Finland is not only a country renowned for its safety, clean air or nature, it is also a proud host of the highest quality education system in the world. As one of the most stable and developed countries in the world, Finland is ideal studying destination for any international student.

Study in Finland

The Finnish education system is built on research-based pedagogical methods developed over many decades. Teaching focuses on identifying and nurturing the individual strengths of students, rather than grading and comparing them with one another.

The relationship between teachers and students is open and non-hierarchical, with classes often taught in small groups that enable close student-teacher interaction. There is a strong emphasis on digital learning too.

You will experience great personal growth. Studying abroad means living in a different culture, and you might even face a cultural shock. But not to worry: you will enjoy your time here, since it has been proven that Finland has high standard of living when it comes to basic needs, foundations of well-being and personal freedom (5th in Social Progress Index 2018). Sooner or later you will become familiar with the Finnish habits and lifestyle and start adopting them in your own behaviour. Through this process, you will become more independent, confident and open – and maybe a little bit Finnish as well.

Read more about living in Finland »

Read more about the Finnish educational system » 

 

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English skills

You will learn new languages. Studying in English in a Finnish university is like a high-class language course. You don’t have to know Finnish to be understood here: Finland ranks as #8 in fluency of English compared to other non-English-speaking countries (English Proficiency Index 2018). In addition to academic English and daily conversations, you might learn some Finnish. Learning Swedish is possible as well, since Swedish is another official language in Finland. Studying abroad is a great way to improve your language skills.

International students are happy in Finland

Studying in Finland means that you are studying in a highly collaborative and international environment. International students are happy here; Finland stands out in student satisfaction surveys as Europe’s number one place for international students. In a study by the global platform StudyPortals, Finland was given an average satisfaction rating of 9.2 out of 10. You will meet lots of students from all over the world and you will complete study tasks together – not to forget all the activities outside studies.

You will gain valuable international experience. We are living in a world that knows no boundaries. You might build an international career or you might return to your home country filled with new experiences, knowledge and a world-class academic degree. Studying abroad gives you valuable insights about adapting to and understanding different cultures.

Read about the experiences of international students »

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University facilities

It is rare that students need to buy books, as university libraries are typically well equipped with both printed and digital resources. Library membership is free for everyone.

Campuses also offer world-class laboratories and other research facilities. Leisure facilities – which are free for students to access – often include gyms, courts for ball games, swimming pools and more.

Warm lunches and other food are always provided at campus canteens, where discounts are available to student card holders.

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Student safety and support

The World Economic Forum has named Finland as the world's safest country and with the least organized crime. The police are trusted and citizens respect the rule of law and the rights of others. Helsinki has also been named as the most honest city in the world.

Student unions have well established support programs for foreign scholars, who are assigned tutors to help them with both academic and personal matters.

Student union membership

Each university in Finland has a student union that all students are obliged to join. Depending on the university, student union membership is EUR 80 to EUR 130 per year.

The benefits of student union membership include:

  • Free healthcare for Bachelor’s and Master’s degree students. Healthcare services include access to clinics, general practitioners, dentists, vaccinations and mental healthcare, as well as laboratory examinations, X-rays and physiotherapy upon referral. (Please note that students from outside the European Economic Area still need to have health insurance with coverage of at least EUR 30,000 per year in order to be granted a residence permit)
  • Discounts on long-distance trains and buses
  • Discounts on meals from university restaurants, as well as certain other restaurants and shops
  • Discounts on museum, theatre and concert tickets
  • Opportunities to participate in organised leisure events and trips, as well as hire equipment for various sporting activities

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Residence permit applications

Citizens of the European Economic Area (i.e. the EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) are not required to have a Finnish residence permit to study in Finland.

Citizens of any other country need a Finnish residence permit for studies lasting longer than 90 days. For this permit to be granted, the Finnish Immigration Service requires that students have funds of at least EUR 560 per month for the duration of their studies, and health insurance with coverage of at least EUR 30 000 per year.

Insights by an international student »

Visit the Finnish Immigration Service to apply for your residence permit online »

Tuition fees and scholarships

Students from outside the EU member states or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are required to pay tuition fees to study in Finland. 

Read more on who is eligible to pay tuition fees »

At our member universities, tuition fees vary between EUR 8,000 and EUR 16,000 per study year. Scholarships are available to help students and we encourage you to apply for those. The number and structure of scholarships varies, but typically they fall into one of three categories: 

  1. Tuition fee scholarships. These may cover 50%, 80% or 100% of tuition, with the second year of the scholarship often conditional upon academic performance.
  2. Cost of living scholarships. Available to students who have been awarded tuition fee scholarships.
  3. Scholarships for outstanding academic performance. Typically available to students in their second year of studies who were not awarded a scholarship in the first year.

Read more on the tuition fees and scholarships for each of our member universities:

University of Eastern Finland »
University of Turku »
Tampere University »
Åbo Akademi University »

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Living costs

Below is a rough guide to average monthly living costs for a student in Finland. Heating, electricity and water (which you can drink straight from the tap) are generally included in rental costs.

 

Student accommodation

EUR 280 to EUR 500/month

Food

EUR 200 to EUR 300/month

Local transportation

EUR 20 to EUR 50/month

Miscellaneous costs

EUR 100 to EUR 200/month

TOTAL

EUR 600 to EUR 1050

 

International students can enjoy many of the benefits of the Finnish welfare state model, including the substantial discounts on food, travel and more that come with student union membership.

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Accommodation

When you look for a place to stay in Finland, there are two main options: established student housing foundations and the private market. 

Student housing providers are listed on the SOA (Finnish Student Housing Ltd.) website. Average monthly rent for a single room in a shared student flat ranges from around EUR 160 - 380. Single apartments or family flats are also available, but the rent is likely to be higher in these non-shared apartments and they often have long waiting lists. 

You can also arrange housing independently by searching for rented flats on the open market or on social media. Open market flats tend to be more expensive than those available via student housing foundations. 

It might also be a good idea to see if the institution you are applying to has any specific advice on student accommodation.

Working while studying

Citizens of the European Economic Area (i.e. the EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) can stay and work in Finland for up to three months without a residence permit. Uninterrupted stays of longer than three months need to be registered with the Finnish Immigration Service, so you can receive a personal identity number that allows you to continue living and working in the country.

Students from outside the European Economic Area with a valid Finnish residence permit can also work in Finland, although there may be restrictions in the number of hours and the type of work. Exact details can be found on the Finnish Immigration Service website.

Jobs in Finland are often found through networking and by word-of-mouth, so we encourage students to be active! Jobs are also posted on Linkedin, as well as on local services like Oikotie and TE-palvelut. Students can also often get university internship work through their academic department.

While companies that mainly operate in the domestic market may require their employees to speak Finnish, companies that operate internationally often use English as their primary language. Increasingly, e.g. restaurant staff are not required to speak Finnish.

Studying towards a PhD in Finland

Our member universities offer a wide variety of PhD programmes, which you can apply to directly from the university of your choice.

Regardless of nationality, there are no tuition fees for students studying towards a PhD in Finland. Most PhD students in Finland are either fully or partially funded through grants, or have salaried positions at their chosen university.

PhD research is often conducted in conjunction with a company or other organization, so students may be able to do paid work as part of their research.

University of Turku PhD programmes »
Tampere University PhD programmes »
University of Eastern Finland PhD programmes »
Åbo Akademi University PhD programmes »
Academy of Finland »

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