Your Finnish for Foreigners course is over – what now?

When it comes to a Finnish course for international students the course has given you a start in understanding and speaking Finnish. If you do not choose to actively keep up your skills, they will soon be forgotten. You will need those Finnish skills at the latest when you start the second course in the spring of the second year.

TEXT | Päivi Auranen

How can you then continue learning Finnish after the course is over?

Päiväkirja – A diary

Keep a diary in Finnish! Write down the weekday, date and weather every day. Then write what you plan to do and/or what you did. This is guaranteed to work😊. Do show it to the teacher at beginning of the second course as well-if note before.

You can also write short letters or messages, for example, to other learners of Finnish and lists of different groups of items. Name things on post-its and stick those names on items in your house so that you can see them often.

Puhu, puhu – Talk, talk

Naturally, people and language are tightly connected to each other. The best thing then is to talk to people as much as possible. If you do not find a Finn on your own, you can always contact the teacher and s/he can try to help you in finding a language buddy. Practicing Finnish with other non-native language learners is also a good way to develop your skills.

An efficient way to use time is to talk to yourself. Often you do this in your own head, but also do it out loud every now and then. As you go through the day, think about where you are going to (kouluun), where you are (koulussa) what you are doing (luen), what you are eating etc.  Don’t forget to throw in a question every now and then, to an imaginary buddy or yourself😊.

Reflektointi – Reflection

Don’t forget from time to time to stop and think what really helps you in developing the different areas of your language skills. Consider whether you learn best by reading, listening, writing or speaking or by being creative or methodological. Tools like Word’s spelling and grammar check as well as google translate offer lots of possibilities -if you use them so that they actually help you to learn.

Opisto – Community college

When you are in Finland, the first thing you can do is to keep your eyes and ears open and observe the world around you. However, it is not enough. In addition, you can attend a course offered by Kansalaisopisto Alma on Raastuvankatu in Vaasa, or any opisto in Finland that offers evening courses or online courses. (Kansalaisopisto and työväenpisto were born in Finland a long time ago of the need to offer inexpensive possibilities for all to study in their freetime.) Now many opisto-institutions offer courses both on their premises and online. The courses often start in the beginning of September or January, so make sure to enroll as early as possible as the courses can be very popular.

 Alma opisto vaasa – Bing

Tietokone – Computer

Computerized tools will help you with internalizing words and grammar. Duo lingo is freeware that can help you in a fun and rewarding ways- if you keep on using it regularly for short periods of times on most days. Another possible option is WordDive, a learning tool for different languages developed in Finland that has been shown to be effective if used continuously.

Online language courses – learn a new language with WordDive

The world’s best way to learn Finnish – Duolingo

Kirjat ja lehdet – Books newspapers & other print

In addition to your course book, Suomen mestari, you should look at the written word – often with pictures.

The traditional, proven method is to read, for example newspapers, magazines and anything online. Vaasa-lehti, a free newspaper – both on paper and online – as well as  e.g.  Tamperelainen, offer short, current articles on current events and life in the local areas. Even adds can teach you a lot!

 Vaasa-lehti ( (find lue digilehti-read the digital newspaper)

Näköislehti | Tamperelainen

Uutiset ja YLE – The News and YLE

YLE, The Finnish Broadcasting Company, offers lots of high-quality materials. Uutiset, the news, are also broadcast in simple Finnish, selkokielellä. The news, in spoken and written language can teach you about the language and the country. In addition to that, there is material on learning Finnish on the internet and on YLE: supisuomea being one of the very good material packages.

Yle Uutiset selkosuomeksi | Yle Uutiset |

Supisuomea | TV | Areena |

Elokuvat, TV-sarjat, musiikki jne – Films, TV-series and music etc.

Finnish films, programs and music can also help you in learning. Don’t overlook children’s and teenager’s programs and music. Of course, they also show you the Finnish way of life and culture. The best thing is that you can watch the same material over and over again.

Lasten Areena |

Pidä hauskaa – Have fun!

Don’t forget that it’s important to experience positive feelings while studying. Naturally, it also takes effort to memorize new information. However, making an effort to learn can also make you feel good. Don’t forget that learning happens slowly and through repetition. Understanding and knowing the basics of the language is already a valuable skill. Have fun while learning!

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