Finns Are Learning to Be Mermaids From the Country's First Professional Instructor

People in Finland are flipping for new swim classes from 28-year-old Maija Mottonen, the country's first professional mermaid instructor.

People in Finland are flipping for new swim classes from the country's first professional mermaid instructor.

Maija Mottonen, 28, quit her job as a kindergarten teacher to teach "mermaiding" classes outside of Helsinki. Since kicking off her new career in August, Mottonen has taught more than 200 students to be mermaids and mermen, according to Reuters. 

"It's my childhood dream come true," Mottonen said. "When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a mermaid or a dolphin, but I think it's easier to become a mermaid because it's half-human."

Students said learning to undulate their entire bodies is challenging, but they are happy to strap on the colorful tails, which costs about $200 each.

"When I had tried this once, I was hooked," said Annika Ihatsu. "I feel real powerful in water."

"People think, or mostly men, are thinking that this is only for girls or women, but I disagree. This is for everyone," added Markus Parviainen. "As long as you love swimming you can do this."

Mottonen teaches her classes in a swimming pool for now, but she plans to take her mermaid lifestyle outside into Finland's lakes when the weather gets warmer.