All posts by Elina Suortamo

German foods and idioms

Thank you Simon! Now I know many foods that I will never try.

I’m obviously just kidding, but I think I speak for all of us when I say having raw meat on your sandwich just can’t be called food. Instead, currywurst sounded like something I would try. And I was somewhat surprised to hear that döner kebab came from Germany. Simon showed us pictures of all the different meals and told us what’s in them. One of the more interesting ones was the pork knuckle that looks like after eating it you won’t have to eat for a week.

Then he told us about German idioms and expressions. They had some really funny ones and we also found some similar ones to Finnish versions, like “donkey’s bridge” or “aasinsilta” in Finnish.

Similarities and differences

We had a really fun topic today! We talked about differences and similarities in our cultures. Again, I was especially excited to hear about Russian weird habits because I was expecting them to be quite similar as the Finnish ones. And I was right. We had sooo much in common with them it was quite funny. We both are kind of distant and we like our space. And of course the alcohol culture has a lot of similarities.

Simon told us about German culture and we compared things like hugging and kissing and when it is acceptable. We discovered we have some difference in how our need for personal space differ. Germans hug a lot more although kissing on the cheek is a bit weird there too. But German people also need space. Even though they might be a bit warmer to the touch, they still need permission to do that.


I was so excited to learn about this topic! We talked about holidays and how we celebrate them in our countries. Daria started by telling about Russian holidays. I saw a lot of similarities with our Finnish holidays. And we all celebrated labour day on first of May. Then we talked about Finnish holidays like laskiainen and Runeberg’s day and how we have some special pastries for those holidays.

Learning Russian

(The meeting was a while ago but just noticed I didn’t post anything about it so here we go)

Today’s topic was learning Russian. Daria started with just basic greetings and telling us about cyrillic letters. I was surprised how many familiar words there are being Finnish myself and speaking English too.

We learned the numbers in Russian and some drinks and foods too.

Some words I learned:

Fruit – Frukti

Peack – Persik

Lemon – Limon

Wine – Vino

Tea – Chai

Hi – Preevyet

My name is… – Meenya zavoot…

The first teaching lesson in Finnish

It was time to start so all four of us gathered to Teams for a meeting. I admit it was very hard to begin as the teacher because Finnish is such a complex language with all it’s inflected word forms. Like, if we teach the word maanantai (Monday), how can we explain simply enough why it is maanantaina (on Monday) or maanantaisin (on Mondays) at the next moment. Or why the verb olla (to be) has so many different forms. Oh boy do we have a big job on our hands.

So, we decided to start with how the language works. We taught that the Finnish words play with the ending of the words, not with prepositions or such. Which is also why the language is so difficult to learn – and to teach as we found out.

In this session we went through the numbers, time (hour, day, week, month etc) and some very basic sentences but we focused more on the words. We taught how we form numbers (yksiTOISTA, kaksiTOISTA and kolmeKYMMENTÄ, neljäKYMMENTÄ, kaksiKYMMENTÄyksi, kaksiKYMMENTÄkaksi). We had some talk about the pronounciation as the non-Finnish speakers would have naturally pronounced some of the words very different (like our y isn’t pronounced as i). We also taught some examples on how Finnish has sometimes very describing words, like joulukuu being ”Christmas month” and kesäkuu being ”summer month”. I’m sure we will have more examples later.

Some things we went through:

Minä olen…/Minun nimeni on…

I am…/My name is…

How to tell the time:

Kello on puoli seitsemän

Literal translation: The clock is half to seven (instead of half past six)

Sekunti = second

Minuutti = minute

Tunti = hour

Päivä = day

Viikko = week

Kuukausi (kuu = moon, kausi = period) = month

Vuosi = year

Teaching was super fun but it would have been easier if we structured the lesson in advance which we didn’t do. Heini had some nice basic Finnish instructional pages she shared with the group, which helped a lot, but we need to plan the hour better next time.