by Sybil Loo
To those that joined in at the General Meeting on the 25th of June 2009, WTF means Welcome To Finland! (I know the rest of you had some other phrase in mind!) Why Finland, and not France? Well, if you DON’T already know, our not-so-newly arrived intern, Tero Isokauppila hails from this land where the number of saunas outnumber the number of humans. Tero may have been exagerating here, but I did discover that Finland has at least 1.8 million saunas — thats nearly one for every 2 people!
While we’re at it, here are some more random facts:
o The population of Finland is 5.3 million people.
o It has 180,000 islands
o 188,000 lakes
o 465 summer cottages
o 35 national parks
o 5.2 million mobile phones
o and the 1 and only REAL Santa Clause.
Historically, Finland was part of Sweden from 13th century until 1809, then an autonomous Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire from 1809 – 1917. On the 6th December 1917, in the turmoil of the Russian revolution, it gained its independence. After successfully defending itself in WW2, Finland had to maintain its independence from the USSR and did so, winning two wars in 1939 – 1940 and again in 1941 – 1944. In 1955 it became a member of the United nations, and in 1995 joined the European Union.
But that’s all history now… What can we actually benefit from visiting Finland?
For one, they have FREE education for ALL! And if you love NUDITY (Hell yeahhh), Finland is definitely the place for you. The Fins have a love of the natural look, but while you might be thinking… ‘Don’t they freeze their buns off in that cold?’ Remember the saunas… nearly every house owns one. Plus, body heat is supposed to be a great help with conserving heat (Ahhhh… now we know).
Finns take a long time to graduate… Not because they’re stupid…! …but because they get paid a fat salary when studying. Plus, Finnish students typically have a job waiting for them already with great salaries when they finish. Practically everyone speaks English (and they are friendly too). If you ever need a drinking buddy… everyone is one. =] (Finns love their booze!) But before you go pack your bags and get on the next flight out to this “utopia”, keep in mind that the income tax rate can be as high as 60%, which is pretty crazy, even for us.
And to all women who love control, this is the place for YOU! Women hold similar or even larger power than men. (To men from the rest of the world: learn from Finnish men! But don’t lose all hope, the women are said to be the most beautiful – so there is a little compensation even if you don’t get all the control).
Finland is a beautiful place with lots of things to do in major cities or even in nature. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights! Visit the Helsinki region during summer and Lapland during Spring. This should help you stay away from the frigid winters up north. (Just something to keep in mind =] )
So AIESEC-ers, WTF…