Language cafes and learning with a friend
Language cafés are organised by many different organisations and associations. The idea of a language café is that you get to chat about all kinds of things in Finnish. It is also an opportunity to meet new people. You can go to a language café even if you don’t speak a lot of Finnish: you could start by talking about the weather or how your day is going, or just by practicing how to introduce yourself. Later, you could talk about things like current events.
In many cities, language cafés are organised by the Finnish Red Cross as well as many other organisations and municipalities. If you want to go to a language café, you can look for information by searching for local language cafés (e.g. Tampere + language café / kielikahvila).
Another good idea is having a language café at your workplace, for example once a week during the workday! Anyone can take the initiative to organise a workplace language café: a supervisor or employee, a person learning Finnish or a native speaker of Finnish.
Many higher education institutions organise tandem courses or Each One Teach One courses. These courses will match you with a Finnish person who is interested in learning your native language or about the culture of your country. Your match will guide you through Finnish language and culture. When you complete pre-agreed assignments, you could also get study credits for your efforts. Check what your higher education institution offers! You should also check out this UniTandem learning option.
Where can you find a Finnish friend?
You can look for a Finnish friend from many places.
- One option to find a friend is online at kaverihaku.net. The site allows you to look for friends from different age groups all around Finland.
- Note that if you have children, you should participate in your child’s hobby by chatting with other parents and helping with volunteer work when there is something to sell, a cake to bake and so on. This way, you can also make new friends through your child’s hobby.
- The Finnish Red Cross or the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare (MLL) may organise friend activities for immigrants.
- Facebook groups for city districts
Your city district will probably have a designated Facebook group or separate groups for local dog owners or parents, for example e.g. Roihuvuoren isät ja äidit (Parents in Roihuvuori) or Roihuvuoren koiruudet (Dog owners in Roihuvuori) or Roihuvuoren Fillaristit (Cyclists in Roihuvuori) or Tiederoihu (Science activities in Roihuvuori). Ask your local district group if there is a specialised group in the area. Don’t hesitate to post a personal ad, for example: Hi, I moved here six months ago. I would like to meet new people. If you are 20 to 30 years old and want to join me for a walk or to the cinema, message me!
Chat with a Finn (paid service)
Opeton is a company offering a service where you can chat in Finnish for a monthly fee. Learn more on their website.
Pick out at least one tip from each of these lists on how to learn Finnish during your free time. You can find more tips for language learning on the website of the Centre for Multilingual Academic Communication (MOVI).
Language mentor as a helper to higher education students
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©2023 Aija Elg and Emmi Pollari and Taija Udd
Everyday language learning, April 2023, by Aija Elg and Emmi Pollari and Taija Udd, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The material can be found at kielibuusti.fi