Salolampi Blog

Welcome to the blog for Salolampi, the Finnish Language Village. Subscribe here to receive notification of  blog updates by email.

To view photos from our summer sessions, please visit our Airtable Gallery

From "Start to Finnish"

Published: June 25, 2019

World-renowned Linguist, Fluent in 12 Languages, Takes On His Biggest Challenge Yet: Becoming Conversational In Finnish In Two Weeks

Dr. Alexander Arguelles will strive to learn the language, alongside Salolampi Language Village students, in first-ever “Start to Finnish” challenge

Bemidji, June 25, 2019 – Salolampi Language Village, the top Finnish language immersion program in North America, operated in partnership with Salolampi Foundation and Concordia Language Villages/Concordia College in Bemidji, Minnesota, is excited announce its first-ever “Start to Finnish” challenge, which involves going from speaking zero Finnish to being conversational in only two weeks.

Who would take on such a challenge? Dr. Alexander Arguelles, Group Director of Immersion Language Programs at Concordia Language Villages, as well as a noted international linguist and a polyglot, proficient in about 12 languages, including his native English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Korean, Portuguese, Norwegian, Russian, Persian, Old Norse, and Hindi. In addition, he holds a Ph.D. from The University of Chicago in Comparative History of Religions and Germanic Philology and a BA in French and German Comparative Literature from Columbia University in New York. 

Over the course of two weeks, in the “Start to Finnish” challenge, Dr. Arguelles will aim to become conversational in the Finnish language. Prior to this point, he had no proficiency in the language. To accomplish his goal, he has devoted his life to learning as many foreign languages as possible according to systematic and scholarly principals. As a result, he has earned a reputation in the global community of foreign language lovers for his ability to take on challenges to learn and become proficient in new languages.

“Finnish is a completely new language to me,” said Dr. Arguelles. “I will be learning Finnish along with our students at Salolampi Language Village. By participating in this challenge, I wanted to show that it is possible to learn and speak a new language at any stage in life.”

Why did Dr. Arguelles choose Finnish, when Concordia Language Villages offers immersive programs in 15 languages?

“Finnish is the perfect choice for this challenge, because it's a language that I have not studied, and it's also considered one of the more difficult languages to learn,” said Dr. Arguelles. “Further, there's a growing interest in Finland and learning Finnish, thanks to the country's world-renowned success in education, progressive economic and social policies, and innovative architecture. It has also been ranked as the happiest country in the world for two years in a row. Finland is truly having its moment, and I am excited to experience that first-hand by learning the language.”

Dr. Arguelles adds that learning Finnish at Salolampi Language Village is ideal, thanks to its native-speaking Finnish instructors, authentic Finnish architecture, beautiful outdoor learning programs, traditional Finnish food like karjalanpiirakka, and even a wood-burning Finnish sauna next to a pristine lake. Indeed, it’s the perfect place to go from “Start to Finnish!”


The program runs from June 17 - June 28, and videos from the “Start to Finnish” challenge can be viewed at:

Salolampi Language Village blog:



Concordia Language Villages Youtube Channel:

YouTube Channel for Dr. Arguelles:

Hashtags: #FromstarttoFinnish #LivetheLanguage


About Salolampi Foundation

Salolampi Foundation is committed to sustaining Finnish language and culture through scholarships and funding to support the Salolampi Finnish Language Village.


About Concordia Language Villages

Concordia Language Villages, a program of Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn., is a recognized leader in global education offering 15 world language programs. Concordia Language Villages attracts more than 10,000 youth, educators and adults annually from across the United States. Youth ages 7-18 and adults of all language experience levels can take advantage of on-site learning options ranging from a weekend to four weeks. For more information on Concordia Language Villages, visit


For media inquiries, please contact:

Felicia Brigitta Morton


To follow along on Dr. Arguelles' journey towards learning Finnish, watch the video below! More episodes can be found by visiting the CLV YouTube page