Saturday, 13 December 2014

I love Finland

Three years ago I met some people who became a really important part of my life. They were Erasmus students whilst I was in my first year of university. They both became my best friends and one of them is now my girlfriend. Since then, I have had the opportunity to travel to Finland three times and visit five different cities. I'm sure that the fact that I have a Scandinavian sweetheart who currently resides in Finland has influenced my adoration for this country. However, by experiencing the lifestyle and culture of the country through the perspective of a native I have learnt a huge amount about a country that I couldn't have pointed out on a map three years ago. As Christmas approaches and I get to see my lovely girlfriend in a week, Finland is on my mind and I've decided I want to share my love of most things Finnish. Here we go:


  • Space: Finland has a population of 5.439 million and an area of 338,424 km², so Finns certainly like their space! This is evident in housing, as most houses seem to be detached, although there are quite a few apartments. Students tend to live alone or in flats of 2 or 3 rather than being crammed into houses of 6 or more as we are in England! Sadly people also don't seem to like hugs that much.
  • Serenity: Lots of space and vast amounts of lakes and forests mean you can really get lost in nature and be at peace. You don't even have to go far from the city centre to find it.







  • Sustainability: Cycling is a norm and people are paid to recycle. After parties and festivals people actually go out onto the street and collect bottles and cans. They then take it to a local supermarket, where they usually receive between 20 and 40 cents per bottle or can. The best part is putting the can into a machine that carries it away on a conveyor belt!


I was scared of accidentally
recycling my phone when
taking this photo


Environmentally friendly shower
dispensers in a hotel


  • The welfare and education systems: Both are internationally recognised and one of the most comprehensive in the world. Education is free, which is one of the reasons why I'm considering migrating to do a masters! Levels of corruption are also really low.


Through studying International Development, I have
noticed that Finland tops the charts in many aspects


  • The Finnish Parliament finally approved same-sex marriage last month
  • I've never felt so Christmassy: There's lots of snow, wild reindeer, moose, wolves, bears and flying squirrels (which I have to yet to see) and Santa lives in Lapland!








  • English: Most people speak English and they speak it well. Finns know you'll probably never speak Finnish properly.
  • Wi-Fi: There is Wi-Fi pretty much everywhere! In airports, on trains and buses, in shopping centres and in restaurants. It doesn't have a time limit, it always works properly and it's usually free.
  • Beauty: Everyone seems to be so ridiculously attractive that they don't even need to worry about wearing ugly winter clothes to stay warm. I am biased.
  • Plenty of strange things to be discovered:


Smoked reindeer sandwich


Reindeer meatballs



I never realised dessert could be disgusting


Potty cocktail in Bar Bra



Don't think it is actually racist


It is now easier to pee with your BFF


I would love to live in Finland for a while, but I admittedly I would struggle to cope with the cold and the high cost of living! 




However, I do think the positives outweigh the negatives. Can I become a patriot of Finland?


I've got the patriot look


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