All posts by Emilia Parikka

Final EOTO, Finnish/English #10

We had our final EOTO with Ella today and in a way, I felt a bit sad. It has been so much fun seeing her almost weekly and how well we’ve got to know each other. But all good things must come to an end and so is the case with our each one teach one course.

During this course, I’ve been able to improve my grammar in parts that have been a challenge before and I learned that studying does not have to be a huge struggle and source of stress always. I’ve enjoyed this learning experience more than any other before because we were able to focus on the things we actually needed to and also have fun while studying. We’ve go to know each other on a whole new level through our conversations and I feel like working with Ella will be super easy in the future because now we know what works best for both of us. Ella is very organized, even more than me and it has been such a joy to set meetings with her and plan this together.

On this final EOTO we went to the place this all started from; Café Puisto. We both feel at home already in that place since spending most of our meetings there. At this final meeting, we went through our experiences during this course and talked about our learnings. We also talked about our summer plans and how Ella will get to finally go back to the US and see her family. I’m so happy for her and I hope she’ll get to enjoy her time there. I’ll be spending my summer on my parent’s strawberry farm and I think it would be super great if Ella would be able to visit there during this summer.

We also got to reflect on the progress we’ve made during this course and what things we found most useful. For both of us writing the essay and getting honest feedback was the most useful thing we did. Since our cooperation went so well during these few months, we talked about the possibility of continuing our learning journey together, but with the French language, since we’ve both studied it for some time but never have the chance to use it.

I have to say taking this course was probably the best choice of this semester and I truly recommend anyone who even slightly thinks about it to do it because you can modify it to fit your needs. Thank you so much for Ella taking this journey with me and showing me a closer look into the American culture.  I feel like I was able to help her find her Finnish roots and show her the best parts of living in Finland even during the covid pandemic.

Essay Reading, EOTO Finnish/English #9

Our Each One Teach One is getting closer to the end. Today we read through the essays we had been writing. It was very helpful to get feedback from Ella on my English writing. As I was expecting she found some comma mistakes that I need to focus on when writing. She also helped me to rephrase some sentences to make them more understandable and sound better.

I read Ella’s Finnish language essay through and noticed that she still is a work in progress when it comes to sijamuodot in Finnish, but I think with practice it’ll be all good. It also did me some good to correct her Finnish grammar, because at the same time I really had to think about them. This makes me write better because it has been some time since I last wrote any essays in Finnish. I really liked Ella’s essay and it was 100% understandable even with the little mistakes she had. I can see as I’m reading her text that her brain is in English because some of the word choices made so much more sense when I was thinking about it in English. I wish to see Ella writing more essays in Finnish in the future because that way she can improve even further. If she keeps using Finnish more in her essays, she will for sure be able to learn all the twists and turns of Finnish language. While we have been doing this course together I feel like her spoken language has improved and she does not really do any mistakes in that anymore.

For some reason, writing about how reading and commenting on our essays today went is difficult for me. I don’t really know how to describe it in a more detailed way. It was about one hour of reading and another going through the comments.

We had planned that for our last session together we would’ve gone to Särkänniemi together, but unfortunately, it opens at the end of May and Ella has already gone back to the US at that point so now we need to plan something else for our big ending of this course. I hope restaurants or something will open, so we can enjoy a lunch or something together.

Fresh Air and Sunshine, Finnish/English #8

This week, we had to postpone our regular each one teach one to have it on the weekend, due to our busy schedules. But it turned out to be a great option because the weather today was so beautiful. We decided to have a nice walk outside together.

We walked around Hervanta for a couple of hours actually and talked about our relatives, school work, etc. Ella loves really small kids and she feels like she gets along with them much better and I’m the opposite cause me I feel like I know what to do with the older kids cause I can play games with them, draw, paint or go play outside.

It was fun to be close to nature and Ella really enjoys Finnish nature too. We sat down for a second in this frisbee golf park to drink some water and eat some snacks to keep our energy level up. We got some good exercise and fresh air.

We talked about how in the US people say “What’s up” as a greeting and not actually ask how you’re doing. I’ve had some problems with that in the US because I did not realize right away that you are only expected to say “what’s up” back.  This is one of those differences between Finland and the US. Finnish people are very literal; you pronounce every letter on every word and when you say something you mean it. We don’t talk that much and especially not to strangers, but when we do we go straight to business. In the US people do a lot of small talks even with strangers and people might ask how you doing, not expecting you to actually answer that. Not to mention the number of letters in words that are left unpronounced.

Next week we’ll be going through our essays together and give some feedback to each other on those in order to improve our writing skills.

American Culture Day, Finnish/English #7

Today it was all about the great and powerful USA. We spent the entire meeting in English because it was the day of Ella’s home country. We ate traditional American foods such as mac’n cheese, chicken nuggets and chocolate chip cookies. They were all delicious! Mac’n cheese is actually one of my own favourite foods, whenever I’ve visited the US I’ve had to eat some mac’n cheese there. They just make it the best.

We talked about Ella’s life in the US and to me it sounded so far away and strange that they have drills in their school every month about fire, earthquakes, extreme weather conditions and even armed invaders. These things sound something I’ve only seen in movies. Ella said she hates storms because she has witnessed trees being cut to half by lightning or trees literally going from side to side touching the ground. She told me a story about when she was younger and there was a hurricane of some sorts and her mom wanted to go outside to see how it felt. She remembers how it was so windy you could not move forward. The storms in the US truly are next level.

Ella told me how even though the state of Maryland is not in an area that usually has earthquakes they did have one when she was at the 4th grade. Someone in her class was actually just reading a book about earthquakes when it started. A coincidence, maybe?

The chocolate chip cookies Ella prepared for us were absolutely yummy! So soft and chocolaty. I got the recopy from Ella so now I can make them myself too. Ella told me about the Easter egg hunt that her neighbourhood always had when she was a kid. Every year they would go to someones yard to hunt for chocolate eggs.

Sadly we did not have American flag with us, which would have been soooo American. When Ella came here she did not pack one with her, but hopefully we’ll get to travel to the US together and can go explore the country of stars and stripes.

Grammar Rules Day 2, Finnish/English #6

We had our meeting today online as well. We went through some of the exercises we had done during this week. Ella asked some questions of the exercises I made for her and now things seem to be even more clear for her. Ella had really enjoyed the exercises and materials I send her which was great to hear.

I also learned about how to use the colons and semi colons properly because I have always wondered about those. I think the Grammarly page Ella linked for me is going to be very useful also in the future when I’m writing essays or wondering about whether or not my grammar is correct. I also learned that the usage of comma is quite different compared to Finnish.

I liked the fact that Ella’s material also had a little explanation of writing an essay because that is going to be very useful since that is what we do a lot here at Proakatemia. I’ll now continue writing my essay for the book I read and use this material Ella provided and these new learnings on the writing process.

Next week will be super fun when we have an American culture day together. I can’t wait to see what Ella has come up with and how we’re approaching the American culture together. Today we laughed about the fact about how everything in the US are so huge! When I visited Los Angeles with my family, all the cups and everything were made for giants, really! We also laughed at the fact that if you order a salad in Cheesecake Factory, you’ll get like a huge portion that would feed like 4 people.

Grammar Rules Day 1, Finnish/English #5

Last Friday me and Ella had our meeting online for over couple of hours. We had just finished out week with Swiss Team Academy and reflected on how did it go since we were the original organisers for it. We both were a bit disappointed for the turnout of the week, not everything went as we had planned for, but these things happen and we tried to find reasons why those things happened and how we can improve for the future.

Ella had prepared a word document for me with some grammar rules, exercises and links to the Grammarly page that can help me improve my English grammar. I have worked on those things and so far I’ve been very happy with the material provided by Ella. Next week we will go through our work done and experience of it. Also, if we have some questions to ask each other, we can do that and overall go through some of the exercises done.

I also prepared a work document for Ella with some Finnish grammar exercises, that were specific for her needs regarding the comma rules, yhdyssanat and sijamuodot. I put there links for her to have more knowledge on these grammar things if she feels the need for them. I really hope she likes the one exercises I planned for her myself from start to finish.

This session we had mostly in Finnish, but the end part we also used English to make sure we use both languages and get practise on both. We also had a discussion about other language studies, because Ella and I both have studied French in the past. Now Ella had a French course and she sent me some details about it, so that I can think about whether or not to take it too next Autumn. I talked about being interested on maybe studying Spanish, Portuguese or Japanese at some point as well. I’m very happy to have found a friend who is also very interested in languages and loves learning new ones. Maybe after this course me and Ella can start practising our French together.

Finnish Culture Day, Finnish/English #4

Today was a special day on in our EOTO learning journey. We spent it with Ella at my place and diving into the Finnish Culture. We’ve planned this sense the beginning of all of this. We’re going to have American Culture Day as well, but today it was all about Finland.

Because it was Finnish Culture Day this meeting was 100% in Finnish. I focused especially hard on noticing any problems Ella might be facing with her Finnish so that I can search helpful material for her to improve. Next week is going to be grammar learning together which means I need to find proper material for teaching her.

But this time, we made traditional Finnish Foods: salmon soup with my mother’s recipe, Karjalan Piirakoita and egg-butter mix (munavoi). I taught Ella how to make the salmon soup and gave her the recipe to use in the future. It was fun to hear how her American friends were so mesmerized by the Karjalan piirakat and egg-butter her mother once made for their school.

I showed Ella some pictures from my birthplace Padasjoki and around my parents house; the fields, forests and other surroundings. She showed me around her parents place as well. I learned that she also lived surrounded by forest which is something we have in common. I also gave Ella a homework if she has the possibility to watch this one Finnish movie called Sooloilua, she has to watch it and tell me what did she think about it.

We were planning to enjoy some Finnish sauna as well, but ended up not having time for that because our discussions were so good, maybe some other time. This was a fun meeting for sure and I can’t wait to see what Ella is coming up with our American Culture Day.

Project with Swiss, #3 Finnish and English

This was our third meeting for Each One Teach one. Me and Ella were happy to meet each other in the Café Puisto again. We started the meeting on catching up and telling how is life and how our studies are going. Ella has had a really busy week last week and the beginning of this week as well. This 2-3 hours together today was a nice pause for all the hectic things happening. Myself as well have has quite a lot to do with WingsOfAcademy podcast, essay writing and project planning, so it was nice to have a slow start to our meeting this time.

We had decided that the topic of this meeting would be about this Swiss Team Academy that is coming to join our team in couple of weeks for a week or so. We brainstormed ideas of what we could do together with them and how we could work together remotely. We came up with this fun week that would combine our previous experiences with Sprint Innovation Festival and Global Business challenge. We came up with finding a Finnish company in need of innovative solutions and that the Swiss team could find a company from Switzerland to do that as well.

We also had an online meeting with one member from the Swiss team to go through the plan that we have and the plan they have. This part was this time the part we spent talking in English and the rest was mostly in Finnish. After we finalised the plan we talked me, Ella and Manu from Switzerland about the differences between our team academy hear in Finland and their in Switzerland. It was fun to hear about how they do their studies with evaluations and projects. Manu for example had made a web page to showcase his progress and hours worked for school. Switzerland is also different from Finland in a way that they have three languages there; French, German and Italian. Well Finland also has Finnish, Swedish and Saame but Finnish is clearly the dominant language. I found it fun to for a change include someone else in our each one teach one to learn even from another new culture and compare our schools to each other.

We spent some of this meeting also talking about what we would like to do on our Finnish culture day and US culture day that we’re organising for each other during this course. We’re most likely making some traditional foods, baking something, watching a movie and talking about the culture and differences we find. We were thinking about some traditional Finnish things such as: Makaroonilaatikko (Macaron casserole), Joulutorttu (Christmas Pastry), Darkness and Elderly people. These were things we found to be very Finnish.

We also talked about renovations because I’m currently renovating our apartment with my boyfriend and Ella was curious to know how it’s going. (It’s almost done, yeyy). I also remember the time when my parents were renovating their house and us (5 kids + parents) were living in this crowded space for months. Ella had similar experience from when her parents renovated their house and we even learned together the word keittolevy which is hotplate which if someone does not know is like two portable stoves together that can be plugged in for cooking. Both of us remember our mothers cooking pasta on that hotplate and us praying for the renovation to end.

Both of us are planning to read our books during next week when we’re not having a meeting due to the Hiihtoloma.

What are you reading? Finnish/English Meeting #2

We had our second meeting today with Ella. This time we met at café Puisto and it was super nice to see her face to face. Felt so much more natural to have conversations and it’s nice to actually see people after being in that online bubble for so long now.

About half of the time again was spent talking in Finnish and the other half in English. I have to say we flow quite seamlessly from one language to the other. There is no awkwardness in it. It felt goo practising my English pronunciation and it’s very easy with Ella because if I don’t seem to find a word for something, she helps me with no hesitation.

One notable thing I learned, during our discussions was about the taxation in the US and how for example product tax can differ a lot depending on the state you are. That is pretty interesting to me. I have always wondered  about the differences between the states. I’m very keen to learn more about this. I also never thought that the US would have such strong military culture that there is this thing called military discount, which means people working at military service get a discount from almost anything, this applies to their families too. I’m really in love with the story of how Ella’s parent met in Italy when her mom was backpacking through Europe and her dad was stationed there. I think that is a beautiful and unique story, really worth sharing and whenever Ella mentions something about it I can’t help but smile. Because Ella has traveled the world, she has knowledge on places I have not been to. It’s really interesting to hear about what for example Italy is like, since I’ve never really been there.

The topic of our discussion today was the books we’re going to be reading for this course. I had a problem because I found two possible books that drew me in. The first book was about Karl Lagerfeld the longtime head of design for Chanel, which happens to be my all time favourite brand. Chanel is my inspiration on so many levels and I’ve read many book about her life and career, but not about Lagerfeld’s. The second book option I had was about the third gender of Thailand also known as ladyboys. That topic has always had my interest and I’ve actually had this book for some time now, I just never seem to find a good time to read it.

Well this was not the time for that book either. After discussing with Ella about it I realised the book about Karl Lagerfeld would have more to give me at this point and it would make a great topic for an essay. My plan is to write a blog essay about that book and share my inspiration behind it as well.

Ella wants to focus on leadership on her literature this time, which I found very good topic in general but I think since she is so young that book could be even more beneficial for her. I’m very excited to see what she gets from that book and have a discussion about it. Some way my book is also about leadership because Karl Lagerfeld was in charge of one of the biggest brands ever, so we’ll definitely have some mirroring opportunities here between our books.

We also had a discussion about what a good essay is. Here is some of the things I gathered from that discussion:
– The text should be seamless.
– You should refer to things previously said or mentioned in order to show the connections.
– There needs to be a key idea that goes from start to finish.
– Circling back to the start at the end is a good way of closing the essay in a natural way.
– Do not repeat the same words/sentences over and over again.
– If possible find different ways of expressing the same thing so the text becomes more colourful.

Next step for us is to start reading those books we chose. Personally I’m really excited to read this book and write the essay about it. I think Ella can give me really valuable feedback once we go through the essays together.

Written By: Emilia Parikka

How to Practice Our Language Skills?

We had our first meeting today with Ella, because I had something else to do on Thursday, we moved the meeting to Wednesday this time. About half of the time, we spent using English and the other half in Finnish. Our meeting was a little over an hour and for the conveniency we had it online.

We used this time to talk about how we’re doing and to get to know each other a little better. I learned that Ella has a sister in the US and her family is planning to come here this summer. She also wishes to go back to the US for some part of the summer. Ella is super excited to meet the students from Switzerland that we’ll have an online project with later this spring.

We spent this time also to plan more closely what we’re going to do together in order to learn new things besides getting to know each other. We are going to read a book and talk about it; we will write essays that we can go through together and help each other with our grammar. We’re also planning on doing some grammar exercises together. Our plan includes also fun things like having a Finnish culture night and American culture night so that we can learn about the other culture we’re maybe not so familiar with. Our grand finale is going to be a fun day together in Särkänniemi in the beginning of May.

During today’s lesson I noticed how good it’s for me too to use my Finnish more, because even though I took this course to practice my English, my Finnish really can improve as well. I’m so used to talking in English that speaking in Finnish starts to feel weird sometimes, so I think this is really good practice to keep up my Finnish.

For our next meeting we should have found the books we’ll read so we can start discussing about those. I’ll choose something in English because even though I’ve been writing things in English a lot lately, all books I’ve read have been in Finnish. I know it’ll take some time to start the reading process in English but once I get started, I’m confident it’ll get quicker.