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thisisFINLAND

Life & society

21 x Finland

By FCP participants on fcp.finland.fi, Jenita Cresswell
Photos: FCP participants

Foreign correspondents' programme 2015
thisisFINLAND Foreign Correspondents’ Programme 2015.

Young journalists from all over the world gathered together for thisisFINLAND Foreign Correspondents’ Programme in August. In their minds, Finland is a land of quiet coffee drinkers and a good place to be a woman. What else? This is Finland times 21…

1. Pioneer in gender equality

Finland got 21 new fans through the Foreign Correspondents' Programme 2015.
Finland got 21 new fans through the Foreign Correspondents' Programme 2015.

“Finland was the first country in the world to give women full political rights!”
Yohannie Linggasari, Indonesia

2. Best place to be a mother

“97% of Finnish mothers use the public health services during their pregnancy. Mothers also receive a maternity package, which includes all the important items for the baby’s first months – for free – or they can choose to take a 140 euro bonus.”
Mayra Zepeda, Mexico

3. Place for innovation

“From Nokia to Angry Birds, Finland is best represented by ICT, the game industry, as well as arts and design. For over a hundred years, the country has invested huge amounts of money in people and it has been worth it.”
Tongxin Qian, China

4. The least corrupted country in the world

“Finland has the least corrupted government in the world.”
Rana Khaled Abo El Fotoh, Egypt

5. Problem solving mindset

“Because of the very genuine problem solving mindset, Finland has successfully tackled a lot of challenges with waste, health, the environment, education, and urban design. Do the lessons cross over? Can we even adapt some of the solutions that Finland has found for USA, a nation that’s 60 times the size of Finland?”
Esha Chhabra, USA

6. Calm neighbour

“Finland has stayed calm despite “tectonic” political and economic changes in Russia, the closest eastern neighbour. Finland has taken an approach that Russia, Finland as well as the other neighbouring countries should be deeply interested in developments in the Baltic Sea region, not in building fences and barriers on the borders.”
Artem Filatov, Russian Federation

7. Free press

“Finland is known worldwide for the freedom of its press, which is admirable.”
Özüm Örs, Turkey

8. A place for public peace

“Finland is a tranquil country. On Helsinki’s streets, rush hour is almost non-existent and on a relaxed Sunday afternoon it is so quiet that you could almost hear a pin drop at the other end of the city.”
Michael Ertl, United Kingdom

9. Nordic welfare

“Finland, among the other Scandinavian countries, has successfully implemented the Nordic model; a combination of free market economy and welfare state and that has led to general prosperity, eradication of poverty and the superiority of people’s freedom and liberties in Northern Europe.”
Oleksandr Guzenko, Ukraine

10. Gender equality

“Gender equality shows in Finland in different ways. Men take part in housework which is considered as a woman’s job in Kazakhstan. My own family would want to see me married as soon as possible whereas in Finland my host family’s dad told me I have a lot of time, because I’m still young. According to the standards of Kazakh society, I might have missed my chance of becoming a happy wife and mother already.”
Sabina Serikova, Kazakhstan

11. Fascinating culture

“Finland has a very interesting culture. The first thing I can distinctly remember enjoying was Hel Looks – a wonderful street fashion blog that captures the most original dressers from Helsinki. Then came the Finnish music, the design and the architecture…”
Martyna Trykozko, Poland

12. The nation of underestimators

“Finns are really good at underrating themselves and focus on what has to be improved instead of being proud of their success. We heard that the Finns have been doubtful and cautious for a long time but that they are now more optimistic than they’ve ever been before, and they have a reason to be. The industry has never been easy and even when people look longingly back to the golden days: Economics are changing everywhere. And Finland isn’t afraid of facing that.”
Fabienne Kinzelmann, Germany

13. Everyday design

During the programme, FCP participants visited several Finnish companies. At Marimekko Artem Filatov from Russia among others saw how world famous patterns are printed.
During the programme, FCP participants visited several Finnish companies. At Marimekko Artem Filatov from Russia among others saw how world famous patterns are printed.

“Finnish national design is known for its clear and pure shapes, honesty in the materials, functionality and widespread availability. Well-designed Finnish products can be found in regular supermarkets all across the country. These products might be expensive in the eyes of a foreign customer, but they are meant to last for years, even being passed on through generations.”
Oriol Salvador Vilella, Spain

14. No chit chat

“We don’t talk to strangers in Norway, unless we meet them in the middle of nowhere or in the mountains while hiking, skiing or bicycling. We don’t sit down next to someone we don’t know on the bus, even though the seat is available. The same goes with Finland. There’s no need for chit chatting.”
Petter Brønstad, Norway

15. Education is rigorous fun for Finns

“I got my first answer even without asking. ‘We are very good at reading! People here learn to read even before they go to school,’ a young Finn told me. To me, it seems like a reasonable answer and also a very good explanation of what makes education in Finland as good as it is. Every time I really had the chance to talk to someone, I found myself around curious people who were genuinely interested in developing conversations on complex topics.”
Bruna Passos Amaral, Brazil

16. Happy school kids

The world famous Finnish school system was experienced during the programme. The school year in Finland starts in the middle of August.
The world famous Finnish school system was experienced during the programme. The school year in Finland starts in the middle of August.

“Finland is getting famous in Korea not only for Xylitol and the Moomins but also for education. Finland is known as a country that is able to educate its people as brilliantly as Korea but with far more gentle methods. One could say that Korean education can literally ‘make’ people smart, but it tends not to care how to keep students happy.”
Yumi Jeung, Republic of Korea&

17. Punctual and law-abiding

“In my opinion the main difference between the Finns and Russians is in their punctuality and compliance with the laws. I’ve never met a Finn who is late, even if the meeting is informal.”
Yana Prussakova, Russian Federation

18. In symbiosis with nature

FCP participants found out that Finns are very attached to nature and love to exercise in the woods.
FCP participants found out that Finns are very attached to nature and love to exercise in the woods.

“The Finns are firmly connected with the nature of their country and appreciate that the world is responsible for giving them the resources we all need to live our daily lives. Finnish forests are an intrinsic part of their folklore, the native people of Finland having a strong connection with the world around them. In ancient history, when the Finns had to look for safety they would escape to the forest, not run away from it as you might expect. Helsinki is the only capital city which is surrounded by three national parks, meaning the importance of them cannot be overstated for the residents.”
Richard Morris, United Kingdom

19. Country of coffee consumers

“Finns drink a lot of coffee, so one of the things I was looking forward to, was sampling some good coffee. As Finns mainly drink pretty light blend, the coffee was not even closely as strong as I expected it to be. In Ethiopia, coffee basically means a strong, very dark espresso-like drink.”
Eskedar Kifle, Ethiopia

20. Weather managers

Fabienne, Mohammed, Yana, Yumi, Oleksandr, Rana and Richard all say they had the time of their lives in Finland. Many of them experienced not just Finland for the first time but also its food, the Finnish people and their manners - and of course sauna.
Fabienne, Mohammed, Yana, Yumi, Oleksandr, Rana and Richard all say they had the time of their lives in Finland. Many of them experienced not just Finland for the first time but also its food, the Finnish people and their manners - and of course sauna.

“Unlike in France, nothing in Finland stops as soon as five centimetres of snow fall on the ground. The country has an amazing fleet of seven icebreakers that can break through up to seven-meter thick ice. In Finland icebreakers are almost like national treasures, something to be proud of, just like baguette for French.”
Erwan Morice, France

21. Through a camera lens

This is Finland for real! See Mohammed Alfaraj’s film about thisisFINLAND Foreign Correspondents’ Programme 2015 at  https://youtu.be/u_hoCgIte58.
Mohammed Alfaraj, Saudi Arabia

thisisFINLAND Foreign Correspondents’ Programme

In 2015, thisisFINLAND Foreign Correspondents’ Programme was organised on 10-28 August. The programme is targeted for young international journalists, and has been administrated by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland since 1990.

The programme provides the journalists an excellent opportunity to learn more about Finland, Finnish society and the Finnish way of life. It includes briefings on various subjects, meetings with Finnish professionals and visits to business enterprises, cultural sites and institutions.

Link

thisisFINLAND Foreign Correspondents’ Programme

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