Vol 25, Issue 08 11 November 2022
I have been coming to Kouvola since mid-September. Over a period of almost two months, I realized the necessity of knowing Finnish. Although, Finns can speak English well. But they prefer to speak in Finnish. That is even more obvious when you are living in small cities like Kouvola. I used to have experience in communicating with Finnish people. In the same incident, if you use English despite Finnish the results you get are different.
When I made the payment at the supermarket cashier, I asked to check the price of the item. The cashier replied, “Sorry I can’t speak English.” Things were different when someone helped me with the offer to check the bill and check the price of the item.
When I wanted to buy a car to facilitate transportation. I went to O.K Auto in Kouvola. I used the English language to communicate with the car seller. He still answered me and made an appointment. But when I came to learn the car at Auto, I used English everything for me was difficult. I asked for a test drive because I already had a driver’s license, and Resident Permit card but I did not have a Finnish ID card. He refused. I asked for a deposit on the car to keep it so that when I had Finnish I could go back to buy the car. He refused. I asked for cash so I could buy a car before I got a Finnish ID. He refused. It is also about buying a car, a friend of mine speaks Finnish, so it was too easy. The test drive, signing the contract, and driving home took only two hours. The seller recommended cheaper insurance plans for her.
When you apply for a job, you will have many opportunities for part-time jobs. That won’t be easy if you only use English. When you communicate in English, Finnish people rarely communicate with you except those who work in the service sector.
But when you use Finnish even if it’s wrong, Finnish people will still enthusiastically talk back to you. They will find ways for you to understand what they are trying to say. I used to be in this case. As I waited for the bus, I tried to strike up a conversation with a woman who was mostly older. Can you believe it, I speak in the part of a child babbling every word, but she was happy to listen. She told me a lot even though I didn’t understand. She tried to speak and gesture so I could understand.
Therefore, try to learn Finnish well even if it is just a language in normal communication. Your integration in Finland as well as in Kouvola will be easier.