Life in Finland

The people were genuinely friendly, the food was great, and the life was easy to adjust to. Erica from MI, Summer Program
Even if the Finns seem a little cold or quiet, that's just their nature. They do care about you and are there if you need them. You need to make the first move though. Lisa from MN, Year Program
Spend your time with the locals if you want to know the culture. It is very easy to walk away not having learned a single Finnish word. Their English is superb, so you will need to try hard at Finnish. Participate in host family activities! Even if it's just eating or watching TV together. Michelle from NM, Semester Program
Finns feel uncomfortable if you bring up emotionally thick topics.Michelle from NM, Semester Program
Finns don't use dryers so don’t take soft fabric clothes as they won't be soft after they get washed. Finns also don't use bath loofas (scrubby things) so I recommend you take one. Michelle from NM, Semester Program
Pack your winter clothes in your suitcase! We thought we could ship mine, but taxes to Finland are extremely high and my family couldn't afford to ship them. Its worth being part of your 20kg limit! Sarah from PA, Year Program
It is an amazing experience that should not be taken advantage of! Finland is such a beautiful country, and the Finnish people are completely amazing and wonderful! Sairanny from MA, Summer Program

The Essentials

All Programs


Language Requirements

Year and Semester High School Programs
AFS Finland offers some elementary Finnish to the students at the regional post-arrival orientations held 1-3 weeks after students' arrival.  AFS Finland subsidizes students' additional language studies during their exchange year.  Students are advised to participate in a Finnish or Swedish course offered by the local community college with the exception that if no language courses are available in the community, a high-quality language material will be provided to the students for self-learning.  Some host schools also offer Finnish classes for the exchange students.

Digging Deeper

Language Resources
Cultural Resources
News and Media
Movies and Documentaries
  • The Finland Phenomenon (2011)
  • Mother of Mine (2005)
  • Mielensäpahoittaja(2014)
  • Borrowing Matchsticks (1980)
  • The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki (2016)
  • Helsinki, Forever (2008)
  • The Man Without a Past (2002)
  • Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
  • Steam of Life (2010)
  • Ricky Rapper (2008)
Books
  • Maresi. Krönikor från röda klostret (2014)
  • Under the North Star (1959-1962)
  • Seitsemän veljestä (1870)
  • The Year of the Hare (1975)
  • Kalevala (1835)
  • The Seven Brothers (1870)
  • Mr. Boo (2002)
  • The Moomins (1945-1993)
  • A Concise History of Finland (2006)
  • The Finnish Cookbook (1964)
  • The Unknown Soldier (1975)
LGBTQ Resources (Diversity) Heritage and Ethnicity Resources (Diversity)
Note: The links and resources listed in "Digging Deeper" have been provided to AFS by people involved with our organization, including alumni members, volunteers, etc. AFS has not reviewed the resources in their entirety and presents them "as is" for your own information. As such, the sites, publications, films, etc. do not necessarily reflect the approval of nor the views, opinions, and/or values of AFS.