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Do you want to attend a Finnish University? Why not?
Finland is located in the far North of Europe, between its neighbours Sweden and Russia.
The primary language is Finnish; Swedish is also an official language thanks to a Swedish minority, a result of 600 years as part of the Swedish Empire. Helsinki, the capital, is by far the largest city in Finland. Other large towns include Espoo, Tampere and Turku.
Finland is known for its harsh winters and short summers. Thanks to its proximity to the polar circle, it never gets dark in the summertime - while the sky does not light up during winter. Like other Nordic nations, Finland typically celebrates the summer solstice, when the sun hours reach their annual maximum in mid-June.
Helsinki is the capital of Finland and, at the same time, the northernmost capital of the European Union - just a tiny bit further up than Stockholm, Sweden. Its urban population is roughly around a million, just about a fifth of Finland. If you decide to study in Helsinki, you will feel safe: There are more than 60,000 students in the city, and a significant share of those come from other countries.
Statistics on Higher Education in Finland
Finland has about 40 higher education institutions, commonly classified as either universities (classical research and teaching institutions) or polytechnics, sometimes called universities of applied sciences (with a more practice-oriented approach to teaching). After the alignment of the European educational systems as part of the Bologna reform, many Finnish universities and universities of applied sciences have increased the number of English-language Bachelor and Master programmes. There are slightly over 300,000 students at polytechnics and universities in Finland, about 20,000 of which are international students.
For students from the EU/EEA, most academic degree programs are free. Tuition fees may apply to applicants from other countries, varying from school to school.
How to apply for a Bachelor or Master in Finland
First, you should decide which university programs you want to apply to. You will find the entry requirements in the course descriptions here on Study—EU or on the university websites. The Finnish polytechnics handle all applications for Bachelor's programs and many applications for Master's programs through their central application system at Studyinfo. Fi. For degree programs not handled via that website, you must apply directly to the polytechnic or university according to their admissions process.
Visa requirements for students
Students from the EU/EEA can study in Finland without any further visa requirements. Students from other countries may need to obtain a specific study visa. You should check with the Finnish authorities to know how to meet the legal requirements.
The job market for graduates
Finland is a welcoming country for foreigners. However, the big challenge for international graduates is the Finnish language. It is considered to be one of the world's most complicated languages. Even though almost everyone in Finland has a decent knowledge of English, it is vital to know at least a bit of Finnish for the workplace. But the Finnish authorities are doing their best to attract and keep talent in Finland.
Finland is located at the Northern edge of Europe. Helsinki Vantaa, in the capital, is one of the more important airport hubs in the Nordic region, with many international flights. Via Finnair, there are incredibly convenient connections to East Asia and China. Smaller airports in the rest of the country are sometimes serviced by low-cost carriers such as Ryanair but are otherwise connected via Helsinki.
Universities in Helsinki
There are many universities and polytechnics (often also: "universities of applied sciences") where you will find a broad choice of English-language Bachelor and Master programs. More than half of those who study in Helsinki are enrolled at the University of Helsinki, Finland's oldest university. The runner-up in size is Aalto University, created through a merger of three universities in 2010. If you are into Finnish and Nordic design, consider the relatively small University of the Arts in Helsinki.
If you want to stay in Finland after your degree, there is one big hurdle: Finnish. It is reputed to be one of the world's most difficult languages. At the same time, Finland is eager to attract and retain qualified immigrants. The University of Helsinki offers a comprehensive guide to working in Finland.
Quality of life
People in Finland may complain about the weather an awful lot, but the truth is: Helsinki has frequently ranked among the most liveable cities in the world thanks to its qualities.
Getting around Helsinki is convenient thanks to its advanced public transport system. And while Helsinki may be located on the outskirts of Europe, it is well-connected to the rest of Europe and the world. Helsinki-Vantaa airport offers about 130 non-stop destinations around the globe. Good news for Asian exchange and degree students: Finnair specialises in long-haul connections to East Asia, particularly China.
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I'm Natalia Bertelli, an English/Spanish to Italian legal translator. Since 2008 I have been working on contracts, judicial deeds, certificates, corporate translations for foreign clients who want to do business in Italy, get a dual citizenship or simply settle in my beautiful country.