Fun fact: Did you know that the famous Finnish epic Kalevala, with its tempo and rhythm, became a source of inspiration for the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem Hiawatha? The interconnectedness of language spans throughout the times and the world, and the more you know, the more you get to be a part of that interconnectedness and draw inspiration from others.
Courses in Finnish social studies, language and culture are presented in ways that help students to grasp the rich heritage of the Finns. Did you know that there are only 11 universities within the USA where you can study Finnish language and culture? The following list includes a few of these universities:
- University of Indiana: undergraduate program in Finnish social studies, language and culture
- University of California, Berkeley: Finnish social studies, language and culture
- University of Washington State: Arts, Sciences and Scandinavian Studies – Finnish
- Columbia University in New York: Finnish language and culture
Finnish social studies and language students will often be a diverse group, each interested in the courses for different reasons. You may find yourself amongst linguists, economists, computer engineers, scientists, environmental ecologists, designers, and artists as you embark on your studies.
There are also a variety of online resources and opportunities available for you to gain a better understanding of Finnish language and culture. Consider connecting with a learning exchange partner at LRNGO, where you can find a native of Finland who can guide you in your language studies and help you gain an understanding of Finnish culture. You can connect locally or online via the web, giving you ample opportunity to find an exchange partner who is right for you.
There are also opportunities for you to learn online for free. Sites like LiveMocha require you to have a free account to access all of their resources, but once you do give you access to free lessons and practices to help strengthen your Finnish. Finnish 101 gives you access to Finnish radio, vocab lists, and exercises so that you have ample opportunity to dive into the language aspect of your studies. Finnish Pod 101 hosts both a YouTube channel and a podcast that will help you get foundational Finnish language skills, and Digital Dialects gives you useful exercises for practice.
Photo Credit: Dennis Jarvis