Profile on Sara Czabai


Sara Czabai is originally from Hungary. She has been living in Finland for 16 years. She loves to travel and experience new cultures. She hasn’t been everywhere, but it’s on her list. Sara is also an avid amateur photographer. In the summer she does a lot of gardening and binge-reading.

Do you have a specific teaching style?
I like to use a sense of humour in teaching. Nowadays I have to compete for students attention because they have smart phones. It’s not that teachers have the absolute truth anymore because you all have the information – it is out there. So I am here to trigger some interest or motivation and guide in the right direction.

How long did it take you to pick up Finnish?
One year. I went to this course in Kouvolan Ammatillinen Aikuiskoulutuskeskus. It’s really efficient. You learn different subjects like chemistry, mathematics, and geography. If you want to live here you have to learn the language, otherwise you are an outsider.

Do they teach the spoken or written?
They teach strictly the written, so I had to learn the spoken language here. Päivi, one of my dearest colleagues, from the moment I came here, she spoke Finnish so that was a big help.

Then again Hungarian is not exactly an easy language.
No and they are related grammar-wise but that never really helped me except with pronunciation.

For vacations do you prefer the warmer countries?
Yes. It’s not all about the heat really, in Hungary the summer can be easily 35 or 40 degrees. I don’t like that. I like the Finnish summer when it’s 25 but not when it’s 12 and raining. I have to make sure to get two weeks of sun abroad and maybe if I am lucky, I get it also in Finland. We are going to the South of France and Spain so that is what I am waiting for.

Have you used Airbnb before?
Yes I really like it. I would never go to a hotel any more except if I am travelling on business. Hotels are so impersonal and having three kids, it is a lot cheaper for us. Five of us in a hotel in the south of France would cost a fortune.

Will you have to learn any French for that trip?
Well the last time, 2 years ago, Finnish summer started out cold and rainy so my friend in Montpellier mentioned that we could visit. I made a travel plan and we flew over but it was really awkward because we could not order food, even pizza. I’ve learned to outsource the work this time, now my kids are learning the language. I give them time on their iPads to learn Spanish and French.

Which TV shows do you like to watch?
Game of Thrones, Homeland, and Girls. I used to watch The Walking Dead but I stopped because it got too brutal and because it just kept going.

When it comes to gardening what are your favourite plants?
I like flowers. I have a lot of raspberries in my garden. Edible things and also things that just look nice. I’m an aesthetic person.

In Finland my attitude towards good weather has changed because you cannot take it for granted. When there is sunshine you have to go enjoy it because the next day you would not have it. That is not something I had in Hungary because there is good weather every day. Here you have to appreciate every day when the temperature is about 25. They have a separate term for that because it is so rare – helle day.

Leif Heflin

Leif Heflin

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