Category Archives: Human Interest

Mindful Minutes with ACEI – Safe Space, Virtual Place

March 27th, 2020

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Recognizing the collective anxiety and the stress induced by the uncertainty the current global pandemic has brought on, ACEI has set out to host a weekly or bi-weekly webchat for co-workers, colleagues, and friends. We will offer these webchats until no longer needed. On Wednesday, March 25, 2019, we hosted our first “Mindful Minutes with ACEI – Safe Space, Virtual Place.”

Creating a platform where we can engage, share our personal experiences and discuss how we can help one another is the impetus behind ACEI’s Mindful Minutes. We are not discussing credential evaluation issues or how to recruit students or emerging markets in international education. We are dealing with real-time, real life issues and providing ourselves the space to talk about how we’re coping and what we’re doing to make these turbulent times manageable through mindful exercises.

Our entire team at ACEI has quickly transitioned to working online and remotely since last Thursday. We continue to assure our applicants and institutional clients of our availability to service their needs and answer their questions. We realize that this is the current paradigm for many who are not classified as essential workers. Creating our home offices and making spaces that allow us to continue doing our work as seamlessly as possible while remaining alert and vigilante to the ongoing news updates can be daunting to say the least.  Adjusting to this new routine, especially for parents of young children who now require home schooling is bringing on new levels of stress that if unchecked can affect our overall wellness.

The response to our first Mindful Minutes webinar has been overwhelmingly positive. Our next Mindful Minutes with ACEI will be on Wednesday, April 1st. You can register here.

We recorded our webchat of March 25th and including the link

Recording password: 6Pcfj4t2

We encourage any questions or further discussion, please feel free to contact our presenters by email: acei@acei-global.org.

We would like to leave you with a message from the author Elizabeth Gilbert which was shared in the March 25th webinar called “Facing Fear With Compassion:”

Facing Fear With Compassion

From Elizabeth Gilbert, Author

Human beings are incredibly resourceful, creative and resilient both as individuals and as a species. We have survived unbelievable hardships.

If you’re looking for courage in the face of catastrophe, try to remember this:

Every single one of us is the direct genetic descendant of ancestors who survived unthinkable hardships. That is where we come from – survivors – that’s what we’re made of, thousands and thousands of generations of people before us who survived. If they didn’t exist and survive, we wouldn’t be here.

Resilience is our birthright and survival is our shared history.

If you are afraid for yourself, others, future of humanity, take a moment and remember our ancestors and recall what they faced and what they went through.

As Winston Churchill said, we have not journeyed across the centuries, across the oceans, across mountains, across the prairies because we are made of sugar candy. Resilience is our shared inheritance. Resourcefulness is the very hallmark of our species.

We are creative, we are adaptive, and history has shown that humanity sometimes always finds a way, even when it appears that there is no way.

We are strong. You have probably survived a great deal in life, emotionally, physically, financially. You have gotten this far. You may have resources that have helped you get this far and you may not even be aware you have them.

If you’ve had a spiritual practice, or something similar, this is what you’ve been preparing for. Spiritual practices are exercises to prepare us for these exact times, when things are difficult and incomprehensible. You’re stronger than you know.

As one soldier may tell another soldier before going into battle, “remember your training, buddy!” This is what we came here for and this is what we’ve been practicing for, and this is when it counts.

Listen to the voice inside, and remember these words of infinite kindness that love is within us:

I’m right here

I’ve got you

I love you

and, I’m not going anywhere.

If you wish to receive alerts of our future Mindful Minutes webchats, please send us an email at acei@acei-global.org and include “Mindful Minutes News” in the subject line.

Be well and stay safe.


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Covid-19 Update

March 17th, 2020

“For a community to be whole and healthy, it must be based on people’s love and concern for each other.”

– Millard Fuller

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We care deeply about our community – locally & abroad. Indeed, community is a major focus of our service. We are committed to providing exceptional service to our applicants and clients. Our dedicated team of credential evaluators, administrators, IT, and support staff will be working remotely for the coming days as we weather this global crisis. All our services are available and accessible on-line.

So as to not compromise the health and well-being of our staff, we will not be using US post or any courier services for the receipt of application or delivery of the completed evaluation reports. All reports will be delivered by electronic mail or via ACEI’s Secure Pathway. If your institution or organization does not have an ACEI SecurePathway account, please complete and return the form in this link and one will be set up for you immediately.

We will be keeping you abreast of news updates that impact the national and international education community through our Facebook page, LinkedIn, Twitter, our weekly Blog and our monthly newsletter The Report.

We deeply appreciate all of your understanding and support through this trying time. Be well and stay safe.

Many,  Many Blessings,

 


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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COVID-19/Coronavirus: Quick Facts

March 12th, 2020

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On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. The viral disease has already swept into at least 114 countries and killed more than 4,000 people.

Many national and international conferences have been cancelled. Concerts and other events that draw large number of people have been cancelled and/or postponed. Schools and colleges are cancelling in-person classes and switching to on-line instruction. Here at ACEI, we are monitoring the developments very closely and cancelled our attendance at upcoming professional education conferences. We have a robust system in place to accommodate our team to work remotely and receive applications for credential evaluation online and via digital portals.

While we are in a wait and see state, we would like to share the link to Worldometer, an online site that provides live, up-to-date information. Worldometer, for those who may not be familiar, is run by an international team of developers, researchers, and volunteers with the goal of making world statistics available in a thought-provoking and time relevant format to a wide audience around the world. Worldometer is owned by Dadax, an independent company. They have no political, governmental, or corporate affiliation. Worldometer was voted as one of the best free reference websites by the American Library Association (ALA), the oldest and largest library association in the world. They have licensed their counters at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), to BBC News, among others. Worldometer is cited as a source in over 10,000 published books, in more than 6,000 professional journal articles, and in over 1000 Wikipedia pages.

For real time updated, please visit Worldometer by clicking here and World Health Organization by clicking here.

The following is copied from Worldometer’s site:

Typical Symptoms

COVID-19 typically causes flu-like symptoms including a fever and cough.
In some patients – particularly the elderly and others with other chronic health conditions – these symptoms can develop into pneumonia, with chest tightness, chest pain, and shortness of breath.

It seems to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough.

After a week, it can lead to shortness of breath, with about 20% of patients requiring hospital treatment.

Notably, the COVID-19 infection rarely seems to cause a runny nose, sneezing, or sore throat (these symptoms have been observed in only about 5% of patients). Sore throat, sneezing, and stuffy nose are most often signs of a cold.

80% of cases are mild

Based on all 72,314 cases of COVID-19 confirmed, suspected, and asymptomatic cases in China as of February 11, a paper by the Chinese CCDC released on February 17 and published in the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology has found that:

  • 80.9% of infections are mild (with flu-like symptoms) and can recover at home.
  • 13.8% are severe, developing severe diseases including pneumonia and shortness of breath.
  • 4.7% as critical and can include: respiratory failure, septic shock, and multi-organ failure.
  • In about 2% of reported cases the virus is fatal.
  • Risk of death increases the older you are.
  • Relatively few cases are seen among children.

Pre-existing conditions

Pre-existing illnesses that put patients at higher risk:

  1. cardiovascular disease
  2. diabetes
  3. chronic respiratory disease
  4. hypertension

That said, some otherwise healthy people do seem to develop a severe form of pneumonia after being infected by the virus. The reason for this is being investigated as we try to learn more about this new virus.

How long do symptoms last?

Using available preliminary data, the Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission published on Feb. 28 by WHO, [5] which is based on 55,924 laboratory confirmed cases, observed the following median time from symptoms onset to clinical recovery:

  • mild cases: approximately 2 weeks
  • severe or critical disease: 3 – 6 weeks
  • time from onset to the development of severe disease (including hypoxia): 1 week

Among patients who have died, the time from symptom onset to outcome ranges from 2 – 8 weeks.

How to protect yourself?

World Health Organization offers advice on how we can protect ourselves. To learn more, click here.

Sources

Symptoms of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) – United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) [Pdf] – World Health Organization, Feb. 28, 2020
https://www.cdc.gov/– Center for Disease Control and Prevention
https://www.who.int/ – World Health Organization
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ – WorldoMeter Coronavirus

Be safe and be well.


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Not Forgetting the Refugees

March 6th, 2020

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As countries around the world are grappling with containing the coronavirus as the latest health emergency, one crisis that has not diminished but continues to persist is the plight of refugees. According to the UNHRC, we are now seeing the highest levels of displacement of people on record.

Here are a few facts as reported by UNHRC:

  • An unprecedented 70.8 million people around the world have been forced from home.
  • Nearly 25.9 million are refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.
  • There are also millions of stateless people who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement.
  • Nearly 1 person is forcibly displaced every two seconds as a result of conflict or persecution.

The unfathomable harrowing journeys of refugees are heartbreaking and too many to recount and stories where there are glimmers of hope for those who have found refuge and sanctuary are too few and far in between. The video shared by UNHCR offers us a glimpse into a young man’s journey from Syria to Strasbourg, France.

LINK TO VIDEO

https://www.unhcr.org/theo-james.html

In the video, the actor, Theo James, shares his story that connects him to the refugee experience. His grandfather, Dr. Nicholas Taptiklis, was a physician who escaped from Nazi-occupied Greece during WWII. He made his way by boat and then overland through Turkey and sought refuge in Damascus, Syria. As soon as WWII ended, Dr. Taptiklis left Syria and started working in Gottingen, Germany with the organization that was the predecessor to the UN Refugee Agency where he fought typhoid and tuberculosis in the refugee camps.

As James says in the video “We have to remember that only two generations ago, Europeans were going the other way and people in Damascus were helping people like my grandfather.”

Putting a name and face to the plight of a person fleeing war and persecution brings their experience closer to home. It also helps us see that our similarities outweigh our differences. “One thing that struck me is how similar he was to me and how similar he was to some of my closest friends from university,” James says about Housam, the Syrian refugee he had met in Strasbourg. Please watch the video. It is brief with a poignant message.

If you wish to show support of UNHCR, click on the donate button in this link.


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Colombia Grants Citizenship and Work Permits to Venezuelan Refugees

February 7th, 2020

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Photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Colombia has pledged to be the most educated country in Latin America by 2025. It has laid out several initiatives to achieve this goal which we covered in a blog post last year.

Colombia is also facing an influx of refugees from its neighboring Venezuela. According to UN Refugee Agency, there are more than 1.6 million Venezuelans living in Colombia and approximately 60% lack a regular status. The UN predicts the number of Venezuelans in Colombia to rise to 2.4 million by the end of 2020.

How is Colombia addressing the refugees from Venezuelan?

Work Permit – Colombia is offering migrants work permits in order to bring them into the legal economy. They are offering one kind of permit that renews the visas given to migrants who entered Colombia before November 29, 2019. The second type of visa is given to Venezuelans with formal job offers.

Citizenship – According to an August 5, 2019 report from the New York Times, “Colombia will give citizenship to more than 24,000 undocumented children of Venezuelan refugees born in the country, a rare humanitarian measure amid tightening migration policies elsewhere in the hemisphere.” Colombia will issue passports to babies born to Venezuelan parents on its territory from August 2015 until August 2021.

Access to Healthcare and Education – These permits allow Venezuelan migrants to have access to healthcare and education in Colombia.

Colombia sees this approach as a more effective way of addressing the Venezuelan refugee crisis. It argues that is a more humane and economically sound approach rather than closing its borders and cracking down on undocumented refugees which only perpetuate human trafficking and its illegal revenue stream.

Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/05/world/americas/colombia-citizenship-venezuelans.html

https://newsus.cgtn.com/news/2020-02-06/Colombia-offers-work-permits-for-Venezuelan-migrants-NQuqQ8fVBu/index.html


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE PEOPLE YOU CAN’T EAT THEIR FOOD: Diversity for Dummies

November 8th, 2019

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In my last post on White Privilege I ended my piece with a quote from Trevor Noah, who in his Netflix show, Son of Patricia said, “There should be a rule in America. You can hate immigrants all you want but if you do, you don’t get to eat their food.”

That line, in its simplicity, gets to the point of the question of “why diversity”? Why is it so important that schools are hiring directors and consultants to help them diversify? Is it imperative that our education system introduce cultural differences as a way to break down barriers – a.k.a. bringing about world peace? Or do these unique attributes enkindle students’ intellectual, moral and social growth thus making them better, more interesting people? Or is it just that there’s no getting around diversity?

I’ve been watching and re-watching the Playing for Change remake of The Weight. It too, very simply demonstrates the value in diversity. The ukulele played often in Hawaii, originated in Portugal. The congo drum is Afro-Cuban. The oud is originally Persian. Maybe you prefer the original version. It is pretty great, but I prefer the richness of the latest version with the various riffs from people all over the world.

Maybe music and food aren’t your thing. You’re more of a sports fan. In an article by James C. Witte and Marissa Kiss writing for The Institute for Immigration Research, on Predicting the Outcome of the 2019 MLB All Star Games they conclude “so with this year’s game coming on July 9th, die-hard fans, inquiring minds and hopeful gamblers want to know who will win: the National League or the American League? Our answer? The team that plays the greatest percentage of foreign-born players.”

Their findings are based on statistics.

Let’s put aside the many wonderful flavors and sounds that enrich the U.S., so many brought here from other countries. There is no getting around diversity in most of America these days. According to the Migration Policy Institute as of 2017, 44.5 million immigrants resided in the U.S. 14 % of the nation’s population are not from America. These statistics are increasing annually. And it’s not only in the U.S. According to a report (Gurria, 2018) from the European Association for International Education (EAIE), one in ten children in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) with 36 member countries, are foreign-born.

Instead of being frightened by these statistics can we be intrigued by the scents, the sounds, the visual effects and stimulation that those varied and colorful cultures bring us? Imagine the stories these people have to share. Think of friends who have traveled and the tales they have told. Sometimes they make us scratch our heads. Sometimes they make us laugh at their absurdity. But they mostly intrigue us and compel us to get out and see more of the world.

In an article in Diverse Magazine (Elfman, 2019) Dr. Alyssa N. Rockenbach whose project, Diversity Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS) reports that “having a diverse peer group enables college students to understand and appreciate other cultures and reduces prejudice,” a.k.a. world peace. This seems obvious to me and I could never really grasp how it wasn’t obvious to everyone until, in one of my classes at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS), we were asked to introduce ourselves and tell when we first experienced diversity. Most students talked about the first time they went abroad or when a study abroad student came to their school. My first experience was the opposite. It happened when I left my home in Cambridge, MA for college in San Diego, CA. My college campus was so white. There were a few black students and two Iranians but that’s all I can recall of diversity. Not only did that help me appreciate the richness of cultures I’d grown up with, but it made me an open-minded person, excited to break down barriers of exclusion so that my friends could also know the excitement that comes with experiencing another’s culture.

That said, it isn’t obvious to everyone which I was reminded of while listening to an episode of Safe Space Radio. The podcast Can We Talk: Talking to White Kids About Race and Racism is led by two mothers, one black and the other white. The black mother explained why it was so hard to talk to white children about race. “My job is to protect you (her children) out there and the white parent’s job is to create a bubble to keep their kids safe.” If we’re not purposeful in bringing our children together are we causing more harm, actually sowing division? We need to consciously decide to break down barriers by creating a culture of diversity and not just between black and white families, but that’s a good start here in the states.

I will always love the idea of and work towards world peace, but what I really want to relay is how much richer our children’s education will be when schools consciously make an effort to diversify. That comes in the form of teachers and staff, curriculum and the students themselves. Children are born eager to learn. It’s inherent and it’s our responsibility as parents, teachers, and schools to encourage the full range of exploration that includes not only thought and intellectual stimulation but what culture brings. So why diversify? Does it matter if we do so because the world is just going that way or should we bring more intention to it in order to reap the benefits of variety in tastes, sounds and sights? Mmmm. Suddenly, I‘m craving my nana’s lasagna and some Italian opera.

References:
Encompassing All Voices Diversity and Inclusion: a strategic issue for European universities, Anna-Lena Claeys-Kulik p 5 (Gurria 2018)

Suggested Readings:
This Land is Our Land: An Immigrants Manifesto – Suketu Mehta
WHY ARE ALL THE BLACK KIDS SITTING TOGETHER IN THE CAFETERIA And Other Conversations About Race – Beverly Daniel Tatum, PHD

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Kathleen Hylen, M.A. International Education Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Graduated with honors from UC, Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Community Studies, focus on anti-bias. Kathleen is also a member of ACEI’s Professional Consultancy Team. Her focus is on helping institutions and organizations develop and/or bolster their diversity and inclusion strategies. acei@acei-global.org

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10 Fun Facts about Finland

October 11th, 2019

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Not only has Finland been in the news recently, with its President visiting the US but the 2019 meeting of EAIE (European Association of International Educators) was also held last month in Helsinki, the country’s capital. We’ve decided to put the spotlight on Finland in this week’s blog post and share some fun facts about this Nordic country. We’ve also invited ACEI’s President and CEO, Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert, who was in Helsinki for the EAIE conference to share her perspective.

1. Happiest Country in the World

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Image: REUTERS/Petr Josek

The latest World Economic Forum report ranks Finland as the happiest country in the world. Finland has climbed from number 5 to number 1.
Jasmin: “I can vouch for this ranking. During my recent visit to Helsinki where I was attending the EAIE conference, not once did I experience an unpleasant encounter with a Finnish person. Every person I met, whether at the hotel, taxi drivers, restaurant workers, shop keepers, and even locals, greeted me with smiles and genuine hospitality. I always felt welcomed. On my first evening in Helsinki, my hotel recommended my husband and I who was also traveling with me, to check out a restaurant known for its authentic Finnish cuisine. It was clearly a popular venue as there were quite a few people lined up ahead of us waiting for a table. As we inched our way closer to the host, a young man approached us and invited us to join him and his party rather than stand in line. We gladly accepted his invitation and joined his party which included a number of Finns and Italians. They were in Helsinki to attend the “No Labels, No Walls” event that weekend. We spoke at length with our new Finnish friends about life in Finland and they had nothing but positive things to say. They all agreed that in order to coexist as they did, some compromises had to be made, but overall they followed the Finnish ethos where taking care of one another is embraced as an important aspect of their social construct.”

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The top 20 happiest countries 2019 Image: World Happiness Report 2019

2. Minimum Wage and Average Salary

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The minimum wages in most professions in Finland is among the highest in the Eurozone. The average salary in Helsinki is around net € 2,500 euros per month. Although Helsinki has the highest salaries in Finland it also has the highest cost of living when it comes to property and rent prices. But, compared to its Nordic neighbors such as Sweden and Norway, its cost of living is considerably lower.

Jasmin: “When I asked my taxi driver if Uber (the ride sharing service) is popular in Helsinki, he said “no.” When I asked him why, he said that people in Finland make a good living thanks to the living wage and don’t need to have a second job.”

3. The Sami (Lapp) People

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Image: stock photo Google images

The first inhabitants of Finland were the Sami (Lapp) people who were there when the first Finnish speakers migrated in during the first millennium B.C. The Lapps moved north into the section that is today known as Lapland.

Jasmin: “I took a taxi from my hotel in the City Center of Helsinki to the convention center or locally known as Messukeskus. When I asked the driver if she was from Helsinki, she told me she was from Lapland. How great is that?! It’s not every day one meets someone claiming to be from this enchanting place where, as children, we were told Santa Claus lived!”

Spanning 30% of Finland’s land area, Lapland is home to just 3% of its population. Lapland’s far north is known as Sápmi, home of the Sámi, whose main communities are around Inari, Utsjoki and Hetta. Rovaniemi, on the Arctic Circle, is the most popular gateway to the north.

Jasmin continues: “In the 15-minute drive to the convention center, my driver took me on a virtual journey of her idyllic birthplace. She spoke of the midnight sun, the Sámi peoples, the aurora borealis (Northern Lights) and roaming reindeer, the magical snowy winters, the sense of space, big skies and pure clean air.”

4. Saunas: “The poor man’s pharmacy”

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Image: stock photo Google images

Finns are fanatic about their saunas. With a population of 5.4 million, Finland has over 3 million saunas. It is said that there are more saunas than cars in Finland. Dubbed the “poor man’s pharmacy,” the sauna is not a luxury but a substantial part of Finnish culture and national identity. The only Finnish word to make it to the English language is ‘sauna.’
Jasmin: “Yes, I did enjoy a few minutes of heat and serenity at the hotel’s sauna. We heard that even a Burger King in Helsinki has a sauna which gives a burger, fries with a side of sauna, a whole new meaning!”

5. Free Education

Finland offers free education at the elementary, secondary and even university levels. This free access is also offered to students from the EU/EES. It is no wonder that Finland is ranked number one as the happiest country in the world.
And one more thing, non-EU students can also benefit from free education if they take classes that are taught in Finnish or Swedish or complete doctoral studies in any language. Oh, by the way, in Finland, when someone earns this PhD, they receive a top hat and a sword!

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Image: stock photo Google images

6. First European Country to Give Women the Right to Vote

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Thirteen of the 19 women elected to Parliament in 1907. Photo: Helsiniki City Museum

In 1906, Finland became the first country in Europe that gave women from all levels of society the right to vote and stand for parliament. Finland had its first female prime minister (Anneli Jäätteenmäki) in April 2003 which made it the only country in Europe with both a female president (Tarja Halonen) and prime minister.

7. Prohibition and Consumption of Alcohol

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Image credit: Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert

Just like the U.S., Finland had its own temperance movement that led to the prohibition of alcohol from 1919-1932. Of course, this didn’t stop the Finns from making their own brew and households were known to have perfected moonshining. Smuggling of alcohol into the country was also par for the course. Today, you can only purchase beer and cider in supermarkets throughout Finland. Wine and other spirits can be purchased at state-sanctioned stores. In restaurants, if you order anything but beer by the glass you need to specify the size in terms of liters. There are several speakeasies in Helsinki.

Jasmin: “On a boat ride around the islands near Helsinki, the Captain told us the story of one famous smuggler who during WWII had turned to smuggling about 150 Jewish people from Nazi Germany to safety.”

8. Finnish Language is Unique

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Source: Pixabay

The Finnish language is part of the Finno-Ugric language group and is said to be similar to Estonian than the Scandinavian languages such as Danish, Norwegian and Swedish. It is not even an Indo-European language but belongs to the Uralic language family. Finnish uses gender-neutral words in their language.

Jasmin: “I made it a point to learn the 3 basic words of saying hello, goodbye and thank you in Finnish. The word for hello is hei or moi, and goodbye is hei hei or moi moi, and thank you is kiitos, though everyone we met in Helsinki was fluent in English and would respond with a pleasant smile when I’d say any of these words in Finnish.”

The Finns love their language so much that they celebrate it each year on the 9th of April. To learn more about this special day, click here

9. The Land of the Midnight Sun and Aurora Borealis

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Image: Stock photo Google images

A quarter of the country is in the Arctic Circle which puts Finland’s Lapland and other northern sections in what is known as the “Land of the Midnight Sun”. The sun in this area doesn’t set for 73 consecutive summer days annually while it doesn’t rise at all for 51 days during the winter (known as polar night). Except for the summer, the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) are seen regularly in every season in Lapland and other parts of Finland

Jasmin: “My taxi driver who was from Lapland said that she loved the long nights and long days. She said that to her these were what made her region so special and unique.”

10. General Country Facts

  • Total Population: 5.4 million
  • Capital: Helsinki
  • Land area: 338,424 km2
  • Government: Republic, parliamentary democracy
  • President: Sauli Niinistö
  • Primary minister: Juha Sipilä
  • Currency: Euro
  • Official language: Official languages are Finnish (spoken by 88.9%) and Swedish
  • (5.3%). Sami is also recognized as a regional language.
  • Official Website: Finland.fi
  • Member of EU: Yes.
  • Member of NATO: No

Source: https://www.swedishnomad.com/facts-about-finland/

Bonus Fun fact:

11. Least Corrupt and Most Transparent

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When it comes to the reporting of the news, Finland is by far the most honest and transparent. This is mostly due to its commitment to equal rights and emphasis on transparency. Finland’s press has been rated the freest one in the world. Transparency International, based in Berlin, has rated Finland since 1998 as the world’s least corrupt country as is its reporting of domestic and international news. If you’re looking at alternative fact-based non-partisan reporting of international news, best you turn to the Finnish press, such as Helsinki Times.


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Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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