This past summer, I went to Finland for five weeks. The trip was a life-changing event. While over there, I stayed with a family friend. This was my first time to stay in a foreign country and I was extremely nervous. Upon arriving at the Helsinki Airport, I peered out the window and could not believe my eyes. The beautiful surroundings nearly left me breathless.
At first glance, there were no hanging electrical wires, everything was underground. Imagine not having to worry about losing your power due to car accidents or lightening. Another interesting observation is the vehicles. Rarely would one see SUVs or trucks, which was completely different, from the United States. Due to the high prices of gas, nearly seven United States dollars per gallon and the import prices, most cars were small.
Once we arrived at their house, I took a quick tour. Although, their house was nice it was much smaller than an average house in the United States. When I observed the population, I learned that the Finnish people were very modest and do not like to be interrupted. They respect their privacy. Their culture is more diverse because they have two languages that have been blended: Finnish and Swedish. In addition, all students must learn English. Although a challenge, the knowledge of three languages is great for global communication.
Finland was established around 1249. Buildings are centuries old and many date back to the twelfth century. It is amazing that these buildings are still in operation today. Castles are found throughout the country and are truly wondrous sites.
The language barrier was made easier because my family friend was an exchange student and lived in the United States for about seven years. However, it was not always smooth sailing. I recall my first night when I kept asking for a glass of water, but after several attempts and a little show-and-tell, I was able to get my point across. Later, they told me I was asking for an airplane. Oops!
I feel privileged that I had a chance to go to Finland this past summer and learn about their culture and the difference from life in the United States. Overall, I have learned that it is the little things in life that make a difference. It doesn’t matter what nationality you are or where you are from, it is who you are that matters. I have a whole new view on life from my trip to Finland. It was a great experience and I cannot wait to go back. My journey to Finland was simply amazing!
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