Getting acquainted with post-Nokia Finland

So what has changed within the last 12 years in Finland? This is a question I kept hearing from Finns during my FCP alumni week in Finland; the question I also occasionally asked myself while meeting various people and enjoying life in Helsinki or Rovaniemi.

Strangely enough, the last time I visited Finland was 12 years ago in 2004. (Perhaps, because of living close to Finland, a delusive feeling ...  (continue reading)

Experiences of conducting interviews in Helsinki

What a day was yesterday! During the FCP every day something new and unexpected happens. The programme is so dense that it feels as if we arrived here many days ago already, but in fact Wednesday was only the third day of our stay here.

In addition to the common meetings, we also started to work on our individual assignments. I remember in 1998 one of the several striking moments was to interview ...  (continue reading)

Reinventing the news with Finland’s public broadcaster Yle

“Welcome to Yle, I am Miss World!” That is how we were greeted at Yleisradio Oy, Finland’s national public-broadcasting company. Miss World is called Elina Ravantti in real life. The nickname derives from her position as Head of World News and Current Affairs at Yle, where she oversees the production of 220 radio and TV news bulletins per day. Her editors work in Finnish, Swedish, Sami, English, ...  (continue reading)

Education and equity: twin pillars of Finnish culture

Platitudes about education are not hard to find. Education is “the key to success in life”. It is lauded as “our greatest natural resource” and proclaimed to be “the single most important job of the human race”.

But all this implies that education is a uniform, unchanging force for good. Far from it: education is shape-shifting and can serve myriad purposes, whether indoctrination or ...  (continue reading)

Discovered… A Home Away from Home

1. A preference of harmony in people’s relation to their surroundings, both natural and social.
2. Getting along with others is important.
3. A consensus-building decision-making process is strongly preferred.
4. Work is a value in itself, not just what can be gained by working.
5. Be punctual, persevering, frugal and prudent.
6. Pay attention to details!

Which country do you imagine when you hear ...  (continue reading)

A brief resumé of Finland

For the newcomer to Finland, this day 1 of FCP 2016 could have been a perfect introduction to the art of Finnishness. For the 12 of us – some of us being here for the first time in 20, 18 or 7 years – we could finally catch up with the country and jump straight into it.

A short briefing with Kai Mykkänen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, updated us on current affairs with ...  (continue reading)

Coming home to Finnish nature

One day in Finland and I already feel like I’ve come home to an old friend, even if we are both a little older and wiser. Catching a tram through Helsinki with a gaggle of international journalists, all chatting in a score of languages about current affairs, was as stimulating as the first time I tried it, back on the Foreign Correspondent’s Programme in 2010. It was also a little bittersweet ...  (continue reading)

Rediscovering Finland’s charm and virtues

I had the good fortune to be selected as an FCP participant in 2013, and it was then that I had my first full experience of the sauna, of salmon, and of course Santa Claus. I enjoyed the whimsy of Marimekko and sampled a tenderloin of reindeer meat cooked to perfection with eighteen of my newfound friends. These pleasant experiences and many more have stayed with me, but so have the values that ...  (continue reading)

New directions

I must admit it, I knew nothing about Finland before I had the chance to come here for the first time thanks to the Foreign Correspondent’s Program in 2013. Well, I should say almost nothing. I had seen Aki Kaurismäki’s “The Man Without a Past” and I had heard that there were lots of forests. It is for sure what one can call a very basic – shall I say weak ? – ...  (continue reading)

The key to a happy life

It’s been five years since I first visited Finland and I haven’t stopped talking about this wonderful place since, but it’s only now that I am poised to return that I’ve sat down to think about why I was so entranced by this country of deep snow and endless summers, of moomins and Marimekko, which strikes me as a country where its inhabitants seem to have figured out the ...  (continue reading)