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About Mikko

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    May 2005
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  1. I definitely agree - Italy is a wonderful country to explore as a tourist but it's difficult for foreigners to settle there because it's nearly impossible to find a decent job, the local bureaucracy is a mess and you need to hire an accountant to file your tax returns because the tax system is ridiculously complex, renting a flat and everyday life in general is rather expensive even compared to Western European standards, and of course you have to learn the language to a high level before you can even start dreaming of a job with decent salary. It took me 3 or 4 visits to the municipal magistrate to get the official residency, 2 visits to the local bank to open an Italian bank account, etc. Luckily I spoke fluent Italian when I first arrived there, so I had a fairly good chance to find a job (which I eventually did, as an English teacher) among all the foreigners, most of whom barely knew elementary Italian. If you ever consider moving to Italy, be warned. On a more cheerful note, I also want to say that I did enjoy my time in Italy (I lived in Tuscany). The countryside and the mountains are stunningly beautiful, the food is excellent, and no obstacle is ever insurmountable if you have good friends and/or know the right people.
  2. I did it in English ten years ago (wow it feels like it all happened yesterday...) and got a bilingual diploma (Finnish A1 HL).
  3. Advanced/native fluency: Finnish (native speaker), English (near native, I guess? I studied in English for several years and worked as an English teacher), Italian (advanced fluency, Italian was my major at uni and I also lived in Italy for 4 years) Basic fluency: German (8 years of school classes), Swedish (5 years at school + work experience - consequently I also understand Norwegian and some Danish), Spanish (self-taught) Intermediate: Russian (mainly self-taught) Currently learning: Northern Sami I work as a translator (FI, EN, IT) and tour leader.
  4. I couldn't agree more with you. I'm a 90% vegetarian, meaning that I eat meat maybe once every 1-3 weeks and fish maybe 1-2 times a week. Our modern industrialised way of producing meat is just simply wrong and I do not want to support that industry by buying meat from big food store chains; instead, I buy it from local small-scale organic farmers, hunt it myself (with bow and arrow, I dislike firearms) or get meat from other hunters, or collect roadkills whose meat would go to waste if not. I believe this is the ethical and natural way of eating meat every once in a while. The thing that troubles me is that nowadays people are so estranged from our natural environment that in the zeal of "progress", on big farms with thousands of animals for meat production, even taking an animal's life has become a seemingly insignificant and mechanised operation, and most people never stop to think about the fact that before the 20th century, on the countryside roughly 80-95% of our daily diet consisted in vegetarian food - just like it's biologically supposed to be. My maxim is: if you eat meat but would never kill an animal for food or even watch others do it, then you're a hypocrite who should be a vegetarian.
  5. I believe you're right in saying that women need to be encouraged to seek higher-paying jobs if they wish to be better off financially. However, if that condition (ambition in the purely financial sense of the word) is not fulfilled, I fail to see why they should aim any higher. The point is that if the majority of women doesn't even want to perform certain types of tasks, how is this inequality? It is just reality that some jobs are better paid than others, and - as you said - if you choose a job that pays less, it doesn't mean you are any less equal to other people who might earn 100k a year. You have made your choice based on your biological traits, personality and interests, and that's it. Whether or not it is just that salaries for some jobs are ridiculously high is debatable. No, I do not want to be called a 'feminist' because I don't see the point in the so-called "positive discrimination" that is put to effect in workplaces and legislation (at least here in Finland if not elsewhere). I support gender equality which is a slightly different thing. The problem with feminism is the underlying assumption that women are always the 'weaker' sex that needs to reach a 100% equality in everything men do - that's not how it works in real life: you can't force women to take half of jobs in metallurgy, for instance, because most women are simply not interested in that field of study, nor can you make men choose nursery studies if they don't have a passion for that subject. You do what you are interested in. It has nothing to do with oppression.
  6. Every single novel we read in our Finnish and English Literature courses was interesting but there were a few that have really stuck with me all these years: Aino Kallas - Sudenmorsian (a werewolf story) Ariel Dorfman: Death and the Maiden Maya Angelou- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings William Golding - Lord of the Flies
  7. 1. What is your real name? Mikko (Michael). 2. Where are you from? Finland, northern Europe. 3. How did you find out about IB Survival? Google is my friend. 4. What made you register on IB Survival? I feel nostalgic, I guess... 5. When did you (approximately) register here? Approximately 10 minutes ago. 6. What is your favourite IB subject? I loved History! You can't understand the present, not to mention the future, unless you know how we ended up at this point in time. 7. When are you graduating? I graduated in May 2005 - over 10 years ago! It's funny to think about because it feels like it happened yesterday... Or maybe I still live in the past. 8. What are your plans for university? I got my MA in Translation & Interpreting (in Italy). Before that I did BA in Italian Philology at Helsinki University, Finland. After university (which is mostly a waste of time anyways) I have been studying Crafts & Arts (primitive handicraft skills) and become a wilderness guide. I think moving in the middle of nowhere was the best decision in my life - believe me, this silly thing they call "civilization" will not bring you happiness. 9. What are your free-time hobbies? I still love reading and I also practise traditional archery. Every once in a while I engage in a chess match. 10. If you could change one thing on IB Survival, what would it be? I haven't got the faintest idea... Can't say, really.