Welcome to Finland, the striking Scandinavian country covered in wooded hills and brimming with sparkling water.
Finland is marked by cold winters and warm summers. About a quarter of the country’s total area lies north of the Arctic Circle. During the summer months of the ‘midnight sun’, the sun does not set in this area for about 73 days! As one of the most industrialized countries in Europe, Finland’s metal and engineering industries pump out exports to the rest of the world.
The government of Finland is a democratic republic. The head of state is the President of the Republic, elected every six years by direct popular vote.
The official languages of Finland are Finnish and Swedish. Although most people speak Finnish, the official status of Swedish has historical roots in the period when Finland was a part of the Swedish realm.
Finland is considered a liberal country, and most Finnish teenagers are used to having both parents working.
Movies are very popular in Finland. They are a good remedy for the long dark evenings in wintertime. Live theater and drama are also widely popular, with many citizens acting and frequently watching performances.
The forest isn’t just a backdrop to Finnish life – it is an active part of it. Finnish people like to “escape to the woods” for a relaxing weekend, lighting bonfires and cooking food under a blanket of spruce tree boughs.
A typical Finnish diet includes a large amount of fish, potatoes, salad, milk and dairy products, berries and fresh-baked breads. Finns tend to eat very healthily.
Education is considered very important in Finland. Illiteracy is virtually unknown. The Finnish government subsidizes all education, so all schooling is free — from preschool through university.
Finnish students do their homework in the evening, generally for 1 to 2 hours. Students are used to being responsible for doing their work, rather than having their parents and teachers constantly reminding them to do it.
Finnish high schools offer mainly theoretical subjects and few extra-curricular activities.
Many Finnish teenagers have been away from home before. They may have attended a language camp for a month in England, Spain, France, or Germany. They are used to a large degree of independence.
Finnish teenagers are accustomed to reasoning and discussing with their parents and setting ‘rules’ that are more like mutual agreements. Curfews are often flexible, depending on the particular situation.