German-Russian | 3rd Meeting

Meeting on September 30th, 2020, 2 hours

After the introduction to the articles and genders last time, this time I started teaching Daria basic present tense sentences and actually a lot of new vocabulary. We discussed a few pitfalls in German sentence building, like verbs which change not only their ending with different pronouns but also their spelling (e.g.: I eat – Ich esse, You eat – Du isst). Furthermore, we established common phrases like Hello! – Hallo!, four different versions of I’m sorry – and of course the translation for Could you pass me the beer please? – Kannst du mir bitte das Bier geben? 😂 Also, we noted there is a difference between a formal and a casual You in German (formal: Sie, casual: du).

On the other side now, as I’m finally comfortable with the Cyrillic alphabet, I got an easy start by learning the weekdays in Russian. Then we quickly moved on to similar useful phrases we had in German before. One of my main problems here still is the pronunciation so Daria began always marking the stressed part of a word or a sentence which helped a lot! Another thing I like about Russian is I got the feeling it’s quite an efficient language. For example, the whole Where can I find… becomes only Где, the question word. Simple, but I like it 😀

Polish – German first meeting


Due to my late arrival in Finland, Fryderyks and my first meeting was on Skype. Neither of us studied each other’s language before, so we spoke English to get to know each other first. We talked for a little longer than an hour and started with general questions such as how our names are pronounced, where exactly we come from, what we are studying and the like. After that we started to compare our preliminary plans and discussed what we plan to do at our next meetings. For example, we agreed on doing some outdoor activities like going for a hike and playing board/card games, as we feel that learning a new language is way more interesting when you apply the learned vocabularies directly, rather than just learn it by heart like we used to do in school. In general, we decided to discuss about the differences and similarities in our culture and the background of the languages primary. Finally, we learned greetings in both languages to start with the actual learning content.

I think we both enjoyed this first meeting and I’m excited to learn more Polish soon!


My first meeting in the Each One Teach One program was with my paired partner, Jetro Sukkela. My target in this program is to advance my B1.1 level of Finnish and to be more confident in using Finnish while Jetro would like to learn some basic Vietnamese for his future trip to Vietnam if possible. After many times delaying for busy study reason, finally we came to meet. Because of corona, I have recommended to have first meeting online. It happened totally ok beyond my imagination. We are not in same class in TAMK and did not know each other before, but luckily, I have found quite supportive and easy-going partner. We did not spend too much time asking about private lives but went through directly to the language learning. I thought that we would be shy for the first meeting, but oppositely Jetro was so supportive, warm, and friendly that I do not think we just met for the first time.

Jetro started teaching me first Finnish. I would like to practise speaking with him. The topic was taken from his issues to post office in that day. I opened more the topic by asking and sharing my own stories and opinion about post office in Finland when comparing to one in Vietnam. Sometimes, we went far away from our topic, but quite soon we got back to it. Jetro asked and answered questions for me to practise and especially he helped me fix the basic mistakes. I could say, the friendliness of Jetro helped me feel free and more confident to speak Finnish, even though there were still a lot of mistakes that need to improve. Furthermore, I recognised some stupid mistakes that I made and learnt some new vocabularies. I think languages come to mind in the natural way that sometimes we do not need to push ourselves so hard.

After 1 hour, I turned to teach the basic Vietnamese to Jetro. Starting by ‘Hello Vietnam’ song, I would like Jetro to feel relaxing hearing our language and somehow get to know how the words are pronounced in Vietnamese. I recognised the pronunciation of Vietnamese seem to be same as Finnish. For the first time, it seemed to be little struggle to Jetro to practise Alphabet. I understood that he has tried his best to remember them. It was not an easy thing to do and may make people bored or want to quit. I would like to make him like our language, so it will motivate him more to learn it. However, I know it is kind of challenge for me to inspire him.

After then, I teach him how to say Hello in Vietnamese to different people who are at different age. I think this is new thing to Jetro, but it is a very basic thing to learn. For example, if people would like to ask for help on the road, they first need to make friend to people by saying hello. However, in Vietnam we call old strange lady on road as the grandma or young girl as a younger sister. Jetro may think it is hard to remember, therefore, we ruled that next meeting, I will welcome him by saying ‘Chào’ or hello in Vietnamese.

By this spirit and method of learning and teaching approaching, I believe we are going to win two of the world’s hardest languages. Discovering the languages together is an interesting thing to approach in this program.

Finnish – French first meeting

For our first meeting Néd and I met up for coffee in Espresso House in Ratina. Since we’re in the same class we already knew each other, so this was a great chance to get to know each other better and take a good look at our current language level as well as plan the future meetings. I studied French in upper secondary school and Néd’s studying Finnish at TAMK right now, so both of us have something to back up our language exchange studies.

We discussed the cultural differences between Finland and France and other countries we’ve been to. I’ve spent the last 2,5 years living and working in Spain before moving back to Finland to study, and it was interesting to compare the Spanish customs to the French ones as well. I learned that in France it’s common to only give one kiss to greet, though apparently in Paris they usually give two kisses. In Spain it’s most common to greet with two kisses and that’s what I’m used to, in France that would make me more of a Parisienne then I guess!

We also talked quite a lot about the importance of learning a language and the things that contribute to that. We agreed that one of the best ways is to live in a country where the language’s spoken or at least know a native speaker that you can practice with. This of course means that language exchanges like the one we’re doing right now are a marvellous way to learn.

We also went through some interesting differences between our languages, like the pronouns, different types of verbs and prepositions. In the next meeting we plan to look into the most common verbs and how to conjugate them. I’m really looking forward to it!

Italian – Vietnamese fourth meeting

Ciao! Xin chào!

This week we talked about food (yum)!

Me and Danh introduced Sara to many Vietnamese specialties, those that are rather famous globally (phở, nem, bún, bánh mì, etc), and how to distinguish some authentic dishes from fake ones. Sara learned many dishes and their alternatives, and how to pronounce them. She also found out that Vietnamese literally eat everything, and some dishes can be rather disturbing or disgusting. At least she is kinda willing to try durian (sầu riêng) though.

Sara introduced us to Italy with lots of really good spices and ingredients. She talked about pizza and pasta and some other dishes, and of course, she talked about cheese, one thing I bet many Italians have to be very proud of. She taught us how to distinguish between different kinds of pasta and cheese from the looks, smell, and aging!

Italian – Vietnamese third meeting

Ciao! Xin chào!

This is the third meeting for Danh and Sara, but my first-ever meeting. I was warmly welcomed by both of them and got to know each other a little bit. Both Sara and Danh were speaking about verb tense, and it’s really interesting to know how different they are in terms of structure. Sara noted that Italian has many verb tenses and some can be very difficult, so she taught us those simple ones that are mostly used in real life. Sara definitely makes our learning experience a lot better and easier, and I can trust her fully because she knows her country very very well.

For Vietnamese, Danh taught Sara verb tenses too. In contrast with Italian, Vietnamese verb tenses are very simple (you add a specific word prior to the verb and its tense changes) and I think Sara got it perfectly.

I introduced Sara to some popular holidays in Vietnam, both native ones that only celebrated ourselves and some international holidays as well. I really wanted to emphasize the women’s days because that is a very special feature of Vietnam!

From this meeting, we would be talking with themes. And for the next meeting, we’d be talking about food!

Italian – Vietnamese catching-up meeting

Ciao! Xin chào!

I was introduced a little bit late for the course, but luckily Sara offered me a catching-up meeting to match up with Danh a little bit. In the meeting, Sara was introducing me again to the most basic things of Italian, from greetings, the alphabet to notable pronunciation. I was really surprised to learn that Italian words have genders, which is really different from my Vietnamese vocabulary structure. Sara helped me a lot in distinguishing between knowing genders of words and how to pronounce as close to a native Italian as possible. It’s a long way to go but I think I’m taking baby steps!

At the end of the meeting, me and Sara agreed that the following meetings would be more open. As we are learning on Zoom and it’s kinda hard to concentrate on the grammar, we decided that we would come up with a theme for each meeting, selecting words, sentences, and cultural knowledge that are relevant and famous so it becomes more of a tour guide. I personally think it’s more practical that way!

Finnish-German, second meeting

Me and Kira finally met for the second time! For our second meeting we had decided to bake something from Germany together but I didn’t know what exactly. When I got to her apartment she told me that we would make “Kartoffelpuffer”, which I had never heard of. They were kind of similar to pancakes but made from potatoes. Kira told me that you can eat them either sweet or salty. We ate them with apple sauce and they were good! Surprisingly good even.

We had German music in the background while we revised (and learnt) some words related to kitchen and cooking. Most kitchen words were already familiar to Kira, but I learnt many new words. For example die Pfanne (pan) and das Mehl (flour). We also talked about some traditional dishes of both Finland and Germany.

For our next meeting we’re going to make some Finnish dish or dessert together, but I haven’t decided what yet!

2nd meeting: Finnish – German

It took us a while to arrange our second meeting, because our schedules were quite different and we were busy studying for uni, but now we finally did it! Yesterday afternoon Sofia visited me at my place and together we made “Kartoffelpuffer”. They are a bit like pancakes, but made out of grated potatoes. You can eat them both, sweet and salty, we chose sweet, so we ate them with apple puree.

The cooking was a good opportunity to revise some kitchen and food vocabulary, such as “kulho” (bowl) and “keittiövaaka” (kitchenscale). 🇫🇮
Since we were making German food, we also listened to some German music and compared German and Finnish food and grocery stores. When I moved to Finland it was quite surprising for me that the stores are open on Sundays, because in Germany they are always closed.

For our next meeting we are planning on cooking/baking some Finnish food, I’m excited how that will turn out!



Plan of topics to be covered in this course.

Based on the fix number of 10 sessions to have meetings, I intend to cover the following subjects in Spanish during the course. I would also like to receive the same knowledge of Finnish. 

My suggested topics are:

Greetings and introductions

The alphabet

Personal information: name, address, telephone number, email address, age, marital status

Countries and nationalities

Parts of the body

Days of the week

Months of the year

Seasons of the year

Plenty of verbs in basic form

Most common Professions

Numbers 0-100

The family

Describing people


Formal and informal ways of addressing people

Real life situations, i.e. restaurants, airports, hotels and shopping malls

Present, Past and Future tense

Lots of speaking

Lots of listening

Lots of pronunciation

Saludos y nos vemos pronto!

Fabián Garrido
+358 40 878 0888