All posts by Elina

The last one

Time goes really fast, it will soon be Christmas and it’s also time for our very last meeting. Erwan is returning to France but luckily we managed to meet  day before he left. It was nice to meet one more time cause the chances are it really was the last time.

We met at cafe europa where we also had our very first meeting. With hot chocolates in our hand it was nice to look back to the past autumn and the things we learned and taught.

For me it was a great experience and I learned a lot. Especially useful was to hear Erwan speaking in French, to keep up my listening skills. Also it was good to be teaching Finnish. I got more ideas as in what to teach and in what order and can now apply them in practise when teaching Finnish to my boyfriend.

In the end of our meeting we headed to Stockman in search of Glögi spices (to make one yourself), for Erwan to bring back to France with him.

Soon it was time for us to part ways.

All in all I had a great time and enjoyed the experience!

Joulutori and French

It was nice to meet again after our trips. Apparently lapland had been quite an experience to Erwan and I always love to go to London so it was great as well.

We met at the central square and walked through the christmas market there. The weather sadly is not very christmassy with all the wind and rain but I still like the atmosphere at the market. We went to Kauppahalli so Erwan could try karjalanpiirakka but this time with the egg-butter mix on top of it.


I found out that he had never tried glögi before and that’s something you should try if you happen to be in Finland around Christmas time. So we went to enjoy some (non-alcoholic) glögi which he seemed to enjoy a lot.

While enjoying out drinks, Erwan was teaching me some more french. Every once in a while he talks to me in French and I understand most of it. If I don’t it’s mostly because he speaks fast and after he repeats more slowly I get it. He was telling me sentences in english and I tried to translate them to French (not very successfully). It’s really hard for me to remember the words and conjugations when I’m supposed to be talking but as soon as someone says them I understand and it seems obvious it is like that.

Sadly we have only one more meeting left later this week!

Finnish and cappuccinos

Time goes really fast and we have only few meetings left. This time we went to cafe europa like on our very first meeting. Since it was relatively early afternoon when we arrived, the place was half empty so we were able to get good seats next to the window to enjoy our cappuccinos.

It was my turn to teach Finnish again. As repetition we went through the weekdays and some other things from the past weeks. I decided to focus more on going over the same things then starting new subjects. Finnish is not easy and like in every language, repetition is the key to learning!

I think it nice that Erwan is making the effort to learn some Finnish, after all he’s not going to stay here for very long and let’s face it, Finnish is not exactly the most useful language to learn. Some one might argue that it’s always useful to know languages but in reality it’s very unlikely you’ll need Finnish anywhere outside Finland. Even in Finland you can survive fine with english.

Our last two meeting will have to wait for a while since we’ll both be travelling for the next weeks but we should still have enough time to have them before Erwan leaves Finland.

7th meeting

On our seventh meeting Erwan and I met (once again) at the TAMK library.  I must say I was tired and maybe not very motivated to learn but it turned out to be fun nonetheless! This time he had his laptop with him so we used that for french practise.

First exercise was about the masculin and feminin words (always difficult, more guessing then anything else) and then comprehension through videos and some writing exercises. The youtube videos were actually quite good ones to practise reading comprehension, I think I’ll be using them later on as well.

It’s nice to see how much better I understand French these days but actually speaking still continues to be difficult.

However the only way for me to get it in to the level i want is to move back to a french speaking country. Before when I was living in Belgium the challenge was that I didn’t have the vocabulary. Now that I have it, I only need to learn how to use it.

Meeting at TAMK library

This time it was already our sixth meeting. It was easiest to meet after classes at TAMK, we
were both already at the school after all.

Tilda didn’t join us this time so it was just the two of us. Erwan gave me exercises to practise passé composé with. Some of them were challenging but useful nonetheless. It’s nicer to practise with someone who can immediately give you the feedback and tell you what went right or wrong. I feel like I already have a good idea of this verb-tense. I’m also taking a French course once a week and the meetings with Erwan support it nicely.

LibraryI practised reading French text, which has always been challenging to me.
However I noticed that I’m not as scared to speak as I was before, so I’m already seeing progress!

Erwan also gave me some riddles to solve (in French) which were a lot of fun! I didn’t get most of them but he explained and I will remember them in the future for sure.

We weren’t in the mood to do Finnish this time, maybe next week!

Visiting kauppahalli

For this meeting we decided to visit kauppahalli. We walked around a bit and saw some traditional finish foods. Since Erwan didn’t know what glögi is, I explained (kind of a mulled wine, made both with alcohol and without) and recommended him to try before he leaves from Finland. Sadly I didn’t see any at Kauppahalli so we could have tried that time. After walking around we sat down at a cafe for some tea and snacks and begun the lesson.  We ate karjalanpiirkka (Karelian pie), which was also new to him.

This time Tilda was also able to joins us, so Erwan was teaching us some French. He talked to us about his trip to Russia in French which is really good practise for understanding. It’s also one of the things  I miss living in Finland, you almost never hear French here and I learn best by listening the language. We also made some sentences in French (or tried to) and finally started to paractise passé composé which is new to me. Before I only knew the present tense and futur proche so it’s really useful to be able to talk about things in the past-tense as well!

Tilda was already familiar with passé composé so she was also giving advice on the grammar. There’s a lot of things and conjugations to remember (and exceptions, because well, it’s French) but all in all it seems not too bad! There’s of course the irregular verbs that are going to be challenging  but not impossible.

Looking forward to our next meeting! 🙂












































Finnish at the library

There was a long break in between out last meeting and this one. It was nice to meet again and hear how the holidays had been. Erwan had been back in France and also visited Russia! I was visiting Belgium after a few months break and it really felt like going back home. I also got to practise my French skills with my boyfriend and all of his French speaking friends.

This meeting was all about Finnish, since it was just me and Erwan, the following week we will practise French again when Tilda is able to join us. My week was really busy so we decided to meet quickly at TAMK library between my classes last Tuesday.

We repeated the numbers and basic greetings, which Erwan had memorised quite well. Also some of the new things I taught included personal pronouns, to be-verb and to have-verb. I chose to teach the spoken versions, not the written ones. I think it’s more usefull considering the short amount of time I’ll be teaching Erwan. He also asked me to teach the days of the week (which I did), they come in handy with the bus schedules!

We haven’t been able to meet excatly according to the original plan, which was twice a week, but even now I think we’re more or less in schedule!


French at Cafe Runo

For this meeting there was a third person, Tilda, joining us to learn French. We met in front of Stockmann and headed to Cafe Runo. It’s a really cute place with nice atmosphere and large selection of teas.

After ordering our drinks we sat down upstairs. First 20 minutes or so passed just talking, getting to know Tilda a little better. 

This time was supposed to be about Finnish but since Tilda is already teaching Finnish in an another group, we decided to focus on French. We went throughout some conjugations and new vocabulary. Most of the things we went through I was already familiar with but it’s always good to repeat, especially in French where there is so many exceptions to every rule. It was also nice to simply listen Erwan speaking French, in Finland you rarely hear it anywhere, not even on tv.

Time passed really quickly, I think we spent close to three hours at this meeting. After Tilda left, I stayed a while longer to go over some of the Finnish vocabulary that I taught Erwan on our first meeting. We repeated the alphabet, greetings and numbers.

The next meeting will have to wait for almost two weeks because we are both going to spend the holiday away from  Finland. Luckily I’ll be able to improve my French in practise since I’m going back to Brussels!

Studying French at Aussie Bar


I met with my pair for the second time Tuesday afternoon, this time checking out Aussie Bar (I had never been there but wanted to go for a long time) which turned out to be quite a nice place. Since it was still relatively early when we arrived there, only a few other customers were occupying the tables.

After ordering cider and lonkero (long drink) we began the second lesson. Last time we covered some of the basics in Finnish, this time it was all about French.

It makes me really happy to notice how much I’ve advanced in my French studies.  A year ago it felt impossible to understand anything that included more than one word. Now I’m able to follow most of the basic conversations(if not spoken in full-french-speed). The biggest problem remaining is the speaking part.

I practised translating and writing sentences from English to French as well as quite a number of basic verbs with some conjugations. I was surprised how much I remembered and was able to write. However there’s two mistakes I always make, with the gender aussie01of a word (there’s not really a rule that would help me with this)  and accents; aigu é, grave è and circonflexe ê.  It’s amazing how I guess these wrong every single time!

French is definitely not the easiest language to learn for someone who speaks Finnish. But I’ve noticed that the fastest way for me to learn is to be really surrounded by the language. While living in Belgium I went to a language course where the teacher didn’t speak any english, all of the teaching happened in French. I learned to understand much faster then I ever would have in a similiar course in Finland.

Next time we’ll meet later this week and continue from where we left off with Finnish!



Français and Suomi, first meeting


The first meeting with my pair took place at Cafe Europe last Thursday evening. We ended up choosing this cafe because both of us already knew it and liked it. The athmosphere at Cafe Europe is warm, welcoming and very international.


We started by ordering cappucinos and introducing ourselves to each other.

During our first meeting we focused mainly on Finnish. My pair, Erwan, has no prior knowledge of the Finnish language so I started with the very basics. The very first thing was how to greet people and to say goodbye. Then we moved on to the alphabet and numbers. The numbers in Finnish are quite simple I think (and I believe Erwan agreed with me on this). You simply memorise them from one(yksi) to nine(yhdeksän) and after that you only need two words to form the rest, all the way until 99.

The Finnish language is definitely not an easy language to learn. It belongs to the Uralic-language group which most people are quite unfamiliar with. However there are few things that make it a bit easier;  in Finnish the words have no gender(one of the things I’m struggling with in French), articles or definite and indefinite forms.

It takes a longer time than ten meetings to to learn enough of a new language to communicate efficiently but I’m hoping to give Erwan some idea of the Finnish language and inspiration to continue learning in the future!

We went through the same vocabulary in French that we did in Finnish as a repetition for me. I’m already familiar with the basics and understand quite well, thanks to living in a french-speaking country for one year. During our next meeting we’ll try to talk more in French!