Lappeenranta has been gaining some momentum among international communities in the recent years, which has resulted in an influx of international students, as well as exchange students to the educational institutions in the city. We at Lyskari set out to find out what sort of international background do the students here have and what languages do they speak.

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Jonna and I’m from Germany; I’m sixteen, and I’m here for five months almost six months, from August to January.” -Jonna

I’m Charlotte and I’m 17. I live in a small village, near Nice, in the South of France. I like reading and making music.” -Charlotte

So I’m Lena and I’m seventeen and I live in Marseille which is in the South of France.” -Lena

I’m Blaise and I currently live in Lappeenranta, but am from Rwanda. I play football, but also like playing basketball and video games.” -Blaise

What languages do you speak?

“I speak German as my mother tongue, and I speak English, which I learned in school.” -Jonna

“I speak French, English, Italian and I’ve learnt a little bit of Finnish. I’m also starting to learn Spanish by myself.” -Charlotte

“I speak French, English and little bit of German.” -Lena

I speak Kinyarwanda, my native language, English and Nyanja.” – Blaise 

Hungarian.” – Marton

Would you like to tell us about your international background and how you ended up in Lappeenranta?

“The organization lets you pick a lot of different countries, and if you pick more than one country the chance of getting an exchange is higher. I wanted to come to Finland because I’ve never been here, and because it’s very pretty because of all of the trees, lakes, and snow. And also the sauna. They don’t let you choose the city, so I ended up here with a family that chose me!” -Jonna

“The school offered me to go here and I said yes because my town organized this.” –Charlotte

“Some English programme, I don’t know more.” -Lena

I lived in two different countries before I came here. First in Rwanda where I was born, then in Zambia where I spent one year before I came in Finland. I don’t how ended up in Lappeenranta. I woke up and was in Lappeenranta just like that.” – Blaise

I moved here to Lappeenranta because of hockey.” – Marton

How do you feel about studying Finnish and studying in Finland?

“I really want to study it and it’s just really hard because of all of the tactics and because the Finnish that my friends speak is so different to the things we learn so I feel like I have to learn two languages but I like it because I feel like when i’m here I can really see that I have made progress and that I understand more of what my friends speak so it’s motivating.” -Jonna

“Well I don’t study Finnish because I don’t know the language and I just tried some courses, because I’m only here for three weeks so I think that this is an amazing experience.” -Charlotte

“ I don’t understand anything in Finnish.” -Lena

The main reason is that Finnish education system stands out among other educational systems. When I studied Finnish it was quite interesting and challenging at the same time.” – Blaise

I study here because I heard lot of good things about Finnish schools but the Finnish language is pretty hard” – Marton

What languages are you studying currently?

“I learned Spanish in school, as well as some French, which I don’t learn anymore because my French is bad and I’m trying to learn Finnish but… yeah.” -Jonna

“English and German.”-Lena

I am studying Finnish and English at the moment” – Blaise

English and Finnish” – Marton

What is your favorite language to study and use? What do you like about studying languages?

“I think my favourite language is English probably because it’s the easiest and I use it the most, I think and I like studying languages because it helps you in your general life and sometimes I think that physics doesn’t help me.” -Jonna

“Well I really like English and French obviously but I think that I really enjoy English and I really like learning new languages.” -Charlotte

“I think French. I think that it’s good to study languages because I can travel and understand things but that’s all.” -Lena

English is the easiest compared to all the languages I have studied.” -Blaise

I like to study other languages because I think that is really cool if you can speak other languages. My favourite language is English.” -Marton

What language do you find the easiest to study?

“Besides English, Spanish. I definitely think that the pronunciation is French is just not for me, so Spanish is easier. I also feel that with French, Spanish and English, knowing one makes it easier to learn the others, because you can try to pronounce an English word in Spanish and the other person will know what it is. I can’t do that with Finnish because there is no word that I can get from those languages.” -Jonna

“Probably English because it is the language that I have studied for the longest time, so it’s probably because of that. Or maybe Spanish because it’s really close to French and Italian so I can understand it pretty well.” -Charlotte

“German.” -Lena

“English is the easiest compared to all languages I have studied.” -Blaise

English or Spanish.” -Marton

In what situations do you use different languages?

“So obviously here I use English a lot, but when I’m at home I also use English the most online, kind of when I watch videos or Netflix shows or something and I’m not sure If I use Spanish that much like sometimes I watch videos in Spanish to practice my spanish or In Spanish class, but honestly not that much. And French not at all, So German and English.” -Jonna

So when I’m in another country obviously, like here in Finland with Peppi. Also when I’m at school in my English or Italian class, but that’s basically it. -Charlotte 

“I use English and German at school, and French with my family and friends.” -Lena

At home I use my native language, outside I use English and sometimes Finnish when a certain person doesn’t speak English.” -Blaise

It depends on who I talk to.” -Marton

Written by: Sofia Hill, Tatiana Neguliaeva & Tinjamin Raittila