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Flutist Eva Ryan: WordDive helped Finland come alive for me

October 2, 2015

I started studying Finnish with WordDive at the beginning of the summer as I was coming up on my two year anniversary with Finland. Before WordDive, my Finnish studies went through waves of motivation, including one Finnish course and some study on my own.

Eva Ryan

I moved from the US to Finland because I won a place in Lahti Symphony as a flutist. My work is in Finnish, but I quickly got a grasp of the numbers before I moved here, which are important for rehearsals, and then learned a handful of other words: sama paikka (same place), jälkeen (after), & ennen (before)…but that was about it. After all, music is the “universal language” and I had so many friendly colleagues that made excellent translators!

WordDive finally gave me the push I needed. I began with practicing one hour a day, and it was so much fun! Then day by day I slowly watched the world around me come to life. I began understanding signs on the street, shop names, advertisements – it was just one thing after another! As I did the food course on WordDive I felt more independent and efficient at the grocery store. I could see even what aisle I needed to go to find what I was looking for.

Language learning results

However, since it’s quite easy to remain in an English speaking bubble in Helsinki, the ultimate test came when I went back to work at the end of the summer and was thrust into the Finnish speaking world again. I was suddenly understanding announcements people made at work. I had gotten used to almost not listening because I knew I wouldn’t understand, but I found that I even understood people when I was passively listening – that was my real “Aha!” moment when I realized that I was really starting to understand. Now when my colleagues speak to me in Finnish, instead of feeling like a deer in the headlights listening to “gibberish,” I maybe can pick out only one word that I don’t understand. Yesterday while I was walking my dog I even understood a complicated story from a Finnish granny who stopped me on the street for a chat!

Language learning results

The combination of hearing a word, associating it with a picture and motivating results really made learning Finnish fun for me this summer!

Eva Ryan

American Flutist Eva Ryan is an emerging orchestral and solo artist who currently works as the Co-Principal Flutist at the Lahti Symphony Orchestra in Finland.

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