Case: Puhu Minulle Suomea -campaign

Puhu minulle suomea (“Speak Finnish to Me”) is a campaign that promotes Finnish language learning in higher education institutions in our country. Even rudimentary Finnish language skills facilitate the employment of international students and expedite their integration into Finnish society.

The light-hearted campaign strives to encourage international students to speak Finnish in everyday situations and persuade Finnish-speaking people to serve them in Finnish. The campaign wishes to remind people that the Finnish language spoken by immigrants is rich. Finnish can be spoken in a variety of ways.

Originating from Helsinki, “Speak Finnish to Me” has been evolved in a variety of directions. The association set up for the campaign spreads its encouraging language learning concept through e.g. a website and festivals.

Benefits to the higher education institution

  • Develops networking between the university and work life
  • Creates an encouraging atmosphere and facilitates the integration of international students in both the institution and the place of study
  • Encourages the personnel in the institution and the local services to engage in cooperation with international students and ensures their commitment to mutual cooperation

Benefits to the student

  • Provides authentic situations to practice using the Finnish language
  • Facilitates and expedites integration into the higher education institution and the place of study
  • Promotes the professional skills of international students and supports networking

Benefits to the employer

  • Facilitates networking with international experts
  • Diversifies cooperation with higher education institutions in the employer’s own economic area
  • Develops customer service

Issues to consider when implementing the model

The campaign is symbolized by badges that read “Puhu minulle suomea” (“Speak Finnish to Me”) that are distributed to both international students and department personnel in the institution. The campaign may involve, for instance, student cafeterias, student affairs offices, student unions, and Finnish language teachers.

Various service situations offer good places to practice Finnish – without pressure. The passport that was developed as a campaign tool for students serves as both a service dictionary and a proof of Finnish transactions. A service situation is recorded with a stamp or a mark. Collecting marks from completed transactions into the passport is one of the learning assignments on the Finnish language course.

Example 1

In the Tampere region, the WorkPlace Pirkanmaa project introduced the campaign to the campuses of the University of Tampere, the Tampere University of Technology, and the Tampere University of Applied Sciences. Badges that said “Puhu minulle suomea” (“Speak Finnish to Me”) were distributed among personnel and students.

Both the students and the personnel of the higher education institutions in the Tampere region were excited about the idea. People wearing a campaign badge on campus at least began their conversations in Finnish. They could then switch to another common language, if necessary.

Example 2

The Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences included local entrepreneurs in the campaign. The spring 2011 “Speak Finnish to Me” campaign was launched with a panel and an informative event for entrepreneurs, where the “Speak Finnish to Me” passport was also revealed.

The passport developed as a campaign tool served as a service dictionary for students and as proof of their Finnish transactions. The passport contains a list of different types of service situations. The student receives a stamp or a mark next to the service situation, if he/she at least starts off by using Finnish in the situation.

Collecting service situations into the passport was one of the learning assignments on the Finnish language course. The learning assignment and the passport encourage students to practice Finnish in their everyday life.


Puhu minulle suomea ry
Puhu minulle suomea Facebook pages

Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences: “Speak Finnish to Me” passport

WorkPlace Pirkanmaa project