Dear Tzu-Chien,

I am very sorry to hear that you have had difficulties during your
English lesson. I will try and do my best to explain how this situation
might have occurred. If you feel you still have some unanswered
questions, please don't hesitate to come to the International Office and
talk to Taru-Mari and me about the situation. Please take into
consideration that Taru-Mari is working only during the morning hours
from 9-13.

In Finland, the background education and training for studying English
language is very different from other countries. Finnish students have
studied English for at least ten years before attending the courses at
the Department of Languages. Thus, their knowledge of the English
language is on a very high level even before entering the University.

The English courses at the Department of Languages are thus conducted
in a way that assumes the students know a lot already. Hence, the
teachers do not have to teach every detail to the students: they already
have extensive basic training on the subject.

Now don't get me wrong: This does not, in any way, mean that you are
somehow less intelligent than the Finnish students at your class. This
is certainly not the case! It is just that they have a different
educational background and they have probably been studying English for
a longer time.

In fact, it is very rarely that exchange students from non-English
speaking countries are accepted to English courses at the Department of
Languages. The reason is the differences in basic training in different

The English courses offered by the Language Center are more suitable
for most students because there things (for example grammar rules) are
explained in more detail. The courses at the Department of Languages
tend to be conducted in way that assumes the students have an extensive
basic training.

I sincerely hope that the situation has not caused too much troubles
for you. I also hope that this explanation has shed some light on what
has caused the situation and the teacher's behaviour. I would also like
to stress that you should not feel embarrassed about the situation. It
is simply caused by the differences in background knowledge.

Hopefully you can still enjoy the rest of your stay here in Jyväskylä
despite what has happened.

Like I mentioned in the beginning of this message, if you feel the
situation is still bothering you and you have not been given a proper
explanation, please feel free to stop by at the International Office
(during 9-13 in the mornings) and we can discuss the matter over.

With kind regards,

Tiina Savela


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