In September I moved with my family from Belgium to Finland (Kouvola) for my work. Since then I got Finnish courses about 5-6 hours per week and doing additionally about 10 hours homework per week as well. So yes, things are progressing not too badly... My boss is now pushing me to get quite a good level in the next months meaning targetting B2-level of CEFR scale (seems I am at A2-level now more or less).
Does anybody know if these kind of (very) intensive language trainings exist in Finland where you get about 30-40h course per week (not kidding!). It doesn't matter where in Finland the course is. Any help would be really appreciated.
Nowadays nearly all the municipalities offer intensive courses starting at different intervals throughout the year. An intensive course is usually 20+ hours (4-5 mornings or afternoons) per week, plus homework. You need to call the työväenopisto where you live to ask what's available or you should be able to find their info online.
Helsinki also has kesäylopisto intensive courses but the class sizes are quite big and AFAIK they tend to be focused on grammar. The jyu course includes social activities etc so there is a real chance to practise your conversational Finnish. And it's a nice place.
In my experience, Helsingin Kesäyliopisto is a huge classroom doing ONLY grammar without any opportunity for developing speaking and listening skills, and has a lot of repeat students in there because they have completed it already and still don't understand anything the teacher had to say. It's been a few years since I was there, but I noticed they've added oral skills courses so they seem pretty aware of a major problem. (If you ask me it would have been smarter to fix the course in the first place.)
I don't think that doing 40+ hours of instruction will move you any faster than an ordinary intensive of 20 plus homework. You will be amazed at how mentally exhausting that is once you're in one. You can probably get to B1 in the next few months, but there comes a point you'll need daily conversation rather than courses alone to move towards B2. My teacher claimed that once you reach B1 it's another year of work to move up each level (B2, C1, C2). I'm quite sure you can get the B2 level grammar down pat, but that's not really an indicator of the speaking & listening comprehension. You've been here five months and have already achieved A2.2; you're already a high achiever according to the timeline that the TE office expects of immigrants. It's not fair or realistic to push you towards B2 overnight.
If you don't have an opportunity to use Finnish daily and you have your days free (I assume so since you've talked about intensive courses), I'd suggest you do a work trial. Find somewhere that you will be forced to speak Finnish, with a host who's sympathetic to what you are aiming for, who will support you and be patient enough to speak simple Finnish with you. In return you give them a pair of hands for a month or two. Don't be tempted to choose somewhere quiet or easy. One of my fellow students did hers in a Lindex store for six weeks and her Finnish took off measurably (and her final tested level was A2.2 after the work trial, so it CAN be enough for working, in the right environment).
My apologies that it took so long to answer. However, I really appreciate the time you took to answer my question.
I have the opportunity to speak Finnish daily but somehow the people don't talk a lot here and easily switch to English whenever I try to ask something in Finnish. I realize that I need to speak more! My question (for myself) is how to do that. I mean in Helsinki there are much more activities that could be interested to join. Here in Kouvola it looks a bit harder in my opinion. And I also now that I am not the person who will easily make contact but once I do I am very open . I am more the person waiting for people to ask me to join an activity instead of e.g. going to a sports club and sign up for something so that's a bit a threshold as well. Besides that when I try to communicate in Finnish I also like when people correct me when I say something stupid, this is the way how I can improve myself. E.g. at work I already tried sending emails in Finnish to people and I got an answer back in the way I was expecting, so the Finnish I used was not too bad, but I hardly get feedback on what was written wrong or word usage that would have been better. I could hang out in a bar to meet new people but that's quite an expensive thing in Finland
Are there any good forums or chat rooms to meet new people from this area?
Anyway, for those interested: University of Helsinki (Centre for Continuing Education HY) is offering an intensive language course with 6h of courses per day.