Anyone Want to Learn Finnish?

Photo by PoPville flickr user [F]oxymoron

“Dear PoP,

This is a totally random question but I feel that you get much more off-the-wall requests/inquiries, so I am not shy. I recently learned that GW hosts FREE foreign language courses ($100 deposit and you must attend a certain # per semester to get your deposit back – they want to ensure people actually attend classes and care i guess). Here is their website:

I was brought up speaking Finnish in my family, but since going off to college, moving to DC, becoming lazy and conversing/emailing in english with my family, etc, I have lost all fluency, and dont know that I could carry on a conversation in Finnish with anyone but my mother, who accepts every other word being english. I emailed the GW program asking if they were planning on providing finnish courses as they were not listed in their directory. I got a great response saying in fact, starting in January they will start a course, if enough people sign up. Enough people = 5 people. They told me they haven’t had much inquiry about Finnish and that if I could help bring more people to the course (my Finnish friends) that would be a great help. Problem is, I know no one in DC that has any background/interest in learning the Finnish language.

Do you (or readers) have any suggestions as to where I could reach out to a potential population for this type of thing? Cultural groups, blogs, etc that cater to different backgrounds/languages, etc. I would love to take advantage of something like this, but wouldn’t even know where to begin my small recruitment. Also thought people would be interested in this great program. My friend who took French said it is a complete immersion into the language, and they provide different levels of courses.”

I love questions like this. Anyone have a good suggestion of how to rally a group of students wishing to learn Finnish?

33 Comment

  • I tried to get the same thing going for Greek classes, but at the time I couldn’t get enough other people interested. I ended up paying a decent amount for classes at a Greek Orthodox Church, which has worked out fine, but this would have been cheaper if they were offering the class at the time.

  • $100 for GW students, faculty, staff and alumni

    $150 for non-GW affiliates.

    There is a $10 convenience charge, which will not be reimbursed unless you end up not taking the class. The $10 fee helps us cover PayPal and other processing fees.

  • You should call up the Finnish Embassy and see if they’re interested in helping you round up some people (assuming they don’t offer their own classes, of course).

    Good luck!

    • Do the embassies typically offer classes?

      • I don’t imagine any except the biggest embassies would offer anything in-house, but they may already be affiliated with a specific school, like say the German embassy and the Goethe Institut.

  • Could you post an ad on Craigslist?

  • finnish embassy? college study abroad offices? returned peace corps volunteers?

    • If GW isn’t advertising it well enough you could put up fliers or something around campus. This sounds like something college students would love, and a GW student should be able to come up with $100 easily.

    • Why would the Peace Corps go to Finland? They’re a richer, more developed country than the US is.

      • not that RPCVS would have been in Finland (if they had, they would know the language already and wouldn’t need classes) but that they are a group that might be interested in learning languages.

  • I once took a Scandinavian language course, but I couldn’t Finnish it.

  • Is this an entry level course or an advanced course?

  • The GWU course sounds great, but if you don’t succeed in rallying enough people for it you may want try The lessons are on Saturday mornings somewhere in NoVa (sorry, don’t know where exactly). A few Finnish American friends have attended the classes and liked it a lot.

  • Anyone want to learn Hindi with me? I did the first Pimsleur course last year and found the language to be surprisingly intuitive.

    • Actually I was thinking about trying GLN’s Hindi class if it’s offered in Jan! I have no background in the language though, so I’m aiming for a Beg. I class. Not sure if that helps…

  • I forwarded the response from gw about the course to the finnish embassy, no response yet. Thankyou for the suggestions!

  • I’m Finn too. Call the embassy…maybe we can practice in the embassy sauna.

  • Are these classes typically offered after work hours?

  • Hey, I’m down for Finnish. It’ll be fun. I’m signing up at GLN and indicating Finnish as my top preference.

  • This would be an easy course to start, but probably tough to finish. wacka wacka

  • I am totally interested, but I will be heading back to school on Jan 17th. I studied abroad in Finland,but with few people speaking it around me, I am out of practice. Let me know if that helps.

  • My friend said that the three semesters of courses she took in french were all evening or weekend courses, catering to professionals. The courses would start January 31.

  • Dude, I am in!!…depending on what days classes are offered. I am pretty new though. My Finnish teacher is moving back to Finland, so I am looking for a new one. Tell me what I should do!

  • Hey – what about Danish?
    Anyone want to get people to speak Danish? I took it every day for 2 hours while I lived there and would love to keep it going – and $150 is a good deal.

    I can’t do Finnish – now THAT language is hard.

  • I’m a Finn and I’m in! Hyvaa Joule (Merry Christmas) everyone!

  • Search for a Finnish language meetup.

  • Just FYI, GW Alumni can audit pretty much any class for about $100. (except learning to play instruments, and maybe some others)

    Yes, it’s a bit higher than ‘free’, but for anyone who cares to take a certain class, hundred bucks isn’t an issue.

    This is a nice reminder. I think I will sign up for Spanish.

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