Studying In Finland

Studying in Finland: College in Finland for international students

Studying in Finland can be a great way for international students to enjoy the versatile Finnish culture and to study within one of the highest regarded education systems in the world.

Finland is often lauded as one of the happiest countries in the world and also boasts a highly successful education system.

Known for its lush nature, high level of safety, and notable work-life balance, Finland is an attractive destination for international students and is indeed among the most popular study abroad locations in Europe.

The largest university in Finland, the University of Helsinki, is often ranked among the top 100 schools in the world.

The prospect of moving to Finland may seem daunting, but the process is surprisingly straightforward. In this article, we cover the ins and outs of relocating to Finland to study.

Why study in Finland as an international student?

Tucked between Sweden/Norway and Russia in Northern Europe, Finland is the perfect midway point between the east and the west. Finland is a country of just over 5.5 million residents and is known for its technology, safety, and rich culture.

Finns are innovative folk — if you hear of a new, “why didn’t anyone think of that before” innovation, chances are it comes from Finland.

Students apply to study abroad in Finland for a plethora of reasons, but the nature is definitely an attractive quality. The water and air in Finland are among the purest in the world, and Finns are happy and proud to show their beautiful country to visitors.

Finland is a country with a strong, deep culture, and is also an increasingly international location. Tourists love to marvel at the design shops in Helsinki and dip into one of the nearly 200,000 lakes — the monocle “land of a thousand lakes” is a vast understatement.

Finland is also a popular attraction for international students. At the University of Helsinki, for example, more than 3,000 of the 30,000+ degree students are international. That means that roughly every tenth student roaming the halls of the campus hails from outside Finland!

The Finnish culture is quite introspective, which may make newcomers nervous, but fear not: once you get to know Finns (usually over a beer or a cup of coffee, since Finns drink the most coffee per capita in the world) they will open up and will usually be your friends for life.

Studying In Finland

Can anyone go to college in Finland?

The more than 500 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs that are offered in English for international students in Finland include just about every field imaginable. Over 20,000 international students are currently enrolled in various programs in different Finnish cities.

The University of Helsinki reports that nearly 90% of their international students would recommend their study experience.

Students from all over the world are encouraged to apply to Finnish universities. The website Studyinfo.fi offers a database of programs to apply to and can be filtered by program type, language, location, and more.

Although the Finnish education system is easy to follow, the true culture shock for international students often lies in the weather. Finnish winters are long and dark, and kaamos — the period of darkness that begins in the fall and ends in the spring, where in some areas of Finland the sun does not rise at all — can take those who are not used to it by surprise.

By contrast, the summers in Finland are exceedingly bright. International students leaving night clubs at 3AM are in for a surprise when the sun is already up! All four seasons are vibrant in Finland, and some international students see the true changing of seasons for the first time when visiting.

How do I get into college in Finland?

Navigating the application system to Finnish schools can seem like a hassle for a foreigner, but the system is in fact quite simple. The aforementioned Studyinfo.fi portal is the most typical and easiest way to apply, and it lists the different requirements for each program.

Prepare to have at least the following documents at hand:

—Certificate of graduation or diploma from previous school(s).

—Program application.

—English-proficiency test, such as TOEFL or IELTS (not always required).

If your documents cannot be translated to Finnish (or the other official language in Finland, Swedish,) they should be in English. As mentioned, all schools and programs have their own requirements, so make sure to check each program that you are interested in to ensure that you have what the admissions process asks for.

Is college free in Finland?

One of the most attractive parts about going to school to Finland for international students is often the cost, or lack thereof. Finland is known worldwide for its government-funded education program that is free to students, and the vast majority of schools in Finland are public, apart from the few niche private schools.

Although college is free for Finnish citizens, the costs vary for international students. Students from European Union countries and Switzerland can take advantage of the free education and are not required to pay tuition fees.

The situation is different for students hailing from outside the European Union, however. While each university has their own fees, students from non-EU countries can expect to pay between 5,000 and 15,000 euros per year, depending on the program.

There is one exception — if you happen to speak Finnish or Swedish, you can attend university for free in Finland, regardless of where you are from! Only English-language programs carry fees.

Studying In Finland

What is the cost of living in Finland like for international students?

Nordic countries, including Finland, are often considered pricey in comparison to many other countries in Europe. That said, the high quality of living and safety make the higher costs worth it. International students hoping to study in Finland should be prepared for the average costs of living to avoid being surprised upon arrival.

For international students, two options exist: student housing and private housing. Renting an apartment, room, or house privately can be pricey, and costs vary notably between areas. In fact, monthly rent can range from approximately 600 euros to more than 2,000 euros, depending on the location and the size of the residence.

Student housing is more affordable and is often the closest option to campus. Living in student residences can also make it easier to meet like-minded people and mingle with other students.

The SOA (Finnish Student Housing) program lists student housing options on its website. According to the SOA, a single room in a shared apartment typically costs between 160 and 380 euros. Living in a shared apartment may be the best option for international students who are new to the country and are looking to meet other students from both Finland and abroad, as well as practicing their language skills.

Keep in mind that if you are accepted into a college in Finland with a student residence permit, you will be allowed to work for up to 25 hours per week. That can ease the burden of living costs notably.

Living costs apart from housing vary wildly based on lifestyle choices and preferences, but anything between 500 and 1,000 euros is considered average.

Since only Finnish residents are covered by the free national health insurance, international students will need to have adequate health insurance that covers the duration of their studies.

Do I need a visa to study in Finland?

Whether or not you need a visa to study in Finland depends on where you are moving from. Students from other Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland) do not need visas, nor do students hailing from European Union countries.

If you are a citizen of a non-EU country, you will likely need to apply for at least a student residence permit. This can only be done once you have been accepted to a college or university in Finland. The good news is that being rejected for a student residence permit is incredibly rare!

Depending on where you are from, you may also need to apply for a transit visa to travel to Finland.

Student residence permits are typically only valid for the duration of the studies. As mentioned, students who have been granted a residence permit are allowed to work for up to 25 hours a week. Citizens of Nordic or EU countries can work without restrictions.

Are you ready to study abroad in Finland?

Studying abroad in Finland might be the best decision you’ll ever make! From the gorgeous and historical seaside city of Helsinki to the quaint university towns of Turku and Oulu and the picturesque Lapland, Finland offers a plethora of incredible locations to study in.

The modern and innovative Finnish education system ensures that all students graduate with a high degree of knowledge and are ready to start or continue their careers with the best tools in hand.

If you are interested in studying in Finland as an international student, look into the requirements for students from your country — you might be surprised by how welcoming Finland is to international students.

Soon, you could be one of the more than 20,000 international students roaming the streets of Finland!

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