All posts by Petri Grönholm

About Petri Grönholm

Hey! I'm an International Business student originally from Kangasala, Finland. I have also lived in the US as a kid and in Brazil as an exchange student in high school. I am willing to work on my Portuguese language skills back to a better level and at the same time teach Finnish to my Each One Teach One partner. On my free time I like to do sports and go to avanto! :)

Board game café without playing board games

As the headline states, we went for our last meeting to Taverna, Finland’s first board game café (according to their marketing). Neither one of us had visited the place so it was an interesting experience. It was quite simple but the cool thing was the huge variety of board games they have. They have a couple great shelves full of them and it makes the look of the place pretty neat.

This being our last meeting, I could clearly notice the difference between this and the earlier meetings we have had. It seemed that towards the end of the course, our confidence in both Finnish and Portuguese has improved. That was of course one of our goals heading for this course and it’s nice we have gained so much from this. We might be more familiar now so it is easier to talk about more subjects without being afraid of mistakes but I believe we are now also more confident to use these languages with anyone.

The fact of understanding that both of us are in the same situation, makes it also easier to just let the pressure go, and speak freely. Being in the similar situation makes it easier to also relate to many situations and giving support is possible. It has been interesting to change roles, sometimes be the one speaking in the mother tongue and then again, be the “student” every now and then. Sometimes it is easy to say as the “teacher” that “yea, yeah, don’t worry about mistakes etc.” but when you speak, the same challenges occur. It is easier said than done.

I guess it is important to look at the other person’s point of view. Now I know that probably the native speaker does not mind at all about my little or even bigger language mistakes. He or she probably respects that I am trying and will ask if he or she does not understand something. This is at least how I feel when Renata or someone else non-native but still very well capable of speaking Finnish has a conversation with me. I shall now just bravely strike up a conversation in Portuguese and keep improving!

Same country, new culture.

We continued from last week and now headed to the restaurant, Hook. It was a nice summer evening so we could sit outside to eat, drink and talk. We talked mainly in Portuguese this meeting and saved Finnish for the last one.

We had both realized how such a small (/big) thing as sunshine and warmer weather can have a huge effect on the culture. It seems like another planet or at least country than it was a a couple months ago. There’s people everywhere, everyone has their own look and they’re outgoing. Where did these people come from? It seemed like just a while ago pretty much everyone seemed the same with similar dark winter clothes, everyone minding their own business and living their private lives. Now it’s different and I like the change!

I don’t know was it last week’s meeting or what but it felt awesome talking in Portuguese now. Maybe it was the fact that I had a long break since last time I spoke and now it was the second time in two weeks. Or perhaps addressing last time the fact that it’s okay to make mistakes made it a lot more relaxed and seemingly easy to go with the flow, and enjoy speaking in Portuguese. Whatever it is, I realized how cool the language is and how precious it is to know it. I’ll definitely keep on maintaining it even though this course is coming to an end.

We discussed also about the differences between Portuguese, Brazilian and Finnish people. I am going on exchange to Portugal and my assumption that Portuguese people are more formal than Brazilians got stronger as Renata thought that way as well. It is good to get more insight about the culture so that when I arrive, the possible culture shock is kept to the minimal and I can enjoy to the max!

We had also conversations about how the bill is paid in different countries. Here in Finland usually everyone pays for themselves but in Brazil it might be that one person offers the night or at least pays the bill and others pay him back more or less their part of the bill. Every country has it’s own ways to deal with different issues and things are not necessarily wrong, they are just different. I think this is important to keep in mind when visiting a new place and trying to adopt to a new way of living.

Mallashovi – Ice hockey and hanging out

We decided to go for a drink and relaxed chatting to bar Mallashovi for our eight meeting. Finland’s ice hockey game started also during our stay there and we watched the first period of it. Or well, I’m not sure if both of us were as interested in the game as I was 😀 I had actually never visited the place. I had heard many students and especially exchange students tend to go there due to its cheap prices so it was about time that I visited it as well!

It was interesting to speak in Finnish this time. I could tell that I am a lot more confident using it than Portuguese. That sounds obvious as being a native but I think the difference should not be that noticeable as we are both in this to learn and make mistakes. I believe the reason for not being as confident using Portuguese for me is that I know I have spoken it better in the past and I think that I should know it better now as well. Well, the only way to make it stronger again is by using it and these meetings is a perfect way to take a step towards mastering the language. This was nice, until the next time!

 

 

Summer is here – Kesä on täällä – O verão está aqui!

It was a long, long time since our last meeting (nearly a year) but I’m happy we were both willing to continue with this interesting course. Probably a scheduled weekly meeting would have been the best to get a nice routine but we can only learn from our experiences and change the future.

The sun was shining so we decided to go to the park, Koskenranta. There, we enjoyed the warm weather and relaxed atmosphere. We decided to talk mainly in Portuguese during this meeting and talk in Finnish during the following one. Renata had also brought her Brazilian friend with her so it was nice to get to know more Brazilians that live in Tampere. We even had a mutual friend so it was an interesting surprise.

I will be going for exchange to Portugal in Autumn so I had a lot of questions regarding the differences compared to Brazil. It was helpful to hear some basic information about the culture and also some Brazilian Portuguese words to avoid in Portugal as many of them have a different meaning 😀

We had an interesting time also pondering the origin of certain Finnish words such as Suomi and Tuomiokirkko. Even Google was not sure of the origin so the answer is left to our imagination. Rarely do I come to think about these kind of things so it was nice variation to daily habits.

Brazilian lunch #6

We had a typical Brazilian lunch for our sixth meeting. Renata had invited me and her Brazilian friend for lunch. As the theme was Brazilian for this meeting, we spoke mostly in Portuguese this time. It was not only the language and food that was the same as in Brazil but we also listened to Brazilian hit songs. I heard some cool new songs from Brazil and got a nice tip to follow top lists by country on Spotify. Now I’ve been listening to more Brazilian music and maintaining the language skills that way also a bit better.

Me, Renata and Cecília having a good time.

The Brazilians eat really similarly every lunch. It consists of rice, beans, meet and some vegetables. Even though it’s always pretty much the same, it’s delicious every time. Now that I realized the Brazilian food made here in Finland is delicious as well, I need to buy some time beans from the store and try if I can make as good food as my Brazilian friends.

 

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Rice, beans, meet and vegetables. Coca-cola is also a typical drink for lunch in Brazil.

Restaurant living room #5

 

For our fifth meeting we went once again to a new place, restaurant living room. We hadn’t met there before and it was actually a totally new place for me. It was a spacious place to meet and talk in peace as the place was pretty empty in the afternoon.

It was hard to stick to only our EOTO languages Finnish and Portuguese but we quickly changed from English when it happened. During our meeting we talked about the cold weather and what an international friend could experience while visiting Finland during the “summer”. It was still early summer and there were news that in Lapland a ski resort is opening a hill or two for some midnight skiing. That is something amazing even though a bit disappointing that the weathers had been so chilly still in June.

Going away from school really makes these meetings more relaxed and it makes speaking not only Portuguese but also Finnish more natural. I do not need to think as much what and how to speak but rather just speak normally. Also these different environments  make it easier to come up with new conversations as we are surrounded by food, art and so on. I hope we continue to manage meeting away from school in the future as well.

Lunch at Katmandu #4

After a long break we managed to meet up with Renata in June as the holidays had started. It was good that we went somewhere else than TAMK for the first time. This way it felt a lot more natural and fun to talk in both Finnish and Portuguese. It did not feel like we were forced to have a meeting and to talk about just something.

Katmandu was a new restaurant to me so it was nice experiencing something new. At the restaurant we talked about food, eating habits and summer plans. Not only did my language skills get better but I heard about a fun job opportunity! Renata had heard that Helsinki Cup, a huge international soccer tournament was still looking for portuguese speaking guides. So I applied and just finished my week as a guide for Brazilian and some other international teams. So thanks to Renata and EOTO for these opportunities!

Meeting #3 @ Solu!

We were a bit lazy after school so we decided to stay at TAMK premises and enjoy a cup of tea at the relaxing student place, Solu. We continued with the routine set on the first meeting of going through letters we had written in each other’s native languages. The subject for this time was our hobbies / how we spend our free time. This way we learned more about each other and strengthened our vocabulary on useful topics.

After correcting the letters we continued to talk for the rest of the 90 minute meeting in Portugues and the other half in Finnish. I was first a little bit shy about talking Finnish at Solu as everyone would understand what we would be talking about. But as I noticed that Renata already understands Finnish really well, I could speak totally normally without slowing down. This is also what she wanted and I could also remember that in Brazil, it was something that annoyed me if someone spoke intentionally clearer and slower to me. I felt that they didn’t understand how well I actually knew already the language and underestimated me. Now I was doing the same and felt amazed realizing doing the same “mistakes”. I can now better understand that the ones doing this also in Brazil probably just wanted to help and had good intentions. I now see that it really is important to try to understand the other person’s situation, wants and needs.

As I spoke Finnish in a normal way and speed, it was easier to have “real” conversations. What I mean with this is that we could talk about anything on our mind concerning school stuff or other things we were interested knowing about each other. It didn’t have to feel forced to make up a conversation just to practice the language and run the EOTO meeting time. Of course sometimes we had to think what to talk about next but I saw a clear improvement in the flow of conversation compared to the previous meetings. Not just are we learning better the languages itself but also learning about each other and ourselves to make the communication richer and more natural.

Petri Grönholm

Surprise party! – Meeting # 2

Surprise!! Renata invited me to go to her friend’s 30th birthday party in Tampere. I was first a bit uncertain about going but I’m glad I did. Even though I was not a close friend of the celebrated one, I knew it would not be a problem attending the party knowing the Brazilian culture to some extent. The reason for uncertainty in the first place was probably not knowing well the people who were there and so on…

At the party I got to meet many Brazilian people and hear their stories about moving to Finland. I met new people but also strengthened friendships with some earlier acquaintances. We even found out that me and a Brazilian man who I had just met had a mutual close friend in Brazil. How small is the world, huh!? Together with this new Brazilian friend and a Mexican guy from the party, we decided to go to avanto the following week. So If I hadn’t gone to the party, I would have missed out on many fun experiences and making new contacts and friendships.

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Besides networking, I learned also about the cultural differences between Brazil and Finland by hearing interesting opinions from professionals in the field; Brazilians living in Finland. I also got to eat some great home made food, sing the birthday songs in Portugues and enjoy this special Brazilian themed evening in a multicultural environment. It was also important for me to get to practice Portuguese once again even though English and Finnish was also used in the party. Now in the future it will be easier to meet with Brazilians in Tampere and who knows what interesting experiences and possibilities attending this party will enable in the future… 🙂

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Getting started – First meeting at TAMK!

For the first meeting Renata and I  were supposed to meet at the relaxing student place SOLU but it was packed. We decided to find a more private location and ended up at Y-campus where we had our 1.5 hour meeting in peace.

We started off the meeting by going through letters we had written in our EOTO languages. We have decided to write for every meeting half A4 in our EOTO language about the meeting’s topic. This way we get a routine to practice our EOTO languages even more and especially enhance our writing skills. The first meeting’s topic was getting to know each other so I had prepared a letter in Portuguese and Renata in Finnish about our selves. We went through the texts and corrected each other’s spelling mistakes and gave alternative words and phrases to use to enhance the writing. During this whole process we used only EOTO languages to become better not only in writing but also more fluent in speaking.

After this we practiced our spoken language and discussed for the rest of the meeting. First in Portuguese and later in Finnish. We mainly talked about ourselves and planned furthermore the rest of the EOTO sessions. It was really nice to get to speak so much in Portuguese and not worrying about making mistakes. This actually made me think a lot also in Portuguese the following days which is a good sign! It was also nice to talk in Finnish with Renata and realize that she can also communicate really well in Finnish!

After the first meeting I now know many grammatical issues better in the Portuguese language. I learned for example that in many cases, it really depends in which part of Brazil (or other Portuguese speaking countries) you live that which form should be used. Or another form could be correct as well but people might just not use it in that region. For example we went through the use of do/da/de (feminine, masculine, neutral) and I learned that in different places different form could be used (do Petri / de Petri). I first thought I did not know the rules precisely and I have been making even bigger mistakes but in many cases more than one way of saying is possible. And even though it is beneficial to know the grammar rules and understanding the language better, I think it is good to keep in mind that communication and delivering the right message should be the most important aspect of learning and knowing a language. Even without speaking correctly, the recipient can possibly understand the key message and this should be something a speaker should be proud of.

It was interesting also to teach Finnish. Even though I am a native speaker, there are many grammar rules that were difficult to explain, they just come naturally speaking. It is not often also when you intentionally try to speak clearer and more slowly to adjust to the recipients level. I guess for different situations and people we change the tone and style of language but we might not pay that much attention to it as this time. Teaching really requires understanding the “student”, stepping into her shoes and deploying empathy.

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Petri Grönholm