2nd – Finnish and Portuguese School Systems

13th of March at TAMK’s main campus.

The subject for this second meeting was the education system. Overall, we realized they are mostly the same, with a slight detail in division and nomenclature being different. What I found most useful, besides finally learning “ammattikorkea-koulu” in case I need to ask the bus driver if that bus goes to the main campus – I study in Mediapolis so I always forget which numbers take me to the main campus – was their explanation of the grading system. In Portugal higher education has usually 5 credits per course like Finland, but the grades are from 0 to 20, unlike the 0 to 5 system in place here. I do wonder how my home faculty will do the equivalence, but Kaisa and Tiuu’s explanation of it was really clear and simple. Afterwards, it was interesting to speak about vacations and holydays. One thing I noticed is how while we have at least one holyday or national day per month, sometimes two or more, where there is no school, they are a lot more scarcer here and they told me about Vappu which I now anticipate since it sounded really cool with the white hats and such.

1st – Meeting for the First Time

9th of March at Soko’s 4th Floor Café.

On our first meeting I met up with Kaisa and Tiiu at a café. They are both Finnish students while I’m from Portugal, here through the Erasmus + Programme. Concerning the café, I actually didn’t know about it before we planned the meeting since I thought all Sokos had was the supermarket downstairs and then clothing shops and the such on its other floors, but it was a nice spot and the munkki I ate was deliciously sweet due to the raspberry filling.

Since I didn’t know them before this course, we spent this meeting talking about each other, starting with what we study and even branching out into our household and siblings. It was really nice to have this initial “chill time” before assessing what we knew before hand, I mentioned how I do have Finnish language classes, but that outside of them, due to lack of practice, I end up not retaining much, and I already knew from when we talked over the preliminary plans that they didn’t know any Portuguese. It was interesting to note how specific sounds like “ão” come hard to them, much like the Finnish way to say the “y” letter is a tad odd for me. But in the following meeting will be able to assess this more thoroughly since we’ll have subjects/themes.

Our last meeting

Our last meeting was in TAMK. It was weird to see for the last time. Hamza had search online some pretty good questions for me to answer in English. They were questions that couldn’t been answer with only one or two sentences, so I really had to talk about different subjects. One of the questions was for example what are my goals for life. After that we still did some Finnish talking practise. I`m happy that during the course Hamza and Elize both learned how to speak the basics in Finnish.

Most of the time on this meeting we talked about Finland and how they both had experience Finland and Finnish culture. For me, as a Finnish person, it is always interesting to hear what foreigner people think about us. They said the pros and the cons. Trying to sum up their opinions, it would be that Finnish people don’t talk that much. And I agree with that.

All in all, the course went by really fast and it was a great experience. For me, it is always interesting to learn about new cultures and talk English with someone who don’t know how to speak Finnish. Even though our schedules were a bit busy, we managed to arrange 10 meetings.

Our 9.meeting

Our ninth meeting was hold in Tamk Y-campus. We had little problems to find free time for all three of us to meet together, but luckly we were able to arrange it.  It was really quiet, because most of the students are already finished with their school. That was good for us, so there was enough space and not too much voice around us. Elize and Hamza already know how to say the basic things in Finnish, so this time we had something else. Elize had her Finnish talking exam coming, so we went through the questions she had written on the paper. Those were for example

  • Mitä syöt yleensä aamupalaksi? (What do you usually eat in the morning?)
  • Mitä suunnitelmia sinulla on kesäksi? (What plans do you have for summer?)
  • Millainen sää ulkona on? (What is the weather like outside?)
  • Mitä tykkäät tehdä vapaa-aikanasi? (What do you like to do on your free time?)

Hamza and Elize both answered the questions and helped each other. This practise was also good and helped them to understand Finnish because I always asked the questions in Finnish. We planned our last meeting for the next day.

Our 8.meeting

We had our 8. meeting at school. I had written down some exercises to Hamza and Elize to talk in Finnish. The different steps were:

  • introduce yourself, your age, tell about your home country,
  • tell about your family, how many brothers/sisters you have, do you have any animals
  • tell about your hobbies and what you like to do on your free time.

I think Elize and Hamza did good job. Their pronunciation is getting better. This exercise took about half an hour and after that we had some common talk in English. I practised my English speaking kills as they asked me to explain about my exchange in Ireland and what are the differences in Finnish and Irish hospitals. I noticed that I was missing out/forgetting some words that I haven’t been using in long time.

Aleksanteri church and library

For our seventh meeting, we met at the town centre. First, we went with Hamza to Aleksanteri church. Both of us has never been there so it was a great experience. The church was really beautiful and big. Hamza has never visited a church in Finland before, so we sat there around 10 minutes and I explained him some basic things about our church. There were 2 people besides us and it was really quiet.

After visiting the church, we went to the Metso-library because Elize has never been there. We went straight to the foreign language section and found some interesting languages. There were books written in both Hamzas and also Elizes home languages. After going through the books, we went to the music section. It was huge and we found some stuff from old and new artists. Then we went to library café and sat on the table. Hamza and Elize talked in Finnish, and I helped them with their tiny mistakes. Mostly they discussed with each other and I was just listening. After that we talked about different cultures and for example how people greet in different countries. It was interesting to found out new things and how much these little things can change if you go to different country.

Our sixth meeting

Our sixth meeting was at school. First, we had some common discussion about how our week was going on, how we were doing and so on. After that Hamza and Elize made me talk more in English, as they asked me to explain different things in English. For example, they asked from me about my hobbies, my goals in life and what plans I have for summer. I feel like I’m quite okay with talking, I just have to find out another way to say things, because I don’t know enough words. And if there are some words I can`t find a way to say, then I just ask Hamza and Elize and they will help me. So that’s nice.

I had come up with some topics for Hamza and Elize to talk about in Finnish. First, they introduced themselves, told where they are from and how old they are. After that they explained about their families and hobbies. After that we went them all through again. I think it`s important to repeat what you have just said or heard, so you will remember them more easily. Hamza knew how to say these basic things, so it was good that he was helping Elize in some parts. But both of them did really well. The meeting took more than an hour, and then we decide that our next meeting will be in town centre: at the church and at the library.

Indian food

For our fifth meeting we went to town centre to Indian restaurant. We went there because I wanted to eat something that Hamza eats back at home in Pakistan and that’s how I could learn more about Pakistan culture. The restaurant was called TAJ Indian restaurant and huge recommendations for that! We went around 12 o`clock, so there was a buffet, and we all took that. There was a selection of different kinds of food and I taste almost all of them.

It was cool that Hamza taught us how the food should be eaten, like for example how they use and eat the Naan bread. Much new information for me!

We talked throw some eating-habits and it was funny to notice how different they can be. Like for example in Netherlands, they eat for breakfast bread with a chocolate-topping. And the same for lunch. So they don’t eat proper food until in the late evening which means around 5-6 pm. That sounds weird for me, because in Finland we eat proper food (which means for example potatoes and meat) first time around 11am.

 

New group member

We had our fourth meeting at TAMK. This time we got a new member into our group. She is a girl from Amsterdam and because her own group split up, she came to our group. I’m happy that she did so. First, we had to get to know to each other and we talked through our backgrounds and all. It`s always nice to meet new people and hear their stories. We went true some things that are different in Netherlands, in Pakistan and in Finland like for example about eating.

Elize is also trying to learn the Finnish language, so next we did some practising. We started easily by introducing each other (in Finnish of course). After that we went true some different situations which included buying food from store, buying a movie ticket, talking about the weather and talking about how you are feeling.  It`s now good that Hamza and Elize can speak Finnish to each other, so one of them was the customer and the other one was the salesman. It`s also good that they can help each other. We had done some of these same exercises before with Hamza, so I was happy to notice that he already knew how to make these sentences and was able to speak Finnish. The time flew, and we sat there suddenly almost two hours. We planned that our next meeting will be in town centre.

10th and final meeting

Even though I was really looking forward to finally having our last meeting, I’ll have to admit, it’s a bit sad. EOTO became such a routine, we pretty much had one per week, and oftentimes in the same cafe in Finlayson.

Anyway, for this last meeting we had decided to translate a song from each language. The topic came up when we were listening to songs that were hits in our childhood, and we thought it might be a fun idea to translate some lyrics on an each one teach one lesson. Songs are often more poem like, with metaphors and hidden meanings, so translating them is not only more challenging, but more interesting.

The song we translated from Spanish was called “20 de enero” (20th of January) by an artist called “La Oreja De Van Gogh” (The ear of Van Gogh), and the reason we picked it was because the music video is an absolute blast to watch. The song is pretty old, from the early 2000’s, so that only adds the cheesiness into the music video.

Anyway, the lyrics. I’m not going to paste all of them here because this post would be insanely long, but maybe go through the new vocabulary I learned, and some more interesting passages from the song. It was largely in past tense, which made it a bit challenging, but I managed okay as long as I was told which verb was actually in question.

New vocabulary I learned:

Arrastrar – drag/pull

Llenar – fill something up

Sonrisa – smile

Madrugada – early morning (A better translation would be the Finnish word aamuyö)

Cristal – glass (not a drinking glass, a window glass)

Reflejo – reflection

Cara – face

There were some other difficulties as well, such as recognizing verbs that were in the past tense, and translating entire passages so that the sentences would actually make sense. To be honest, would have been easier to translate from Spanish to Finnish instead of English, because the structures would be more alike, especially with the verbs.

A passage I quite liked went: “La madrugada del 20 de enero saliendo del tren”, which meant: “The early morning of 20th of January coming out of the train”. It barely makes sense, but it sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it?

Another one was: “Cogí un tren que no dormía”, which means: “I took a train that didn’t sleep”. Also quite a fun one.

Some passages I was able to translate almost entirely myself were:

Era un reflejo del sol de medio día – It was a reflection of the midday sun

Yo quiero quererte o morir – I want to love you or die

También de fotos tuyas de antes – Also with photos of you from earlier

Dibujé tu sonrisa junto a la mía – I drew your smile next to mine

It was nice to see that with a little nudge, I was able to translate something kind of complex. Some of it was so poetic that it was impossible, though.

The song I first thought I’d help Ignasi translate from Finnish was Ikuinen Virta by Indica, since it definitely was a hit when I was a kid, but it somehow turned out to be insanely hard to translate well. Probably because the passages are extremely short but somehow contain a lot of meaning? So, we ended up switching. I picked Hetken tie on kevyt by Tehosekoitin because I like the song and it’s quite pretty. I definitely had to help Ignasi a lot though, because it turned out the lyrics were pretty damn artsy.

Anyway, that concludes our each one teach one journey. What a fun course this was!