I come from Oslo, Norway, and we are often told that the culture here is very weird for foreigners. There is even a popular blog that explains how Norway and Norwegian are actually seen from foreigner’s perspective. You should read some of it to get an idea of how we are.
We don’t talk to strangers here, unless we meet them in the middle of nowhere or in the mountains while hiking, skiing or bicycling. We don’t sit down next to someone we know on the bus, even though the seat is available. We complain a lot, but are one of the happiest countries in the world, if not the happiest.
All of these things might seem strange to people from other cultures, but they are in some sense also prejudices. Funnily enough, I have heard the same things about Finland too. The Finns, believe it or not, even have a word for “drinking home alone wearing nothing but underwear”. That tells me, as a Norwegian, that in Finland it is cold and dark most of the time, just like here in Noway.
However, some of the things in my country and culture are great: We are quite good on education, we are generally quite rich, and we are among the leading countries when it comes to gender equality. Just like Finland.
So, how different can it be? My guess is: a lot. This trip will be a great experience for me personally. I have just decided to enroll in a new MA program starting this fall and maybe the FCP program and you guys can provide me with some new perspectives, ideas and knowledge, so I can decide what to do if and when I grow up.
I expect to learn a lot from the FCP programme and the other participants. All of them seem to have diverse backgrounds that are very different from my own. I primarily work with music journalism. When I’m at work you can usually see me sitting across the table from a heavily tattooed person with two beers or coffee cups between us, or at a concert venue barging my way up front.
The best way to learn something from a different culture is to actually go there yourself. We are all in the same situation on that matter, and I look forward to see what Finland has to offer. And hey, I’ve heard that the Flow Festival great – at least the line-up looks awesome this year!