Finland is a scenic country with pristine natural landscapes of forests and lakes. As it is a northern country, during the summer time, the sun barely sets and during the winter, the sun barely rises.
There is no language requirement to apply for an exchange to Finland, however a motivation to learn Finnish is a must!
The Finnish school system has been consistently ranked as one of the best in the world. The school year in Finnish high schools begins in mid-August and ends in early June. School vacations include an Autumn vacation in September-October as well as 2 weeks of Christmas vacation and a 1 week long ‘skiing break’ in February-March.
Students attend a lukio (the Finnish Senior High School) which allows students to take a variety of subjects. You will have the option of learning a number of foreign languages such as Swedish, German, French, Spanish amongst others as well as Art, Music or Sports.
The school year is divided into 6 terms, each of which has a different schedule. Students get the opportunity to choose courses for each term, making school life varied and interesting.
Many families live in large apartment complexes in towns and enjoy all modern conveniences. In the countryside, separate houses are more typical. Many families also have a summer cottage in the countryside where they spend most of their weekends especially in the summer time, sometimes even throughout the year.
In some Finnish families grandparents might be living in the same home (the traditional way), while other families will be visited by their elderly relatives only a couple of times a year. At Christmas time families usually get together. A family Christmas (Joulu) get-together can be up to 20 people. Another important event for families during the year is Juhannus, midsummer at the end of June, which families will usually spend in the countryside if possible.
In Finland family roles are not clearly defined. The equality between spouses is highly respected. You will most likely see your host father ironing his own shirts and/or host mother mowing the lawn. A mother can be the head of the family as well as a father, it really depends on the family. In most families both spouses work outside home. Because of parents’ long working days, the children are expected to help with household chores (such as washing the dishes, keeping rooms tidy, shopping and more).
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