”Don’t shoot yourself in the foot”

Interview 21.2.2013, Yulia Smolyakova

Yulia has lived in Finland for about three years now. She has studied the basics of Finnish and speaks the language every now and then. Unfortunately, since it is possible to get by in Finland by speaking English, she has ended up neglecting her Finnish training.

Yulia took part in a Learnia’s Experiential Finnish 1 (LEF1) course, which turned into a LEF1+ course due to the high competence level of the partakers. The course program was modified to partially correspond to both level 1 and level 2 course contents. The course included grammar lessons via the Internet and live discussion sessions. During the course, the participants practiced asking for directions, visiting a doctor, making an appointment for the presentation of an apartment, and various other situations.

Yulia is happy for the fact that the course placed her in various ”stressful situations” she had to handle speaking Finnish only. Her course experiences encouraged her to take part in a Finnish cooking course, and to speak Finnish with her colleagues during lunch breaks at work. Moreover, she has paid visits to laundries etc. and spoken Finnish only, which is something that she hasn’t dared to do before.

The course has led Yulia to realize that she has already learnt a lot of Finnish words during her time in Finland, but if she doesn’t use them on a daily basis in every-day situations, she won’t be able to remember them when speaking Finnish. She says you should never “shoot yourself in the foot” by letting your conversation partner switch to English when things get tough; instead, you should always just carry on with the conversation in Finnish.

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