Vietnamese Student in Finland: I Became Interested in Finnish Culture

Nhung Do, a true Finland fan is a Vietnamese educator and a bilingual copywriter, author of Phan Lan 100 – Lua Troi Duoi Cao, Fox’s Fire on the Sky – 100 stories from Finland book. It is sold well in Vietnam, she accomplished her MA in Media Education program at University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland.

About your book

I have written and published hundreds of articles for decades. Since I came to study in Finland, I became interested in Finnish culture and like to share it with other Vietnamese. I was always curious to get to know more and write about it.

poster for Vietnamese event
Lửa Trời Đuôi Cáo – 100 Câu Chuyện Phần Lan

In 2017, to celebrate Finnish 100th Anniversary of Independence, I launched a Facebook fan page “Finland 100 – Fox’s Fire on the Sky” (Phan Lan 100 – Lua troi duoi cao) to publish 100 short articles about Finnish culture in Vietnamese language: https://www.facebook.com/suomiphanlan100/. My writings focused on many aspects of Finnish culture: sauna, sisu, salmiakki, koivu, kuksa, rye bread, berry picking, summer cottage, reindeer, summer solstice, white nights, Kalevala, Moomin, personal space, social trust.

The name of my fan page was inspired by the Finnish legend of Northern Lights (revontulet – fox’s fire in Finnish). My page got 3,764 followers so far.

These 100 stories were published into a book “Fox’s Fire on the Sky – 100 stories from Finland” by Tre Publishing House. It is sold well in Vietnam, and now I am writing my second book about Finland.

Why Finland and how did your journey start as a foreign student?

“What brought you all the way to Finland?”. This is the most-frequently-asked question I heard in Finland.

I was a teacher in Vietnam, so I wondered how Finland could achieve amazing results without imposing competition and pressure for students. The PISA ranking made me curious and wanted to know how Finns did it. That brought me to Finland.

International student holding gifts
At Santa Claus Village, Rovaniemi

What’s your inspiration when writing your book?

Before arriving to Finland, I thought this was a lucky country which has been rich for thousands years. When I arrived and got to know more about the country, I realized Finland has struggled a lot and face many obstacles to develop as today. Therefore, I admire the Finns’ “sisu” and like to tell these stories.

Finland is so different from Vietnam in many aspects, from the climate, location to culture and people’s mindset. Many Vietnamese students come to study in Finland, but there is a shortage of books about Finnish culture. I would like to fill in the gap.

How did you handle the challenges during your stay abroad? 

I tried to make new friends from all over the world and be as active as always. The long winter is challenging but workout and supplements like vitamin D did help. Also doing creative things and hobbies like traveling, reading, writing, jogging, yoga, origami, and amigurumi.

What are the similarities of Vietnam and Finland?

The two countries are different in almost all aspects. Both Finns and Vietnamese are hard-working and easy learners and both appreciate education.

When you arrived in Finland, was there anything surprising to you?  

Yes, reindeer! I thought reindeer was pets, so I was shocked when people eat reindeer.

student enjoying Finnish nature
Nhung in Finland

Describe your study program and university that you studied in?

I took the Master’s Degree Program in Media Education at the University of Lapland. The course deepens my expertise in three main themes: Media in teaching and learning, media in society, and media in psycho-social well-being.

What’s your current work and how was your career after studying in Finland?

I am a bilingual copywriter now in Vietnam.

Tips for Vietnamese students who wants to study in Finland?

Be active, seek as much information as possible. Focus on your purpose and be positive. And if you are in Finland, don’t forget “sisu and vitamin D! 🙂

You can check on Nhung’s book online or read more student stories?

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