Talking, laughing and eating biscuits

An interview with one of Learnia’s students

Hi! Tell us about yourself.

Moikka, I’m Liisa. I’m from Moscow, Russia. I have lived in Finland for three years. I studied in Jyväskylä and graduated last year. Now I live in Helsinki and work at a small recruitment company. I have studied Finnish for three years now. First I took courses at the university, then I learnt it by picking up what people say, and recently I have learnt it at Learnia and at the adult education centre in Helsinki.

How did you learn Finnish in Learnia’s course?

I attended Learnia’s Experiential Finnish Talk 2 this winter. The group was small and we met once a week. We talked a lot, laughed and ate biscuits. Our teacher didn’t talk much; the point was that we, the students talked the most. We played games and discussed the politics, food and holidays. The atmosphere was really relaxed.

What did you like the best about the course?

One exercise I enjoyed the most. We were given job offers from and we had to call and ask – in FINNISH – about the jobs. It was a bit terrifying but great. I also won chocolate as I was the most hardworking student!

Why did you decide to choose Learnia? Were the courses here different from the others?

I met Taija in the autumn when we were working in the same building. So when I thought of attending a course, the answer was just right there. I think that Learnia’s course helps the most when you want to start speaking Finnish. The other courses teach the grammar, reading or talking about squirrels or sauna but they don’t get you familiarised with any of the important everyday topics. If you want to learn those things, go to Learnia!

What do you think about the Finnish language? What do you find easy and difficult in it?

Everything in Finnish is hard in my opinion. My weakest point is grammar as I don’t remember all the rules. But in the end it’s not the most important thing, I just want to speak the language. It’s important that people understand me. That was actually another problem – it took me almost two years to break that language barrier because the spoken language is so much different from the written one. The Finns don’t know how to speak to foreigners. They always start out slowly but at the end they speak too fast and in their own slang. And here comes the Helsinki slang to learn: duuni, steissi, fillari, and so on…

Have you ever had any funny experience when speaking Finnish?

I remember when I once wanted to say that I was at my grandmother’s (mummolassa). Instead, I said that I was in my grandmother (mummossa). Everyone laughed but didn’t say why. That was embarrassing!


The student’s name was changed.


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