Finnish Program Holiday Letter

Submitted by Stacey Breitberg on

Tervehdys! Greetings!

We have more students of Finnish than we have had for many years. There are 14 students enrolled in first-year Finnish and another 4 in the second-year class. Their teacher is the indefatigable Anna-Maria Peltomäki, a.k.a. Peltsi, whose work is made possible by a contract between the Finnish National Agency for Education and the UW. We are so proud of this position and the excellent education in Finnish it makes possible for our students. Perhaps the media attention to Finland during 2022 drew new students. We are finding out!

Anna-Maria writes that she has “settled in well and is truly enjoying teaching the UW students as well as exploring beautiful Washington state.”  She enjoys taking the ferries and plans to “keep on swimming in Lake Washington throughout the winter”.  She is leading by example in teaching the students the meaning of Finnish words like sisu.

As our students advance, leaping the challenges thrown up by the pandemic, they also become passionate advocates for the Finnish Program.

Kai writes that the opportunity to study Finnish was one of the UW’s strongest appeals:

“One of the deciding factors that made me choose to attend the University of Washington was its Finnish program, and I have not been disappointed. All of the support and opportunities I have received here have only made me more eager to continue my Finnish studies. During the summer I was even able to take a course at a university in Finland, and it was absolutely wonderful. I am so thankful for this program.” 

Piper was relieved to find the supportive faculty she had heard about, and students that helped her catch up after missing a class:

“Even though I accidentally skipped Finnish 101, everyone involved in the class was super helpful and I was able to get back up to speed. I’d heard before studying Finnish that the learning environment was super calm and supportive, and it has absolutely lived up to my expectations.”

Emma writes:

“I will forever be grateful for this department and the amazing people I have met in it. My time studying Finnish at UW is an experience I will never forget, and I am so extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to do so.”

These students inspire faculty members Anna-Maria Peltomäki and Andrew Nestingen. This year, Andy began work on a new project on the history of Finnish cinema, and is enjoying teaching about Finnish schools and children this fall.

Please consider joining our department’s community list-serv, the Snowball -- JOIN SNOWBALL -- to keep apprised of all we have going on. We hope to see you at an upcoming event!

We ask that you give to support our students with a donation to the Friends of Scandinavian Languages & Literature Fund found at the link below. Thank you for your generosity!


Wishing you a happy holiday season!

Oikein hyvää joulua ja onnellista uutta vuotta 2023 toivottaa!


Andrew Nestingen                                          Anna-Maria Peltomäki

Professor & Chair                                            Acting Instructor, Finnish