Finland regularly rates as one of the best countries in the world to be educated in, according to the Programme for International Student Assessment. This high praise is just the start. Finland has a diverse, interesting culture and society, and education here is a priority above all else. Finland has the highest rate of students choosing to take further education in the world, and its unusual education system has been the model for many other systems in the world.
Why Study In Finland?
All teachers in Finland are required to have a Master’s degree, which is entirely state funded, and teachers are only selected from the top 10% of graduates. Education here is highly regarded as a profession and teachers are treated with the same respect and slight reverence that doctors receive in other countries.
It’s to be expected, then, that the Finnish higher education system is one of the most successful in the world, and it attracts an enormous amount of international attention, with over 20,000 international students attending higher education in Finland in 2015.
Higher education in Finland has long been government subsidized. For students in EU/EEA countries, tuition fees are free – making Finland a very attractive study destination for students in Europe. Non EU/EEA students will be required to pay annual tuition fees for Bachelors and Masters courses from August 2017.
Finland is a beautiful and exciting country, that doesn’t get the attention from tourists and from the world stage that it deserves. This is the land of fairy tale goblins, trolls and walking trees, where the cold and the north still very much command respect and excitement.
One of the most interesting features of Finland is its weather – it’s far enough north for the days during summer to be very, very long; with up to 19 hours of sunlight. This drops to a tiny 6 hours in the middle of winter, and, of course, varies in between a fair amount. In winter it also gets incredibly cold, with temperatures reaching lows of up to -20 degrees Celsius. This just adds to the mystery and romanticism of the country, and makes walking through campus a very exciting affair for most foreign students, who haven’t worked out how to balance on ice properly yet.
Although Finland doesn’t attract the tourism it deserves, there are still a few clever souls who make their way to the attractions in the cities and in the country. These include incredibly beautiful natural sights – none of which can be mentioned without offending another. Finland’s packed full of so much natural beauty that a ten minute drive outside of town will already begin to excite and inspire even the most hungover arts major.
The man made sights in Finland aren’t quite as impressive, but they’re still well worth marvelling at. Enormous construction projects started during Russian occupation of the country still stand, but the most exciting of these isn’t still standing, strictly speaking. Bomarsund was heavily damaged before completion by British forces during the Crimean War, and the towers here are still scarred from the bombardment. This place, like the rest of Finland, has a beautiful and romantic atmosphere to it, and is not to be missed by anyone intending to spend time in Finland.
Finland’s capital, Helsinki, is effortlessly cool; and is a beautiful, cold and watery place, with a lot of exciting attractions and sights. What tends to stick with everybody the most though, is how quirky and fun it is, and what a different impression it gives to the rest of the country. Helsinki should be visited – if not lived in – at all costs. It’s perhaps the only man-made place in Finland that can impress as much as the wilds can.
The main attraction of Finland is both manmade and wild, though. The Finns are by themselves a wonderful reason to visit the country, being as they are incredibly welcoming, friendly and charming. The Finns are some of the most hospitable people on the Earth, and if you choose to study in Finland, make it a priority to make some local friends – these people really are wonderfully good company.
Saunas are incredibly popular in Finland, to the extent where most households will have access to a sauna. Make a point of joining in with this national pastime, which is both relaxing and invigorating.
The food in Finland can be a mystery to foreigners, and we encourage you to make your own discoveries on that front. Expect strong, salty pickled fish, along with excellent bread and delicious beer.
Cost of Studying and Living in Finland
The Finnish education system subsidizes tuition fees for students from the EU/EAA – most courses generally do not charge tuition fees for these students.
Some courses that are taught in English as opposed to Finnish still apply charges to EU/EAA students, and the prices can vary enormously, with tuition fees ranging from €2500 to €12,000 per year. This depend upon the university and course. Check with the universities you apply to, and they’ll be able to steer you in the right direction.
Non EU/EAA students are now required to pay an annual tuition fees for Bachelors and Masters courses. Tuition fees can range from between €10,000 – €16,000 per year, so make sure you have sufficient funding in place if required before you submit your application.
It’s very easy to live in Finland with a very small budget – markets with local produce are common, and a weekly shop can cost as little as a few Euros if it’s done very carefully and outside of the major cities. In the city, though, it’s a different story, with rent and food prices at very high rates. The average wage for an urban Finn or student tends to be much higher than the European average, making it possible to support living costs nicely if you have enough time to work outside of studying.
The Finnish government also offers maintenance loans and scholarships to some international students; check with the universities you apply to and see if they’ll be able to help you get the financial support you might need.
The visa international students need to enter a Finnish university is known as the student resident permit application, and will generally be available at the Finnish embassy in your country. They should be able to help you with the application, but as with most of these documents, you’ll need a variety of paperwork to complete the form, such as proof of financial support, proof of accommodation, your passport, and a letter of acceptance from your university.
Generally your university will help you through the visa application process and will explain what you have to do and bring in detail. The embassy should also be helpful – make sure to contact them first to book an appointment and get the full list of what you’ll need to successfully complete the visa application.
The student visa in Finland must be renewed each year, and that can be done very easily at your local police station without too much fuss – worry about that later.
Finnish is the language spoken in Finland, strangely enough, and the Finns themselves tend to be very quiet when they talk in any language. This isn’t rude, it’s just the culture here; so don’t be offended when a Finn only responds to you very quietly. English is spoken by all but the very old and the very young, and you should have no problems getting around the place with no command of Finnish, although if you’re intending on living and studying here for a few years, it may well be worth picking up a few choice words and phrases.
The university courses are taught in both English and Finnish, and both are taught incredibly well. Bare in mind, though, as discussed above, that an English-taught course may well have tuition fees, whilst a Finnish one absolutely will not. Check with the universities you’re applying for whether or not they charge for the English course, and make sure to check how much before you hang up! Sometimes the charges can be a purely symbolic €10 to €200 per year or term.
How to Apply
For more information on how to apply for admission to study in Finland please check the Precious Education Admission Application dates and remember the deadlines so you don’t miss a thing, To get the best support please check the forum or contact a Precious Education Agency Student Advisor to guide you on the admission process.