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177 Nations of Tasmania - Episode 28 - Facts about Finland

Finland is a country that often gets mentioned in Tasmania in regards to various social problems , as a place which offers some models of how to deal with these things differently. The Finnish approach the education, homelessness and social policy have all been cited as innovative and worthy models that we could learn from.

This is well beyond the scope and aims of my podcast, but one of the benefits I saw in talking to migrants from many different backgrounds, was to highlight how migrants can bring so many fresh ideas and perspectives and different experiences that we could learn from here. It can be easy, in a small island state like Tasmania, to become insular and imagine that the way we do things here is the "normal" way or we can become desensitised to problems until they become critical.

It was really interesting to hear from Anna a bit about her upbringing in a small Finnish village and a small school and how kids are brought up to be independent and active. Even in the depth of winter, schoolkids are expected to play outside. I sort of feel there might be a lesson for Tasmanians there, who tend to hibernate at the meer thought of winter, though it is nowhere near as cold as in Finland.

I also felt somewhat validated from a personal point of view to learn that in Finland it is generally considered polite not to bother someone unless you really have someone to say. They like you to get the point. I wonder whether this might have something to do with the cold climate and that conversation had to be short and to the point to avoid hanging around in the snow too long !

I knew that the sauna originated in Finland, but didn't quite realise just how important it was to life in Finland, and it makes sense that it would perform a social function as well as a hygiene-related one. In fact, in previous episodes about Turkey and Japan, the Turkish hammam and Japanese onsen have a similar role ( though most people don't have one attached to their house as in Finland ! ).

And of course, I always seem to learn some new fact that I didn't know before from these interviews, which I love. Actually there were several, but the most surprising was that there is a Finnish version of baseball. I was so curious about this and looked it up for further info when I got home and found several helpful instructional videos, such as this..


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