Loneliness in a foreign country?

I'm studying abroad in Finland from the United States. So far, pretty much everything is on par with what I signed up for: Beautifully cold weather, live music everywhere that fits in with my metalness, and a great educational environment.

The one problem I'm having is that I feel like I'm not really "socializing" enough. I was in a huge dating slump back in the States, which is one of the reasons why I left the country in the first place. It doesn't help that most Finns tend to be quite reserved in conversation (and that I don't speak much Finnish, but the former is far more of a barrier).

Does anyone have any advice for me? Keep in mind that I plan on returning to Finland on a more permanent basis once I finish my last year of school back in the US.


Most Helpful Girl

  • You may already have found a "Best Answer", but I'd really like to help you too. I currently live in Denmark(and has all my life), which is pretty close to Finland + my great grandparents were Finnish or something like that. So, I may know a bit to how those people behave and such.

    I can tell you that most Scandinavian people with English-as-second-language are terrified of talking to British or American people. Most Scandinavians have an accent, which they're highly aware of, and speaking to someone with no accent may make them feel bad, because it reminds them of ow they can't "speak it properly". I know you said that this isn't the main problem.. But, actually it IS a problem. It'll be a problem if they don't enjoy talking to you, or if you intimidate them, so maybe try compliment them sometimes saying: "Oh, you're really good at English!" or "Hey, your English is really good. If someone else was listening to our conversation, he wouldn't be able to tell that your native language isn't English." - Stuff like this may make them feel confident and good about themselves. So, they associate you with a good feeling. But, it's true that they of course will speak to whoever speaks to them, if just the person is kind and polite.

    I would also suggest maybe start doing some activities. It's a great way to meet new people and bond quickly. I must be honest and say that the "randomly going into a library and talking to a stranger" is a bad idea in this Area. After you leave, the girl's most likely to think: "He's definitely a desperate stalker." or anything else very negative. So, well.. Good luck.

    • I've done that a few times during conversation. I actually asked one Finnish person where she was from because she sounded American when talking to her boyfriend.

      Otherwise, I've been going to a bunch of concerts since I've been here, and since music is a big interest of mine, I'd figure I would find some people there. I've made some friends, but they're all guys. Which is fine and everything, but I want something more.

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What Girls Said 0

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What Guys Said 4

  • As a man that has traveled all around the world and has had to deal with culture shock quite a few times I will share some tips. Most people anywhere in the world will be friendly towards you as along as you are friendly towards them. Smile, joke, be goofy, be talkative, treat people you just meet as if they are your oldest friends, and trust me they will only respond positively. It is all about getting out of your comfort zone and that shell you like to hide in. The truth is it is not the Finish peoples fault that you are not friends, they are not lonely, they have plenty of friends already, it is up to you to make the first move and open up to the locals. Also you may not believe me but you have an advantage, you are a novelty, people automatically find you more interesting than the average person, use it to your advantage.

    • I haven't really gotten the "novelty" factor yet, except from some guy who was working at the concert I was at last night. He did introduce me to some pretty great music though.

    • :( I lose my best answer. I'm kidding, it don't matter. (Reira is way hotter than me anyway =P)

      Maybe you are down playing your self. Don't try to blend in, try to be the cool foreign dude. I am latino and I am living in the UK. I know a lot of good latino clubs and all the salsa nights, and I have ton of latino friends here in the UK. When I meet a girl I share with them the cool part of my culture and they usually say"Wooo you dance salsa?" "Woo you from Brazil?! I love Ronaldo!" "Woo.." etc.

  • I am from Finland, and we tend to be quite reserved, yes. But you should perhaps socialize by getting a new hobby there, just something you can play with people there. Once we get comfortable around someone, we won't be as reserved. That's how it is. I sent you a friend request so that you can ask me anything you want to know about Finland from me, if you don't already know!

  • Finnish guys hate Russians I thiNk. So if you're American that should be cool lol, just don't act dumb. Start learning Finnish I guess. Are you anonymous because your Gust Avacados from "Charlie Wilson's War" who finally got sent to Finland as the new CIA station chief?

    • I would certainly hope Finns would hate Russians after all the sh*t the USSR did to Finland during WWII. Incidentally, I was supposed to start my Basics of Finnish class today, but the professor cancelled it due to illness. And I shouldn't be shown as anonymous, so I don't know what you're talking about.

  • really? I thought finland would be awesome. that's cool you're in finland. but can't offer any advice accept talk anybody and everybody.