Helsinki - Post Report Question and Answers

How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

English is widely spoken. Even outside of the capital, I have yet to find an adult who doesn't speak English well. Finns tend to be modest about their English ability and say they don't know it well, but then they will speak extremely proficiently. The only exception is young children. Local schools seem to not start English instruction until age 7 or 8, so younger kids only speak Finnish, and older kids might know some English but most aren't yet fluent. - Oct 2021


Finnish is not needed at all, as the vast majority of Finns speak near-fluent English. Local language classes are available for the brave. - Oct 2018


Everyone speaks English and there alot of English signs. The Finnish language is extremely difficult to learn. - Jul 2012


You don't need any Finnish; almost everyone speaks English. A lot of Finnish TV is from the US/GB and all is in English. - Jan 2011


Not too much. Words to go shopping are helpful, as sometimes you can't always figure out what's in the package. Also basic numbers, months and days, and greetings. - May 2010


In Helsinki, most people speak English very well. Finnish is a difficult language to learn. I have found people in Helsinki very willing to help me when I attempt to speak Finnish or will just speak English. - Apr 2009


Most Finns speak English and don't mind that foreigners don't speak Finnish. However, everything is written in Finnish and Swedish, so learning at enough to survive will not hurt. - Mar 2008


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