Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders welcomed Finnish Ambassador Mikko Hautala to Vermont on Thursday.

They participated in two town meetings today.

On Thursday morning — the two met with students from Harwood Union Middle and High school.

Students had the opportunity to learn about the education system across the ocean.

In the evening, Sanders and Hautala fielded questions from the general public at the First Unitarian Universalist Church.

“In Finland, higher education, college graduate school is virtually free,” says Bernie Sanders. “And kids were very excited to hear that. I think they’d like that very much.”

Russian’s invasion of Ukraine was a topic of conversation.

The Finnish Ambassador is ready for Finland to join Nato.

“We don’t want to end up in a situation where Russia can define our position as permanently something that is outside our defense,” says Finnish Ambassador Mikko Hautala. “When Putin last December said there should be no further Nato enlargement, that was the starting point for us.”

Before being the Finnish Ambassador to the United States — Hautala was the Finnish Ambassador to Moscow. He’s met countless times with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I think we didn’t take him seriously in the beginning and now I think the lesson is hard and we have learned now,” Hautala says.

Sanders and Hautala hope to continue working together in the future years.