Only two weeks to go

My first contact with Finland was placed under the family Christmas tree in 2003: a Nokia 3510. It was indestructible and kept me company for nearly seven years.

Finland is not only famous for its innovative cell phones although the country is – geographically – on the fringe of Europe. Finland was and still is one of the world’s leading nations for innovation and technology. The energizing Helsinki is already more than an insiders’ tip for business founders.

I would love to discover how Finland did it, cemented its status, and how politics have helped smoothing the way for a lively start-up scene with investments in research, development and education.

I am really happy that I will get this chance soon: Only two weeks to go!

Every day I am getting more excited. I love to travel, but to travel as a journalist means so much more to me: I get to see the country from a different perspective that I would never have experienced just by following a guidebook. I get the possibility to meet interesting people and familiarize myself with the most current local topics.

Fabienne Kinzelmann
Fabienne Kinzelmann

We are 22 highly motivated journalists attending this year’s thisisFINLAND Foreign Correspondents’ Programme and we are already discussing and sharing our thoughts on Facebook. Which interviewees would be interesting? Is everybody able to swim in case we are going to the archipelago by boat?

There are news and updates on the programme nearly every week. Accreditation for the awesome Flow Festival? Check. A meeting with the President of the Republic ? Organized. I am longing for finishing my thesis and reading all the stuff the Finnish Embassy in Berlin gave me to prepare for the trip.

While I was living in Bologna for a semester abroad, I met a Finnish girl called Emmi. We went to the university together and we often had coffee after class. When we were sitting together with people from all over the world, I often thought that we have more in common than what I had thought in the beginning.

But once, when we were eating one of the typical Italian pastries, Emmi told me that she’s totally not used to the Italian cuisine. I could completely understand her craving for dark bread – but besides that I didn’t know anything else about the Finnish cookery.

Actually, I didn’t know anything about Finnish traditions, culture or the typical way of life. In that way, Finland was like a blank page to me – and I love getting the opportunity now to explore Finnish culture for a few weeks. Besides my usual focus on education, start-ups, technology and career options, I’m more than curious to spend a whole weekend with a Finnish family.

I would still love to have my Nokia 3510 with me – and not just for the awesome battery life, which would need charging only once or twice a week. But there is one reason why I wouldn’t want to be without my smartphone: I can report immediately and share my thoughts, podcasts, videos and photos on social networks and on my blog. There you can find small pieces which will be the substratum for a lot of articles for several media at home, and also – in the best case – it allows people to follow me around.

Fabienne - Germany

Author: Fabienne - Germany

Fabienne Kinzelmann is a freelance journalist, who writes for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Spiegel Online and WiWo Gründer, to name a few. She is especially interested in Finnish startup success stories, technology and travel. “My first contact with Finland was placed under the family Christmas tree in 2003: a Nokia 3510. It was indestructible and kept me company for nearly seven years.”

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