1. How did you get to know about the studying in Slovakia? How did all of it start?
It all started when Katka and Bohdan came to Finland give lectures to our class in spring 2010. It was really interesting. Next autumn when we needed to decide where to have practical training our teacher mentioned that the place where the Slovak teachers are from is also possible option. Last spring we had a chance to meet Adrian, Bohdan and Tomas in our school and then we got to know what our practice is about and that we can also have some theological studies.
2. What convinced you for study just in Slovakia?
The lectures what we had with Katka and Bohdan was the first thing what convinced me.
3. What did you do before you decided to come to Slovakia?
I studied in our school Diak, where I study to become bachelor of social services and church youth worker and kindergartner.
4. What is different between studying in Finland and studying in Slovakia? What is similar?
Most of our studies are social studies and we have practical trainings almost every semester. We’d like to have much more theological courses in our school but unfortunately it’s not possible because our social studies. What’s similar is that we become youth workers.
5. What was the most difficult thing about studying in Slovakia?
I think the language is difficult ‘cause you can’t study in your own language. You have to use english. When you work with Slovak kids you have to find your own language with them ‘cause they don’t know english so well and you don’t know Slovak. And it concerns also all living there ‘cause in stores, post office, restaurants and etc. people don’t know english. This is also a big challenge.
6. You studied the “missionary work” on the Bible school. Where are you seeing the benefits of this studying, personally for you
When I came to Slovakia I thought that this is just a short practise abroad. I have never felt like going do work or missionary abroad, but after this three months I found myself thinking seriously going abroad to do missionary work. I’d like to do work for Jesus and for others.
7. What is most difficult for a Finnish girl in Slovakia?
The hardest part was that I had to use my language skills. I’ve always been afraid of using my english ‘cause I’ve felt so unsure of my skills. Now I know that I don’t have to be afraid of using my english, but still I have to train it more.
8. What did you become accustomed to most quickly?
I got used to Slovak culture quite quickly. First it was strange that people aren’t always on time and people aren’t stressing about little things. I learnt that I don’t need to rush anywhere.
9. About what did you say “I can not to change it” and you didn’t worry about it more?
Hah. I’ve always thought that I want only date Finnish men and now it’s not problem anymore if my future boyfriend or husband would be foreigner. And for me it was also big problem being late somewhere. I’m used to be always on time. In Finland if I was late it was huge problem and it could ruin my entire day even though it was only five minutes.
10. How was your welcome in Slovakia as a Finnish person?
Everyone was so kind and understanding when we came to Slovakia. It was great that there were people who gave us advice about how to live in Slovakia ,like “Where I can buy food? What is a good store? etc.”
11. Are you getting used to Slovak mentality?
Yes, I am. Now I can find some Slovak mentality even in myself.
12. What are the differences between Slovak and Finnish mentalities?
I think the Slovak are open people and much more polite than Finns. Finns aren’t so outgoing and they’re shy and that might seem rude to some foreign people. It’s not that, it’s just Finnish mentality.
13. What about your study at the Bible school made you happiest?
I’m very glad that I choose to study in Slovakia. I know now more about the Bible and I had also chance to get to know God better. We have a great and awesome God.
14. Do you have some funny stories, I mean the story of your service?
Well I’d like to tell that I enjoyed every moment I was there and I really improved my language skills. This didn’t happen during my service, but that happened in first day in Finland after service in Slovakia. I went to buy new wintershoes ‘cause there’s already snow in Finland and Converses are not the best shoes for that weather. I found the shoes that I wanted and then I went to pay them to the shop assistant. First word I said to her was happy “Hi!” (in Finland when we want to say hello we say “Moi!”). Then I realized that I said it in english;, well maybe now I need to improve my finnish.
15. Would you like to say something at the end? Some notice for our readers?
I’d like to say that the Slovakia isn’t the first country which comes to your mind if you’d like to travel somewhere, but I think it should be. It was all worth it and I’m definitely coming back some day. Maybe next year? Thank you for everything. I love you and your country.
You can also read about Taru Heikkonen >>>