Sharon Ojanpa Mackey, Staff Reporter

The April, 2018, meeting of the Finnish Heritage Museum (FHM) was held at the museum on April 9. Anne Pohto had arranged for a wonderful program to be presented before the business meeting, and the museum meeting room was overflowing with interested people. President Lasse Hiltunen welcomed the guests, members, and visitors promptly at 7 P.M., and delivered the invocation. Then Anne took over.




First, she introduced Mr. Matthew Klug, who had the honor of being a foreign exchange student to Finland in 2004. Matthew is from Cody, Wyoming, and spent half of his foreign exchange student year attending school in Finland, and the other half going to a Swedish school. He said he would never forget the experience, and treasures the memories. Mathew is pictured on the left with his wife Jordan and son Finnegan.






Lotta Aro, from Paimio (near Turku), Finland, was then introduced to the group. She attends Riverside High School through the AFS program here, and is living with Bob and Sheila Hulston. Lotta told us that teachers in the U.S. are addressed more formally than in Finland. Here, it is “Mr. Smith;” Mrs. Jones;” or “Miss Black;” Teachers in Finland are called by their first names. There are no school activities in Finland like there are here in the U.S. Lotta particularly likes Drama Club and wants to continue being involved in this area back in Finland. High school in Finland is not mandatory; a student can go to vocational school instead. There is more individual responsibility to get an education; no school personnel will ride herd on you in Finland. Lotta is pictured on the right.







Essi Tuominen, from Espoo, Finland, was next to speak. She goes to Berea High School in the Cleveland area, and is also taking advantage of the AFS foreign exchange program. While in this country, she lives with the Jonathon Monteg family. She, too, commented on the lack of school activities in Finland. She enjoys track and other sports; and noted that there is not much in the way of sports offered in Finland. Essi said she feels more confined here in the U.S. Public transportation is very common in Finland; without it here in the U.S., Essi feels limited. She has to rely on others to go anywhere. She also thinks that Finnish schools are harder because it is your responsibility to learn; you are not always being prodded by a teacher. Essi is pictured on the left.






Milla Nylander, from Nummela, Finland, was the final student to tell about her AFS experience. Milla is attending Geneva High School in Geneva, Ohio, and lives with Karen Zukoski. She commented that Geneva High School is larger that the school she attends in Finland. She too, observed the lack of public transportation here in the U.S. as opposed to that in Finland. One thing she regrets is that she won’t be home in Finland for her brother’s graduation the first week in June. She said that he has passed all his mandatory exams, and is looking forward to the next phase of his life. Milla says she loves the U.S. and would live here if it were possible. Milla is pictured to the right.




After a question and answer period, Anne invited everyone to enjoy refreshments provided by the Saari sisters: Ailiin Andrews, Helen Hadden, and Mary Biller.

Please check our website, www.finnishheritagemuseum.org, for our upcoming activities and programs, and the hours of operation for the museum. Our open times will be expanding at the end of May, giving us more time to enjoy the museum and meet new friends. You can get in touch with us by phone almost any time; leave a message and someone will get back to you shortly. Our next scheduled activity is Juhannus on June 11, at Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park. If you are in the area, please come join us for a most spectacular evening, complete with the traditional bonfire.

Text © Sharon Mackey, Photos of 3 girls © Jane Hiltunen, 2018, and photo of Mathew © Donna Lesiacsek.








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