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)

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)

The holy Finnish public school you will not find in France

At the entry of the classroom, there is a string of small tidy shoes. That gives a feeling that we are in a holy place. For those barefooted 7-year-old children, this ritual turns the school into a very significant place – even if they probably haven’t realized it yet.

We are at Viikki School, and so: that was true. Everything you have heard about Finnish schools is here, in this place that could ...  (continue reading)

Education is rigorous fun for Finns

Ever since the quiet and soft-spoken nation of Finland was placed in the spotlight because of its educational system thanks to its PISA results, the whole world has been wondering what makes Finland so good in education.

I got my first answer without even asking. “We are very good at reading! People here learn to read even before they go to school,” a young Finn told me. To me, it seems like ...  (continue reading)

Following my heart to Finland

“I must apply to this programme. It is a must!”

This is the first thing that crossed my mind and heart when I heard about thisisFINLAND Foreign Correspondents’ Programme. And I am really happy that I got accepted. This programme provides a perfect opportunity to build a global network of colleagues whose hearts also beat for new adventures.

I’ve written some articles about Finland ...  (continue reading)

How different can it be?

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 ...  (continue reading)

Bring your questions – I’ll bring mine!

“What do you know about Finland?” a friend asked me recently. I had just told him I was lucky enough to go there for three weeks this summer.

“Quite a bit,” I replied confidently.

I listed the staggering statistics: world-leading in press freedom, gender equality and transparency. Not doing too badly in education either.

My friend seemed impressed.

“The landscape is jaw-dropping, the standard ...  (continue reading)

Finland, the pioneer in gender equality

Gender equality is one of the issues that I focus the most on as a journalist. I think that gender equality is a human right and an important element in the society. It is also a precondition for advancing development and reducing poverty. I believe that empowered women could give a huge positive impact for a country.

Yet gender equality remains an unfulfilled promise in my country Indonesia. On ...  (continue reading)

Success stories over a cup of coffee

Ethiopia and Finland definitely are worlds apart, except for one thing: coffee. Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee and Finland consumes a good amount of this delightful beverage.

My knowledge about Finland doesn’t go past several development indexes and annual reports in which the country seems to top almost all the time. Sectors such as education, health and freedom of press seem to be just ...  (continue reading)

Packed my insect repellent and enthusiasm – ready to go!

When I hear the word Finland, education and mosquitoes are the first words that come to my mind.

Finland is the country with the best public education in the world and a role model in the field of technology for educational purposes.

Speaking of mosquitoes, Finland humorously reminds me of them because many friends have told me about their encounters with Finnish mosquitoes.

All jokes aside, this is ...  (continue reading)