Language Immersion Courses in Finland

About Language Immersion Courses in Finland

When it comes to language-study destinations, the quiet, comfortable nation of Finland lies unmistakably on the path less traveled. Located in the far reaches of Northern Europe on the Baltic Sea, Finland is a land of midnight sun, Northern Lights, and pristine Arctic wilderness. It also offers the exciting nightlife and cultural sites of its modern and cosmopolitan capital, Helsinki. There are several programs in the country for studying the Finnish language, but naturally far fewer than for more widely-studied languages such as French and Chinese, and students often wonder what the benefit would be of studying the Finnish language.
In fact, there are many reasons to study Finnish. The simplest is its great elegance, beauty, and unfamiliarity to people who have grown up speaking Indo-European languages. Many people study Finnish for its own sake. It is also of great value to linguists and linguistic historians, since the Finnish language is one of the last surviving members of the Finno-Ugric language family that once dominated all of Europe. This language family is far older than Latin, Greek, or any of the other “ancient” languages of the West, and to learn it is to glimpse the remnants of a prehistoric culture predating the rise of European civilization. Finnish is far more closely related to the languages of native Arctic peoples than it is to the languages of neighboring Sweden, Denmark, and Norway.

The second reason why people come to Finland for language schools and language immersion courses is to learn not Finnish but rather the Sami languages spoken among the native peoples of the far north of Finland and Scandinavia. Anthropologists from around the world are fascinated by these people, whose lifestyles have remained more or less unchanged for thousands of years, despite living within the borders of some of the most modern countries in the world. Of course, once you have decided to study Finnish or Sami, it is a necessity to travel to Finland and see these languages being spoken in their natural surroundings.

Many people come to Finland seeking an education in another field of study and find that they need a language course in order to move forward with their studies and with the day-to-day tasks of living and working in Finland. Finland’s universities have world-class programs in a number of fields, particularly environmental studies, architecture, and design, and these programs draw students from a number of other countries. Although instruction is available in English, it is always better to learn the language of the country where you live, and so the universities offer immersion courses in Finnish to students in all of their programs.

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