Finland, I won’t let you down!

As a Korean reporter specializing in education Finland obviously is an attractive country to explore. In fact, Finland might be the best place to experience and learn about high quality education. The Finnish education system is actually the biggest reason why I wanted to participate in thisisFINLAND Foreign Correspondents’ Programme.

Korean education has gained international reputation – thanks to our smart and superior students. Yet Korean students are a product of a fragile, old-fashioned education system which has never really changed since Korea was part of the Japanese colony in 1910.

Even bad education systems can force students to be smart, but at the same time these systems can cause many problems. In Korea there are more young people committing crimes, the number of students’ suicides is increasing and there are youth mental problems.

The situation makes me a bit worried. Every time I visit a school and collect data or interview public or private education managers my mind is focused on this single idea: ‘This has to change, once and for all.’

Finland is getting famous in Korea not only for Xylitol and the Moomin but also for education. There are Finnish textbooks translated to Korean, believe it or not! Finland is known as a country that is able to educate its people as brilliantly as Korea but with far more gentle methods. One could say that Korean education can literally ‘make’ people smart, but it tends not to care how to keep them happy. This is the reason why Koreans (including me!) are eager to learn from Finnish education.

Yumi Jeung
Yumi Jeung

I began this post with pretty serious issues, but I will now move on to a lighter topic: my short but unforgettable visit to Helsinki!

In 2009 I was an exchange student in Sweden which also was my first experience in Northern Europe. In December 2009 I visited Helsinki where I was busy observing people and enjoying the atmosphere. My first expression was that there was a lot of white snow, but I was also able to notice the kindness of the Finns. It seemed like people in Finland really knew how to respect each other. I felt that the atmosphere in Helsinki was calm and happy. Furthermore, I of course fell in love with Finnish salmon dishes.

This is the first time the Republic of Korea is among the participating countries in the FCP and I am really honored to be the first Korean. I am completely ready to absorb as much information as I can. This experience will open a new chapter in my life.

I feel like a warrior with a great mission. Now all I have to do is to enjoy and learn from Finland and feel the Finnish spirit. That is my mission and my chance. I feel invincible. Finland, I won’t let you down!

Author: Yumi - Republic of Korea

Yumi Jeung works for a major newspaper in the Republic of Korea, and specialises in education. Yumi has studied in Sweden, and visited Helsinki briefly. “I have only been to Helsinki once, but the memory is strong. My first impression started with snow: white snow everywhere.”

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