10. "You must be so amazed by all this freedom since you come from a communist country." 

I don't even know what to say to you.

I admit, I have been amazed by the variety of brands in Canada in the past. It's true we don't have that many international chain stores and restaurants in Finland. It's true I've probably looked really confused while listening to you blabbering about Lucky Charms because I have no idea what the hell that is.

But last time I checked, it was referred to as "nordic welfare system", not communism. Sorry if our high taxation rate insulted your freedom.

What kind of weird stereotypes of your home country have you heard of? Do you ever wish you didn't have to reveal where you're from all the time? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Love, Melissa

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51 comments:

  1. Communist country actually pretty much nails it. And this from a Finnish expat.

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    1. Haha, I guess we can all have our interpretations of that. :D

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  2. Hahah I can soooooo relate to pretty much all of these :D (except the fact that Finland is 'doing incredibly well nowadays' as we are the slowest growing and weakest economy in the eurozone after Italy. Source: http://yle.fi/uutiset/3-9456857 - but ofc I totally agree that safest, least corrupted etc make the country top one in many meters).

    I study in Malaysia and you can very easily tell the (weak) educational system has kind of skipped Europe in here as when answering to a question "where are you from" you'll shoot your "I'm from Finland", all you hear is *crickets*. They have absolutely no idea here what an earth that country is or where could it be located.

    That's why I've started to answer "I'm from Finland, which is in Europe" and have already received relieved answers like "oh, so from Paris!" (!!?!) Um.. sure that's in Europe but Really wtf...? One girl also proudly told me "I have been to Europe you know - you have so nice mountains there". I wanted to ask where, but I just knew it was easier to just say "Thank you, yes we have many countries with beautiful mountains in Europe" (as in Asia you are supposed to feed the right answers so the opponent doesn't get confused or look stupid. This way only you know that they have no idea what they are talking about).

    Also many people (including two of my professors which might tell it all) have asked me "is Finland the CAPITAL of Scandinavia" (and after gently hinting that Finland is a country in itself and Scandinavia is actually a region, also "can you please tell the countries of Scandinavia as I don't remember more than Finland and Switcherland, which else?").

    Like I mean that for everyone who has ever lived in Asia this would be a total nightmare as you are never in any circumstances supposed to put anyone in a situation where they could loose their face and countries in Asia have a HUGE power distance where authorities are fawned so putting your educator in a 'face looking situation' is a total massacre for your grades as there is no way out of it gracefully.. believe me I know as I've had to do it. Twice. (Like "sir, what you probably meant was..")

    We are currently in Thailand for the weekend and I have to admit that I still prefer explaining Finland to people more than this other end where seller staff tells you on the streets "terve, terve - huva perse" xD

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    1. Haha..all you hear is "crickets" I love it! My parents and my brothers were from Finland. So I call myself 100%Finn, even though I was born in America..and proud of my heritage. I always get asked crazy questions like, this one has been asked of me, everyday practically.."Why do you have 2 ""I's" in your name? Is it a mistake? How do you say it? Umm why is your name Shakira? Is THAT a mistake? Do they call you Shak for short? Lol
      Many, many questions..yes we all went naked in the Sauna...wooooo..yes we are weirdos!
      Why are you talking to me and ruining my quiet time haha thanks for sharing everyone ❤️❤️❤️

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    2. Merica, that's really fascinating! It must really require some skill and practice to socially navigate in a culture like that. I have never been to Asia myself so I'd probably be absolutely hopeless. In Canada I got used to being referred to as Europeans ("Well you Europeans prefer soccer over ice hockey anyway") but I don't often run into people with a very limited knowledge of the location of Finland. And I must say I also prefer people around me not knowing ANYTHING about Finland than those few phrases being shouted at me on the street ("tere tere mita kulu?") in popular Finnish tourist traps! :D

      Liisa, it's true that sauna always raises a lot of questions abroad! And the general quietness of Finns might also be difficult to figure out sometimes. :) Must be an interesting experience to have been born in a country different to your parents!

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    3. Fantastic to hear that someone is struggling with the same questions!! Especially with the name Liisa, how annoying is that...😬
      I find it annoying when I'm being introduced as a Finnish girl all the time. I live in Ireland for my first year and every time someone from here is introducing me to someone else, it is "this is Liisa, she's from Finland".
      Even the person would mean well, I just continue in my head "..so if she's a bit weird, it is just because she's Finnish"
      Why can't I just be Liisa? Without a Finnish label? :D

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    4. Liisa, I totally get what you mean! It's frustrating at times alright. :D I think what it actually tries to do is to give the person a context, "she's not a native English-speaker and comes from northern Europe", but it's true it sounds like an excuse for anything you might screw up later in the conversation. :D I have an Irish friend who constantly uses my Nordicness as a reason for my actions: "of course you have alcohol at home, you're from FINLAND". Bleh!

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    5. Always be proud of your Finnish heritage! I come from a line of Finns that are totally self sufficient. I take pride in that! Us Finns are not quitters, SISU to the end! Dont get me wrong, I am an American first, but I am extremely proud of my Finnish heritage!

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  3. Well, most typical issue on Australia is that people never understands when we complain it is too cold inside the house on cool time of the year. We have to tell them we have good isolation in Finland and warm houses, even it can be -20C outside. Typically they know nothing about Finland, maybe only that it is cold there and maybe they can name a formula driver.
    In Asia they have no idea of where is Finland and what language do we speak. Usually they hear first "Oh, from England..."
    Once we were amazed when one Indonesian guy said "ärrän kierrän orren ympäri". Some Finnish tourist told him to learn that ;)
    And in Chile few guys could name more Finnish heavy metal bands than we.

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    1. Hahahaha in Chile we love Finnish heavy metal bands.

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    2. Not just chile, in whole latin america we love Finnish metal bands.

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    3. Minttu, that "oh, from England" has happened to me SO MANY TIMES! It's crazy! I guess I need to start articulating more clearly. :D And I totally feel you in the heating issue, it's the exact same thing in Ireland - houses are not very well insulated and we might have +14 inside during winter. Requires a few extra blankets for me to sleep comfortably in that temperature.

      Eella & Yessica, you guys are definitely right! I have a Colombian professor in my department and he immediately shared his love for Finnish punk bands when he found out where I'm from. I was so surprised, I had no idea Finnish music is so popular in there!

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  4. Well, coming from Switzerland , I have to explain over and over again that no, I don't live on top of a mountain and no, I don't only eat cheese fondue and chocolate.
    Also, Americans somehow think Switzerland and Sweden are identical where I need to say that unfortunately, we did not invent Ikea or Volvo.
    "Oh, so you must be incredible at tennis?" Umm, yes we have 2 of the best tennis players with Federer and Wawrinka, which makes 2 people out of 7 million inhabitants but I can barely hold a racket.
    "Wow are you really rich?" NO!!! NO and NO!! I hate this one! I'm a student, I still live with my parents because I can't afford moving out and our banks might be rich, but that doesn't mean the people are. Two different things!

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    1. Hahaha oh no Valérie! "Are you really rich?", what a question to ask someone! I've also noted the mix up happening between Sweden and Switzerland quite often. We definitely should hear more about Switzerland globally speaking, it looks like such a stunning country. I bet it's much more than just mountains, chocolate and tennis. :D

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  5. Hah, communist country! In fact I had never heard that one :D Then again maybe you have been spared of (in my opinion) the most hurtful stereotype of us Finns spending all our time in drunken stupor. In countries where Finns tend to go on boozy holidays in large herds this is always the first thing I hear when I say I'm from Finland. "Would you like some vodka for breakfast?" never seemed like a funny joke to me. Oh well, it only hurts cos it's true, I suppose...

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    1. I've only heard the communist thing in North America, I guess the nordic taxation system isn't that popular amongst everyone in there. :D But that's an excellent point, it's true I haven't run into the drunken stereotype that often and the reason might very well lie in what you just mentioned. I remember a few occasions where someone might've joked about me drinking vodka instead of water after workout, but that's all. I can imagine the reception is completely different in countries with popular holiday destinations amongst Finns.

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  6. Sounds familiar :') I've moved from Dublin to Finland & even I get asked some of these things when I'm home xD Even though my Swedish-speaking boyfriend has explained approximately 100 times about the language situation, it still never sinks in

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    1. Haha, I can imagine! :D You're now one of our Finnish ambassadors spreading knowledge across lands. The language situation really seems a bit tricky for some to understand, I've noted the same. Even after mentioning many times within a conversation Finnish and Swedish etc. are nothing alike, I still get asked "But... you still kind of understand each other, right?" I mean yea, I WISH, would be great but... :D

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  7. I am german and I am very sad that most people from other countries think Germany is another word for Bavaria, and everything in Germany is decorated blue-white and we only eat Pretzel and "Sauerkraut". Come on, Bavaria is just a little part of Germany, you feel like someone says that all Finns own a reindeer and live next to Joulupukki..... ;-) So. No. Germany is so much more than that Bavarian coulture (thank God for that!). I don´t know much about Finland, but in the end we are all the same: we are human. Greets from Germany (not Bavaria) - Silvia

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    1. I'm increasingly convinced that Bavaria serves much the same role in Germany as Texas does in the United States. They overwhelmingly dominate the stereotypes that outsiders have about their respective countries, and neither has fully accepted the fact that they're no longer an independent country.

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    2. You two are absolutely right! I have a friend from Bavaria and another one from southern Germany, and at first I was really confused as to why the Bavarian one always told everyone "I'm from Bavaria, not Germany". Now that I'm much more informed, I understand the dynamic in there. It's true that the Bavarian stereotype seems to be the general German stereotype too, even if there's a huge difference compared to north and south Germany. Same goes with the USA - I've never been to Texas, but I can still really confidently say that my experience of Vermont was probably far from the average Texan experience. :D

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  8. Since I lived in Finland, I have realized that in my country there are many, maybe too many stereotypes. I like Finland very much precisely for the Finns, for being as they are. Straight, and honest. I have had to learn to express myself frankly and directly so that the Finns can understand me. We Latinos are going through the branches and we are experts in making ourselves excuses. Which does not happen in Finland. I had to reinvent myself in Finland. I do not want to say that I do not have my principles, but to live in Finland is not enough to have good principles ......, you have to be perfect! I love Finland despite its taxes!

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    1. Maria, that's incredibly well said - "I had to reinvent myself in Finland" - I love it! I feel the exact same in Ireland. The dynamic between people, the way they express things and how they choose not to express certain things. The small talk, the banter. It's been a true self exploration journey to try and adapt to a culture that sometimes works so differently to your own. I'm glad you've found yourself at home in Finland - despite the taxes! ;)

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  9. Having lived in canada for 27 years I still get asked where I'm from almost every day. It is definitely the most frustrating part of living abroad. That and my name getting butchered in 10 different ways. It will never go away..

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    1. I feel you. Sometimes I wish it'd be possible to turn off the immigrant switch and just be one of the locals for a day. Not always having to explain your whereabouts and entire life story. And I definitely relate to your name issue too - my last name is Syvänen, and just last week I was talking about it with my Irish physiotherapist. She said that if it wasn't for my advice on the correct pronunciation, she'd call me "Saivanen". :D I've also been Ivan(?!) at times. Names are always hard to carry across cultures!

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  10. When I first moved to England in mid 1960's the questions were rather comical: Do you live in an iglu? How many reindeer does your father have? (I wondered if he was about to propose) and funniest was 'How do you manage to stay awake all summer when you have no nights?' So people did know - roughly - where Finland was, but had weird ideas about our way of life.

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    1. Haha, wow! That reminds me of a story I heard from my father once - they were filming a movie by the harbour in Helsinki, wearing the gear of a classic ancient Roman soldier with spears and armour, when a foreign cruise ship docked nearby. As the tourists poured out they approached the film crew in their Roman gear and asked if they were the local police force. :D

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  11. Well, I think all countries have a lot of streotypes,in my case well, Im from Mexico and sadley the rest of the wolrd see us under a cactus, with a big poncho and a tequila bottle beside us, or even worst like a drug dealer or Narco. So I say stop or sterotypes please!! :)

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    1. Yep, every country definitely gets their fair share of stereotypes! It's just that I'm from Finland, so it's the only set of stereotypes I can properly write about. :) I'd love to visit Mexico one day!

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  12. I actually know Björn Persson from Sweden 😊

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    1. No way! Amazing! :D And here I was, just trying to pick a random name from the top of my hat....

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  13. sounds like self created stereoetypes for self esteem purposes

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    1. Haha yeah, I guess you could say Finland's national self esteem is pretty low sometimes. :D But I can assure you these are all pretty common, confirmed by all those tens and tens of Finns who have commented on this post and shared their experiences all over social media.

      (In case you're referring to my personal self esteem, don't you worry, my confidence is not tied to my native soil)

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  14. The story and comments crack me UP! I've dealt with all of the above in different ways. There are no limits to ignorance. But, it really doesn't bother me all that much anymore.
    Also, having lived in US for over 20 years now, I still struggle to learn to be more diplomatic with my straightforwardness. Maybe especially in the western USA people are lovely and friendly, but they hardly mean what they say, or feel what they express. They are much more prone to flattery in their everyday interactions, especially with strangers. I've found this to be two faced, but it is probably considered to be proper in this culture. I am sure I will never quite become fluent in that type of communications, but I've learned to take some kind of middle of the road.
    More people should travel the world more extensively, so they could break loose from their stereotypes. I am sure I have lot of ignorance about some other cultures or parts of the world as well.

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    1. This is something I love about blogging - we get to share our experiences and thoughts about travel and all the people we meet on the way! I definitely understand what you're saying about the way people in the western USA might express themselves at times. This has in general been a bit of a challenge for me too, especially since I've only lived abroad for 3 years. :) I take people too seriously at times - when someone tells me "we should definitely go and grab a lunch sometime!" I sincerely believe that's what they want to do instead of just being friendly. Been to a few very awkward situations like that...

      You're right about the importance of travel in expanding your understanding of the world - when given the chance, it's definitely worth going! I'm also very aware of my own ignorance and stereotypes. Luckily it's always possible to change your opinion when given more information. :)

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  15. I am first Generation Canadian. I grew up in a predominantly Italian / Portuguese neighbourhood. As a kid, I had to tell my friends to wait outside for a minute so I could 1) make sure mom had clothes on and 2) open the sauna door (because mom, as an artist, painted a naked lady on the sauna door). Good times kaisa Soini

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    1. What a funny story from your childhood Katherine! I can only imagine how much confusion that must've caused amongst your friends at times.

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  16. My Father's parents were Finnish immigrants to US in the early 20th century. My father grew up in a Finnish American community and didn't learn English until 1st grade, so even though my father grew up in the US, he grew up Finnish. I frequently end up telling people I'm Finnish Am due to being asked how to say my last name. I teach them to roll their tongue while saying 'How r u' and of course they invariably say 'I'm fine, how are you' before asking what ethnic group I'm from. A few have guessed Japanese, hesitantly,since I'm obviously a blond blue-eyed white woman, because Hariu is also a Japanese name,but maybe they think I'm married to a Japanese gentleman. Someone here said Finnish women are independent and stubborn...I definitely inherited those traits. ��Although married I've always kept my birth name, one because I'm a feminist but even more because I love my last name and Finnish heritage. During WW2 my Dad applied for a job in LA,sending his resume ahead of his interview. They thought my Dad was Japanese Am based on our last name and had no intention of hiring him...then in walks this blond blue eyed man who they offered the job to after the interview. They also told my Dad laughingly that as three white men to another white man (my Dad), they thought he was Japanese Am (remember this is WW2 were Japanese Am were treated horribly, including being rounded up and sent to camps)...anyway, once my Dad heard the confession, he told them to take their job and shove it where the sun don't shine. My Dad had sisu!! Anyway, I haven't run across most of the items on the list of things Finns are tired of hearing. I know my non-Finnish Mother use to call my Dad a cold-ass Finn when she was mad at him! Many people I've talked to have either never heard of Finland or have no idea where it is or anything about it, so no stereotypes from them. The stereotype I usually run into when someone does have some idea where Finland is, is that it's part of Scandinavia...I've even had a few argue with me, even after I explain that while Finland is a Nordic European country, it is not part of Scandinavia like Sweden, Norway and Denmark.

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    1. Wow Sidra, what a wonderful story! I'm amazed by how your dad had the courage to stand up to those people back in the day. I'm really interested in the Finnish emigration to United States and love to hear these stories - I actually even wanted to do my postgraduate thesis about it, but due to lack of resources went for Russian migrants in Ireland instead.

      That Scandinavia discussion I've had with people many times. I understand it's hard for people to make the difference sometimes, but I still want to inform everyone about the distinction between those regions. :) Thanks for the wonderful comment!

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  17. you know, I already answer the same question "where you are from?" hundreds times during the first three years in Finland, and most of the times, it is the only question and conversation between me and Finns. :D

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    1. I definitely know what you're talking about - Finns really don't know how to small talk. :D I think "where are you from?" is everyone's favourite question when they encounter someone from a different background. People are curious.

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  18. So let`s go and ask at the streets of Helsinki about the names and locations of states in USA.
    I guess nobody can place them where they belong. Missouri...krhm...is it near the Mississippi?
    Or let´s ask here - in a local deli someone to place Guatemala on the map. Does not happen...
    Go and ask here in Finland - what do You know about Indonesia...silence.
    Ireland...beer???
    Germany...ummm BMW?
    USA...uh cowboys?
    -
    Though we are said to have the best school system in the world - it means very little. In USA kids learn how to argument and have a conversation, here...none. It`s much more important to have the ability to talk..
    I am a photojournalist and did shoot about 9000 interviews in Finland. Some people talk for sure. But most of them keep very quiet.
    -
    And we should remember that Finland is veeery racist, honestly. We did invent concentration camps in 1917, when we had the most bloody civil war per capita in the world.
    When I was working abroad in 47 countries I just said I´m working for AP or UPI and I´m supposed to be a human being. Nationalism is the cancer of the world.
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    Post scriptum:
    I did some wars in middle east. So the first lesson was. Never say "I´m from Finland", cause it sounds like England. Pronounce the french way [FÄÄNLAND] with two ae:s. Otherwise they shoot You.

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    1. Jore, let's chill for a moment. :) This post is obviously sarcastic, humorous, tongue-in-cheek kind of writing about funny little encounters Finns abroad sometimes face. The intention was never to imply there is some kind of power dynamic between cultures - that people elsewhere should know more about Finland and not doing so is somehow shameful and might result in me stabbing you (#6). I'm a Finn though, so can't write about the experiences of anyone else. There is no hidden, social or political message in this post trying to state that the rest of the world is stupid for not knowing more about Finland - although I must say I feel slightly sorry for any westerner who can't say anything else about Ireland, Germany and USA than beer, BMW and cowboys. If you want to dig up some more serious "core message" behind this post, I guess you could say it's about boundaries: "if you're not entirely sure the thing you're about to state about the background or culture of the person standing in front of you, it's better to ask politely than assume and state it as a fact". In other words, if you're not entirely convinced Finland has eternal winter or all Americans are cowboys, it might be better to ask and get corrected than state so. In more serious cases it can get hurtful - "Wow, you Irish sure drink a lot, right!" ignores a large-scale social problem behind that stereotype.

      You're definitely right about the education in Finland, and I agree with you. That's why I'm studying abroad: I think the way my current education values discussion, debate and exchange of opinions offers me a much larger set of skills useful in life. I wish the Finnish education system would put more emphasis on developing students' communication skills, especially verbal ones. That's also something I always share with people asking number #2 - Finnish education is not perfect.

      I don't recall talking about racism in this post. I agree with you though, Finland has a lot to learn from the rest of the world - I'm not a fan of the whole concept of nation states or believe in the idea that there is some kind of homogenous, fixed set of cultural traits common to every member of the community that would dominate over the more nuanced, hyphenated personal traits of a person. The whole idea behind stereotypes - that your personality or your own positioning in the world in relation to others is largely defined by an idea of what it means to be "Finnish", "Indonesian" or "Irish" - feels alien and tiring. The idea of stripping yourself from your individuality and becoming a sole representative of "Finnishness" is what bugs me, since all I'd like to be is me, a human. Nationalism is what makes us believe our own community and its assumed traits are universally judged as more valuable, which is of course ridiculous as an idea since positioning yourself as some kind of representative of the subject, "one culture" where the rest of the world is "other", the alien, is ignorant and reflects an imagined, inexistent power structure between cultures. Finland has a tendency to turn inwards, which easily feeds this sort of ideas.

      Post scriptum:
      I haven't been to a war in Middle East. What I've done though, is to spend long enough time away from my community of origin to re-evaluate my position in relation to it. The whole idea behind stereotypes - that your cultural origin defines you as a human - gets tiring. "Where are you from?" sometimes becomes a question of trying assume and make sense of someone unfamiliar. I wish there'd be a way to have a symbolic off-switch for stereotypes!
      P.P.S. I know what you mean. After a while in Québec I stopped saying "Finland", and said "Finn" instead. They're not a fan of the British there.

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  19. Jore, let's chill for a moment. :)
    --------
    I´m 65. Too old to chill anymore cause days are coming to an end soon. So no time to chill here..
    When I write ( about this anus mundi) - I try to be honest and show the other side, the sad side of things.

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    1. I find it fascinating how you decided to quote that one sentence from my response to you that had no real content, and concentrate your next argument solely around it. I think it tells me enough about your (obviously trolling) motives. Enjoy your day. :)

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  20. There is nothing wrong with nationalism. Can it be taken to the extreme? Yes, but cannot everything in life. Nationalism to most, is simply being proud of the place you come from. If people did not have that pride what would bond those people together? It is no different than a group of people liking a certain sports team. Is it wrong to love one team over another?

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  21. I am Finn and traveled abroad a lot. Also lived in Thailand more than seven years. I have never heard any of those questions. When people want to ask about Finland or Finnish people they normally ask about the endless days during summertime or drinking habits concerning vodka. Then there will be Santa Claus and some famous Finnish athletes next. Some people might know also about the war against Soviet Union. Nobody thinks that there are polar bears or penguins in Finland because they know that those live totally different parts in globe. So please don´t make stories like this without any knowledge.

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    1. I have been to 25 countries myself, and lived as a legal immigrant in 3. Our experiences seem to be rather different, but it of course doesn't show a lack of "knowledge" on my part - just that what we have encountered during our travels and lives as expats are different. Questions posed to you might be different to mine depending on what kind of environment you usually are in - say, a workplace, locations of travel and so on. Our experiences are still both equally valid, since there is no "right" or "wrong" in one's experiences as a Finn living abroad. :)

      P.S. I just have to point out that there are no polar bears or penguins mentioned in this blog post.

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  22. Unfortunately, the 25+ degrees during summer time in Finland is the past. Especially, I think the temperature never reached 25 this summer, probably it was 22-23 in a few days. Finnish summers are getting more and more rainy and cold over the years and winters without much snow.

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    1. It's a very sad development we see there. I miss my childhood winters when you could be sure there'd be snow at Christmas. Finland still beats in Ireland in its seasonal changes though - the temperature has been the same +15 from April all the way to October in here. :D

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  23. Just nii! Ja ajattele, kun on ollut USA:ssa kohta 50-vuotta, niin alkaa vitsit olla välillä vähissä, mutta kauniisti ääneen kuitenkin muistan kehua ja mainostaa. Vaikka en blondi olekaan, kas me itäsuomalaiset...Muuten tietääkseni vaaditaan vähintään 6% ruotsia äidinkielenään puhuvia, että se pysyy toisena kotimaisena. Joten eiköhän sillä kouluruotsilla vielä pärjää. P.S. Tämä postauksesi pöllähti esiin ja luin mielenkiinnolla. Samassa veneessä ollaan. Hauskaa aurinkoista syksyä!

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