Finland, or “Suomi” in Finnish, is the northern country in Europe. Finland is a Scandinavian country and has borders with Sweden, Norway and Russia. Finland is a democratic republic governed by Mr. Sauli Niinistö since 2012 and is part of the European Union.
One third of its territory is in the arctic circle. The country is heavily forested and has thousands of lakes. Most of the territory is flat, the highest point is the Halti mount which is 1 328m high. It has a population of 5,5 million which is not much compare to its territory (338 419 km²). Most of the population live in the Helsinki area (1,4 million) where most of its GDP come from.
I went in Finland during the winter. Winter begins in November and last for 100 – 200 days, which is the longest season. In the North of Finland, there is a part of the winter called the “Polar night” when the sun does not rise at all. The Polar night last for 51 days. In Helsinki, where I lived, the days lasts 6 hours long during winter. Besides, it snows almost every day. It even snowed in May this year. The temperature can go down to -35°C in Helsinki and –50° C in Lapland.
The rest of the country is almost inhabited, there are a lot of forests, lakes and national parks. Finnish people love to go on vacation in their cottage in the middle of nowhere. My friends and I had the chance to have a true finnish experience during a road trip in the region of thousands of lakes.
5,29% of the population speaks Swedish and 0,04% speaks Sami. Swedish is Finland’s second official language. It was part of the Swedish kingdom until 1917 and this year Finland celebrated its 100 years’ anniversary of independency. The Sami where the first inhabitants of Finland and some of them still live mainly in the North of Finland.
Finland is well-known for its design, innovation, saunas, music festivals (Jazz, metal and Hip-Hop), and its gastronomy. Finns are tech people, they have invented many amazing things such as the text message, the heart rate monitor, Linux etc. Besides, they are also the creator of Angry Birds (by Rovio) and Clash of Clans (by Supercell), 2 famous smartphone games.
Finland is also one of the top country for gender equality; 25% of board members in Finnish companies are women and they are the best country for working women.
Besides, the number of crimes and accidents is very low and keep decreasing every year in Finland. They also have very few inmates in jail and few homeless people. It is also the least corrupted country in the world and the most honest. That is why Finland has one of the highest Human Development Index (HDI) which is around 0,88.
My favorite area in Finland is Lapland in the Arctic Circle where I had the chance to travel. Reindeers, Santa Claus, northern lights, huskies, frozen lakes etc. And many breathtaking landscapes. It is also the coldest area of Finland; the temperature can drop to -50° C in the winter. I also had the opportunity to swim in the Arctic Ocean (only for a few seconds) which was an amazing experience.
Finland is a beautiful and surprising country and that is why I wanted to spend my semester there.