I’m Sissi, a Finnish woman intrigued by individual life stories and intercultural encounters, obsessed with how languages and education shape our reality, enraged with shauvinism of all kind. This is why I cannot sit still.
This platform is about people and cultural awareness, cultural differences and similarities. It’s about exploring life from on top of a bicycle (at the moment I’m cycling from Argentina to Mexico) and about observing culture-bound thought patterns even when still. More than ever, this has also become a space for what it means to be a woman in Latin America – for locals as well as myself.
From Necessity into Passion
Since my early childhood I’ve been on a path towards a culturally complex life. Due to my father’s international career, I found myself communicating in Finnish and body language with Dutch friends at the age of four, learning to distinguish a North American from Chinese at the age of five and receiving unexpected cheek kisses from a Portuguese lad at the age of six.
When I was eight, my family moved to the USA, with me knowing only one word in English: lipstick. That and monkey bars were the starting point into making new friends at school. Seven years later we moved to Austria, where my German level was more or less at the level of Das Auto upon my arrival at the Wirtschaftskundlichesbundesrealgymnasium (and people say Finnish has long words). All through high school I spent my summers waitressing in Italy, which is where I also stayed to study after high school (and where I returned to live for a couple of years later on). Then I moved to Poland (after studying languages in Finland for a while) first for work, then to do a BA in Social and Cultural Sciences at the Polish-German border (specializing in media studies and sociolinguistics. I’m be convinced that media and languages are two things that shape our minds more than anything). From there, I returned to Finland to complete a MA in Intercultural Encounters and Comparative Religion. For those of you interested in academics, my BA thesis was about Apartheid and Wittgenstein (oral part) and about the conflict between religious freedom and freedom of expression (written part). My MA thesis was about the representation of the Finnish Roma minority in school books.
Before, during and after university, I’ve put into praxis my devotion for intercultural encounters. When abroad, this has been done through hitchhiking, couchsurfing and cycling. When working, I’ve strived for sharing intercultural knowledge through the media (e.g. as scriptwriter, as programmer for a documentary film festival, as videojournalist, as cameraman for a documentary film and as journalist for various magazines), by writing regularly about hiv in Finland and by designing and giving courses on intercultural communication. In January 2017, I co-founded a Finnish online travel magazine for women, Seikkailijattaret from which I have since withdrawn.
I love exploring cultures and teaching about them, learning languages and observing and interpreting people-related phenomena. I adore extreme sports (rock climbing, paragliding, diving…) and dance. Lately, I have also become interested in digital anthropology and intercultural communication on the internet.
This platform is where I share what I see, think and experience. For more information, articles and interviews, please click here.