Finland is a country situated in Northern Europe and joins Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and Norway to make up the Nordic countries. A parliamentary republic with the government located in the capital city of Helsinki, Finland is home to 5.5 million inhabitants. Most of the population is concentrated in the Southern parts of the country in the biggest cities such as Helsinki, Tampere, and Turku. Finland is ranked as one of the top 5 countries in the world with the highest standards of living and equality. The Finnish welfare state is commendable for its upkeep of all its residents’ well-being.
Finland is often referred to as the land of the midnight sun or the land of a thousand lakes, and our nature and seasonal traditions attract tourists from around the globe all year round. With varying temperatures throughout the year, Finland experiences all seasons in their own unique way. Winters are all about snow, ice skating, skiing and hot chocolate, whereas spring sees the force of life awaken in the nature. Summers are for picnics with friends and enjoying sauna followed by a dip in a nearby lake, and autumn paints its myriad of colors on the turning leaves as you go mushroom hunting in the woods.
In Finland, each higher education institution has a student union to look after students interests. When you get your Finnish student card, you become a member of your local student union. The university student unions have a national umbrella organisation, the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL). Similarly, polytechnic students unions belong to the Union of Students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences (SAMOK).Student union membership entitles you to a variety of student discounts and also, the student unions organise a lot of different activities you can take part in.
On top of the student unions, which operate on a national and institutional level, your faculty or department probably has its own student club. In addition to that, there usually are several separate clubs and student associations that centre around some hobby, sport, or other interest. You will find information about these on your institutions noticeboards, from the student services, or your fellow students.
Finns are friendly people who make for reliable and trustworthy friends. By living and studying in Finland, you will get to experience the easy-going lifestyle that comes along with the high standards of living.
The average monthly living expenses for a student in Finland are approximately 700-900€. This may vary a bit, depending on your study location in Finland – for example, accommodation and other living costs may be higher in the Helsinki metropolitan area and other cities.
Student accommodation in Finland, for both exchange and degree students, is usually organised by established student housing foundations. Many towns and municipalities also have dormitories maintained by the municipal community or the educational institution.
The student housing organisers are listed on the SOA (Finnish Student Housing Ltd) website www.soa.fi
Public transport is very well organised in Finland, and students receive a special discount that makes commuting affordable. It is not necessary to have your own car while living in the big Finnish cities
Once you have received a study placement in Finland, whether for exchange studies, a complete degree programme or a research period, there are several practical things you need to start arranging beforehand, well in advance of your arrival. First and foremost, please make sure you have a realistic plan concerning the financing of your study period in Finland. This is very important, not only because of the financial requirements in connection with your student residence permit, but for your own financial security. Some Master's programmes may include an annual tuition fee for non-EU/EEA students. But even if your studies in Finland themselves are free of charge, you will still need to cover your everyday living expences independently.Additionally, you should take into consideration at least the following:
Remember to reserve enough time to complete all the necessary formalities such as obtaining a passport, arranging your visa/residence permit and insurance.
Also bear in mind that once you have arrived in Finland, you still have some practical issues to consider, for example:
Usually, after your arrival you can ask for assistance in these and other practical issues from your hosting Finnish institution or student union. If you have any questions or are in doubt about some practical matter concerning your life in Finland as a student please do not hesitate to ask for help from the International Office of your hosting Finnish university, your student union, or you fellow students.
Even though Finland is a safe country to live in, accidents can happen to any of us. You may suddenly fall ill or injure yourself playing sport for example, and dealing financially with the aftermath of such unlucky occurrences may be very costly without proper insurance. That is why it is very important to bring a valid health and accident insurance policy with you. It is recommended that you take an insurance policy that covers you during your stay in Finland and also during your travel to and from Finland. If youre planning to partake in any leisure time excursions to Finland's neighbouring countries, it is advisable to make sure that the insurance is valid also in those countries.As a rule, only permanent residents of Finland are covered under the Finnish National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme of KELA. Thus, international students residing in Finland on a temporary student residence permit are not covered by the NHI scheme. If you are not insured by a corresponding insurance system from your home country, you are strongly advised obtain medical and accident insurance from a private insurance company before your arrival in Finland.
If your studies in Finland last more than three months you will need a student residence permit or, if you are a Nordic/EU/EEA citizen staying in Finland for more than three months (six months for Nordic citizens), you need to register your residence in Finland. It is also worth noting that, as a rule, you need to apply for your first student residence permit from your home country. If you have come to Finland with a short-term visa, you will usually need to return to your home country to apply for a residence permit.
Doctoral studies and research
Are you interested in a Doctoral/PhD degree or a PhD-level visiting researcher period in Finland? Applications must be made directly to the universities. Some universities may accept doctoral study applications at all times, while others may have specific application periods. The universities all have their own Doctoral Admissions info pages, where you can find detailed information.
Read more at www.studyinfinland.fi/doctoral
You may be aiming for full-time employment in Finland, and already during your studies the Career Services of your Finnish university or UAS can help you get started by providing advice on how to look for jobs after graduation. As your graduation approaches, you may renew your residency permit up to one more year in order to stay and look for work in Finland.
Finding a part-time job in your field while you are still studying may act as a springboard to full-time employment. As a Nordic or EU/EEA national, you don’t need a special permit for working during your studies in Finland. As a non-EU/EEA citizen, you may work up to 25 hours per week unless it’s a full-time internship or trainee position.
Read more at www.studyinfinland.fi/work
When it comes to top quality education, Finland is one of the first countries that comes to mind. A Nordic country with a population nearing 5.5 million, Finland has succeeded in not only keeping up with educational progress, but also excelling at setting a global standard.
A member of the European Union and home to 39 higher education institutions, Finland is a good choice for students from around the world. An egalitarian society where knowledge and lifelong learning are highly valued, Finland offers a great social setting to foster your learning and personal growth.
For an international student, life in Finland is enhanced by the convenience offered by high-level infrastructure and technology, the security of living in one of the safest countries in the world, and the enjoyment offered by the nature with four distinct seasons that all have their unique flavor.
Finland is one of the most environment-conscious countries in the world, and as a result, almost everyone is participating in ways to be eco-friendly. Nature is an integral part of the Finnish way of life for a very simple reason: it is everywhere.
In Finland, bustling city life meets peaceful nature scenes within a walking distance. The towns and cities accommodate activities for all seasons, and provide plenty of opportunities for exploration or relaxation.
Higher education institutions are internationally-minded and there are over 400 English-speaking degree programmes available across the country. Largely state funded, the institutions offer top quality teaching that is accessible to all. Campuses balance natural settings with high-tech facilities for all students to enjoy.
Being a student in Finland has many advantages. From high-tech labs to well-stocked libraries, university campuses are equipped with all the facilities that knowledge-hungry students need. A degree from one of the world-quality Finnish higher education institutions is your natural first step to paving the way for a great career in your field, whether it be academia or more practical sectors.
Finland is a human-scaled, cosy country, with cities and towns designed for people, not just cars. Rush-hours are a rarity.
Our higher education institutions are small enough to operate functionally and effectively. They are all internationally oriented with special regional features, and you can choose between very different study environments ranging from larger urban campuses to close-to-nature campuses.
Higher education institutions are highly autonomous, but largely funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Therefore the Ministry also closely oversees the quality of teaching. These efficiently managed institutions:
- react to the needs of the society, and business and industry in their curricula and teaching
- provide a wide range of high-quality programmes in English for exchange and degree students at all levels of education
- give their students transferrable skills on which they can build their future in academic fields and in the job market.
Trust and openness are important concepts in Finland, and getting networked at an early stage is the Finnish way. Here you can start getting connected with fellow international and Finnish students, organisations, and the working world already whilst studying your first courses. Often these networks and friendships last for the rest of your life.
The higher education system in Finland consists of two complementary sectors: universities and universities of applied sciences (UAS). The universities offer academic degrees on Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral level, whereas the UAS’s offer more practically oriented Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Both sectors offer a wide variety of degree courses available in English.
Visit www.studyinfinland.fi/degrees for more information!
How to apply
Applying to a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programme starts at www.studyinfo.fi. Eligibility and entry requirements, as well as the exact application period, are degree programme specific, so use the search function at www.studyinfo.fi to check these details.
Read more about how to proceed at www.studyinfinland.fi/steps
Tuition fees and scholarships
From the beginning of the academic year starting autumn 2017 and onwards, non-EU/EEA students in Finland are subject to tuition fees in English-taught Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes. The universities will also have new scholarship options to offer for non-EU/EEA students admitted into degree programmes with tuition fees. Each higher education institution will decide its fees and scholarships independently, but the annual fees will approximately vary between 8.000€ and 25.000€, with all institutions expected to offer scholarships to support students who participate in a fee-charging degree programme.
EU/EEA citizens do not have to pay any tuition fees.
Read more at www.studyinfinland.fi/scholarships
Meet language requirements for university admission in Finland by choosing an English language preparation course offered by English language schools worldwide, including Finland. By taking the right English exam training course you will advance your language skills in order to get the needed scores for IELTS, TOEFL, CAE, or other English exams.