Since our first meeting we have met three times. Lazy as I am, I will make a summary of all of them in just one post.
So, on our second meeting we thought it would be nice to compare some customs in Finnish and Dutch culture because it seems like a subject that we can both benefit from. The first thing that came to mind was that in Holland it’s normal for people to keep their shoes on when entering someones home. In Finland everyone takes their shoes off indoors. The second thing was about how people speak their minds. Finnish people are commonly considered to be silent and they don’t express their feelings very openly. Dutch people are more direct in their conversations and they aren’t afraid to speak their mind. Complaining was also a thing that came up. In both cultures complaining is quite a popular thing. Nothing is ever right but no one really does anything to improve the situation either..
Third meeting was about business culture. I wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t make a fool out of myself if I ever happen to go to a job interview in Holland. First impression is important so we began talking about clothing. Mark explained that most offices in Holland allow jeans but in a meeting you always wear something better. Colours don’t really matter that much. Using colourful combinations of clothing is usual for example in the marketing sector. I also learned that people often like to have small talk before discussing business. This odd and scary thing called “small talk” seems to be popular in every other country than Finland. Here we just go straight to business. Also you shouldn’t address people by their first name initially or talk with your hands in your pockets. I should also prepare myself for loooong negotiations due to the Polder Model. It means that everyone is entitled to have a say in the subject in hand. The Dutch people tend to talk about an issue until everyone around the table is happy with the solution.
For our fourth meeting we went outside to the cold. The meeting consisted of football, the sport that is more popular in Holland than it is in Finland. There are quite some finnish players who play for clubs in Holland, for example Mäenpää, Moisander and Kangaskolkka (the man who played a grand total of 80 minutes last season). For a dutch man football is more than a passion. It’s something that makes men at restaurants or at wedding receptions leave their wives at the table and walk to the kitchen with a tv to not miss a match. There is also a street where people cover their houses in orange during euro- and worldcups. I have experienced this dutch football-madness once in my life when people gathered at a square to welcome back the national team that lost the final:
Anyways, the goal (ghehe) of this meeting was to teach Mark some finnish words related to football. And what better way to do it than to walk to a field and yell some words in finnish when ever there was an opportunity for it. As a teacher I think the experience worked fine since repeating the words constantly with context was better than going through them somewhere else.