Insight 2016 speakers 1/5. In this series of blog posts we will present the speakers of our event Insight 2016 – Inspiration from students to students. More information on event page and on Facebook.

Operation A New Language in 5 Weeks

Copyright Joonas Heloterä –

Nothing motivates Tommi Valkonen better than a proper challenge. A commitment or a promise – like the one he made about learning French in five weeks – said aloud is the best driver to push himself beyond the comfort zone.

Tommi isn’t a newbie when it comes to public speaking as this Insight speaker held his first talk roughly a year ago. Tommi had wanted to try out public speaking for a while, so he decided to make a commitment and make it happen. It was the high season of applying to summer jobs so he decided to talk about how to stand out when applying to jobs. It all went well and he really enjoyed giving his first talk.

It wasn’t long before Tommi made another commitment. He had started using the Memrise tool to learn some Russian and he found that to be a very easy and efficient way of learning a new language. He began to wonder how efficient he could actually be in learning a new language. A new project was evolving.

His internship was about to start in six weeks and he had some free time on his hands during those weeks so he made a promise to himself. He would learn to speak French in only five weeks. To make the promise more solid he decided to give a speech in French at the end of the five weeks. After the part spoken in French, he wanted to talk about his learning methods to give audience tools for efficient learning. Around a hundred people came to listen, and the Youtube-video and blog post have inspired many more.

After the French learning experiment Tommi got increasingly interested in learning. What’s behind the process and how to become a better learner? The subject was so intriguing that he wanted to dig deeper. In fact, he got so into the topic that he decided to write a book about it. So, currently Tommi is working on a book that looks into the science behind learning and tells the results in a popularized way.  In his talk at Insight, Tommi will shed light on some of the best practices to learn better.

Henni Hakala
Insight Project Team member