News about internationalisation


Heavy metal attracts students of Finnish to intensive language courses in Finland

More than 500 foreign students have been studying Finnish in Finland during this summer. Just under 200 of them are university students of Finnish around the world, who have a chance to hone their skills in an authentic setting. The rest are Erasmus students on beginners’ courses: they will start their exchange period in Finnish higher education in the autumn. The courses are organised by CIMO in collaboration with Finnish institutions of higher education around the country, the northernmost site being Rovaniemi.

A recent survey by CIMO shows that the greatest motivation behind foreign students’ university-level studies of Finnish is heavy metal music. Other key incentives are friends and family relations, Finnish rally driving, ice hockey and the Moomins.

These fans of Finland were offered five intensive courses of differing levels on Finnish language and culture in Jyväskylä, Oulu, Savonlinna, Tampere and Vaasa. A whole new course was launched in Helsinki on contemporary Finnish literature, which added Finnish culture and literature to the existing syllabus of language practice and grammar revision. The course also provided the students with general Finland-related knowledge.

Finnish is available in around 100 universities in 30 countries. Russia and Germany have the most universities offering Finnish Studies, but university teaching of Finnish has a long tradition in other European countries and the United States too. In addition to intensive summer courses, CIMO promotes Finnish Studies by, for example, sending Finnish teachers to universities abroad.

Language studies boost Erasmus exchange

Erasmus Intensive Language Courses are beginners’ level courses for exchange students in a less widely used and less taught European language. Finnish is one of these languages.

Of the incoming Erasmus students, 352 participated in intensive Finnish courses, while 32 were immersed in Swedish. These courses are arranged in nine Finnish institutions of higher education, in Helsinki, Joensuu, Oulu, Rovaniemi, Tampere, Turku and Vaasa. Joensuu also hosts a course specially designed for Hungarian Erasmus students. Most of the courses are funded by the European Commission and the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, but the Hungarian students’ course is financed by businesses and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Germans top the list of Erasmus students who wish to learn Finnish. They are followed by higher education students from Spain, the Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, France, Austria, Estonia and Hungary.

(4 July 2012)

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