Siperia opettaa.

-- Traditional Finnish proverb

A Finnish proverb highlighting the difference between formal education and experience, naively accepted theoretical studies and Real Life, or generally naivete vs. realism. The metaphor of Siberia is appropriate, because Siberia has a harsh climate where survival is the first priority.

- Se meni opiskelemaan koreografiaa, mutta ei ottanu ensin selvää, moniko tanssija on työtön.
- Ei kannata huolehtia, kyllä Siperia opettaa.


- She went to study choreography, but didn't check first how many of the dancers are unemployed.
- No need to worry, Siberia will teach her.
This sounds grim, but the proverb is actually quite optimistic: in any case, from experience, she will learn the realities of life. The proverb does not mean that she is stupid, only naive and childishly careless. ("The school of hard knocks" has a different meaning.) My driving instructor used this phrase to describe how you learn the traffic regulations and traffic behavior. Here in E2, where the new users seldom read carefully the policies first, Siberia will teach them.

Finland was an autonomous part of the Czarist Russia before 1917. Russians had developed the punishment of "internal exile" to Siberia. A civil servant could be posted to Siberia if he complained, for example. Political dissent and some severe crimes could also result in transportation to Siberia. This can be the origin of the phrase.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.