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Hej!

My name is Sofia and I come from the land where polar bears walk around in the streets. Well, that is what people think at least. In Finland we do not have any polar bears, but the rest you’ve heard about my country is probably true. Finland is a country where karaoke is popular, way too much alcohol is consumed, and where people go naked together in the sauna. What you may not know is that Finland has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish, and I belong to the minority that speaks Swedish.

Whenever I meet people they get really confused since I am from Finland but I speak Swedish. I have never lived in Sweden and neither of my parents are Swedish, Swedish just happens to be my mother tongue. And yes, I do cheer for Finland if I watch a sports game, which rarely happens.

I was born in a city with 9000 people in the south of Finland. This may not be a city by American standards, but then again there are cities bigger here than the entire population of Finland. I had a happy childhood in that city and whenever I felt suffocated there, my friends and I would take the train into the capital, Helsinki.

Even when I was a child I loved adventures, although my adventures at that time only took me to my neighbor’s garden or, on a really brave day, to the playground. Now that I am older, my adventures have taken me here, to Willamette University. Since I am only allowed to stay here for one semester I will probably continue the academic year by embarking on an adventure someplace else in Europe.

Back home in Finland I’m studying to become a primary school teacher. Whenever I tell people my future profession they say that it will suit me and that they can see me as a teacher. Even the people I’ve just met here at Willamette pointed this out. I do not quite see it, but I know that I will love to work with children.  My dream is to work in an international school or in a school with an immersion program. Here at Willamette I do not study any subject in particular; I just chose all the courses that sounded like fun. My favorites so far are ballet and French.

My first month here at Willamette has been wonderful. I have made friends with people from all over the world, learned a lot about different cultures, and experienced a lot. I love that fact that I do not only learn about the American culture, but also about the cultures of my new friends.  In return I hope I can give people an insight to the culture of Alvar Aalto, Mika Häkkinen and Sibelius.

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