Taylor Houck: Living and playing soccer in Finland

Finnish people have been unbelievably nice to me so far. My teammates are always there to help translate for me, or to try and help me learn some Finnish commands. It seems as if older generation Fin’s don’t know as much English as younger kids. However, even if they don’t know English, Finnish people have been so patient in dealing with me. I used 2 € coin for the first time at a local grocery store and the cashier cheered me on as I counted my coins out.

Soccer is so much different here then how I grew up with it. In High School, the players can choose to go to a “Sport High School.” Now, I haven’t figured out entirely what this means but my basic understanding is that the people that go to this high school are obviously athletes. The high school girls on my team have 8 AM training three times a week that (I think) count as school credit. These players do these trainings in the morning and then train with the club at night. It is something they have been doing even before high school. I do not think 16 year old me would ever be okay with training three times a week before school. It is amazing the drive that these young players have.

So far it hasn’t been that cold here in Finland. I am from Pennsylvania, which is recently getting slammed by winter storms, so I feel somewhat lucky to have escaped such crazy weather. It has stayed between 20-30 degrees. Recently it has begun to warm up so much that the think layers of snow covering the sidewalks are beginning to melt. That being said, I never leave my apartment without two jackets, boots, hat, gloves and sweatpants. Just to be safe.

One of the more interesting thing’s I have found is how American’s are perceived. One of the first nights I spent with my team, they spent it quizzing me about America. “Do you like Bacon?” “Do you eat a lot of Hamburgers” “Are the parties crazy like in the movies” It seems like most people I have met believe that America really is like the movies. I spend the majority of my time attempting to convince them that not all parties in college are like Project X and that I don’t go to McDonalds every day for a Big Mac.


Taylor Houck
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