Pioneer Public – Siiri Nikkinen


Photo by Lauren Clouser | The Globe

Written By Lauren Clouser, Co-Features Editor

Freshman Siiri Nikkinen wanted to return to Pittsburgh ever since she was part of an exchange program. Nikkinen, who is originally from Finland, said that she fell in love with the city during the program.

“I was an exchange student in Butler for about a year in 2012, so that’s kind of how I fell in love with Pittsburgh and that’s kind of why I wanted to come back someday,” Nikkinen said.

This August, Nikkinen made her decision and moved back to Pittsburgh to study psychology at Point Park. Nikkinen said the decision was difficult because schooling in Finland is free, though she said she fits in more in America.

“I think that the issue was the fact that after my exchange here in Butler, I never really integrated back to Finland,” Nikkinen said. “So I always kind of felt left out and miserable, so I wanted to finally go. When it comes to money it’s more important that you are surrounded with people like you, so I got it worked out.”

Nikkinen is planning to live here for the next four years while her family remains in Finland.

“Sometimes it’s sad, but I’ve never really liked Finland that much,” Nikkinen said. “The culture is very different and I’ve always been not the typical Finnish person. I like it a lot better here and I don’t miss it that much. Of course I miss my family. Other than that I like it better here.”

Nikkinen said she hopes to remain in the United States after graduation, and wants to pursue a doctorate to become a child psychologist.

Nikkinen has gotten the opportunity to travel frequently, and said traveling helped her make the decision to move to America.

“That’s probably why it was so hard to integrate in Finland because Finnish people don’t speak a lot; they’re very shy,” Nikkinen said. “And when I travel a lot it was the opposite because you got to talk to other people, you get to know other cultures and things like that. That was definitely one of the reasons I moved.”

Nikkinen said that during her time at Point Park, her English pronunciation has improved, and that she now has less of an accent than when she
first arrived.

“Nowadays when I go back to Finland and I speak English they think that I’m an American,” Nikkinen said.

Although Nikkinen said she has had to make many adjustments, she views it as a learning experience. 

“I mean the culture is pretty different, I think that everything in my daily life is different, it’s just a lot of little tiny things that we don’t have or we do differently,” Nikkinen said. “It was quite an adjustment and there was still a lot of a language barrier and cultural differences, but every day I learn something new, so I think it’s awesome.”