Finland Through Jane Takeda’s Eyes



Jane Takeda, a former AHS student, has been living in Finland for the past five months, completely submerged in the Parolan Lukio school where she is learning through the Finnish school system.

Since she began school, Takeda has noticed many differences between high school in the U.S. and Finland. Takeda is in her second year at Parolan Lukio, a high school in southern Finland. There are only three years in Finnish high schools and in each year there are six different periods. Each period is six weeks long. Each class in a period, because they’re so short, is focused on a specific subject.  An example would be a Biology class focused on genetics. At the end of each period you get new classes, and a new schedule. In the weekly schedule students have class five times a week for forty-five minutes each class. Also, homework is not mandatory, and has no effect on your grade because your final grade is the score you get on the final exam. The last difference is that there are no sports, or clubs.

The Finnish people, along with their food, are not all that different from that of the U.S.. The most dominant difference in the people is the Finnish language because it is so different from English. As for food, according to Takeda the average diet consists mostly of potatoes, dairy, ground beef, and vegetables. There are also a large number of Kebab, and Thai food restaurants because of large Middle Eastern, and Thai communities.

Because of Finland’s position on the globe, the sun rises at about 9:30, and sets around 3:45 during this time of year. This means that during school days Takeda goes to school in the dark, and gets out in the dark. Along with the lack of sun light comes the lack of heat. According to Takeda the temperature during the day is between thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit, and forty-one degrees Fahrenheit. when the sun sets the temperature drops to between twenty-six Fahrenheit, and thirty-five Fahrenheit. To most this would seem cold, but to Takeda it’s paradise.

When most people think of other places around the world that they might like to go to school they usually think of places in Europe such as Paris and London. However, for Takeda it was a completely different story. “The main reason that I picked Finland was that I really didn’t know that much about it,” the sixteen year-old says. Curiosity was the main reason she listed Finland as one of her first choices. Along with curiosity was that she likes to ski, and she prefers cold weather over hot.

Along with all these pros, Takeda has discovered Finland’s natural beauty. One of her favorite places is a boat dock on a nearby lake. Her and her friends will often ride their bikes there to enjoy a warm drink and some cookies. Another one of her favorite places to visit is Hame Castle, a medieval castle that is said by Finnish historians to be originally constructed during the early part of the 14th century, and has served as a prison, but it has been a museum since 1988. Because Finland’s public transportation so good, and not to expensive, she can easily go sight seeing, and shopping with her friends in other cities of Finland. So far she has visited Helsinki, Lahti, Hameenlinna and Tampere.

In her spare time, Takeda likes to travel, knit, and bake with friends. She is also learning Finish, and although difficult, she is determined to become fluent.