HANCOCK - A Fulbright Scholar will be part of Finlandia University's Suomi College of Arts & Science for this school year.
Pivi Hakkarainen will teach a Special Topics in Finnish Studies course, as well as co-teach Digital Technologies and Applications for Teachers.
Hakkarainen said she had been looking for an opportunity to come to America or Canada. The small-town setting is a good fit for Hakkarainen, who lives with her family in the 150-person village of Vlijoki.
Finnish Fulbright Scholar Pivi Hakkarainen sits in her office at Finlandia University recently. The Vlijoki, Finland, native has come to Finlandia to teach a Special Topics in Finnish Studies course and co-teach Digital Technologies and Applications for Teachers. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette photo by Garrett Neese)
"I like adventure, so this is a pretty big adventure," she said.
Hakkarainen will also be continuing her research, which deals with people's relationship to the Internet. One recent study dealt with people 60 and older in Finland who do not want to get online. A similar study could be done in America, she said.
"I think it would be very interesting to compare the two," she said.
Hakkarainen's family came with her on the trip; her children are attending school.
"They are going to an American kindergarten in South Range, so I think they will learn the language," he said.
A longer-term project is to establish a Suomi Koulu, or Finnish school, to give Copper Country schoolchildren a way to become acquainted with the Finnish heritage.
"I hope that in the future we will have a good structure, a lasting structure, that will last not only this year, but so Finnish teachers can come and provide that teaching for the local children," she said. "I'm very excited about this idea, and willing to do everything I can to make it come true."
Hakkarainen has taught in high schools and universities for 15 years. She became interested in education after completing her master's of social sciences and social psychology from the University of Tampere of Finland. She also now holds a doctorate in education from the University of Lapland, also in Finland, and is completing a doctorate in social psychology through the University of Eastern Finland.
Hakkarainen has been impressed with the kindness of her new neighbors.
"As soon as my neighbors found out, they started bringing us things, like beds, furniture and different kitchenware, so we can have them for as long as we are here," she said. "That's very special. I think it's your culture, the sharing and helping."