What are the first things that come to mind when you think about Finland? It might be their gorgeous nature (Northern Lights!), love for salted liquorice or maybe even their fantastic sauna tradition. Not many might realise that the small country of 5 million people actually has a lot to offer for international students. Have you thought about studying in Finland? Here are five things you might want to know!
#1 Work Opportunities in Finland
Not only are the Finns some of the best English speakers in the world, next to Holland and Sweden, they are also well-known for embracing new tech, ideas and talents. Aside from Nokia, some world famous brands you might have heard of were started in Finland:
Supercell – mobile gaming company famous for Clash Royale and Clash of Clans
Suunto – outdoor, performance and lifestyle equipment famous in sports communities
Rovio – mobile gaming company famous for Angry Birds
In fact, Rovio was founded by three students while they were studying at Helsinki University of Technology.
Thinking about starting up your own business? After graduating, you’ll be in the right place to launch your idea! According to 2017 Global Startup Ecosystem Report, Helsinki ranks among the top 5 cities in Europe for startups.
#2 Student Life: On Campus
In a country that prioritises health and work-life balance, it comes as no surprise that student life in Finland is comparatively relaxed. It could also be because of the amount of support that universities, communities and the government afford to students. If you do your research, there are many options to find funds and grants for exchange programmes or internships.
Need to find a way for more allowance? As an international student, you are also allowed to work part-time up to 25 hours a week. You also get to enjoy other benefits like shopping with ISIC student discounts and Frank student service.
#3 Student Life: Off Campus
If you’re one to enjoy nights out with friends, however, costs can really add up. Drinks are quite expensive in bars, but there’s always home parties or those held by student organisations.
What makes Finland truly, truly unique however is the experiences out in nature. The winters and auroras, or Northern Lights, are breathtaking, and can only be found in very few other places in the world. Plus, they are visible in Finland roughly 200 nights in a year in the Finnish Lapland (otherwise known as the home of Santa Claus!).
Love sports? There’s also not many other places where you can go snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or snowmobiling or sledge dog touring to spot the auroras.
#4 Cost of Living
While its neighbouring Nordic countries don’t use the Euro, Finland does. According to StudyinFinland, living expenses for students average around €700 a month – but discounts on housing and transport will help a lot in lowering the costs.
Affordable student housing is also not a stress point. As an international student, some options to find housing include HOAS or student associations. Living in student housing or dormitories are the most cost-effective option.
The average rent for a single room in a shared student flat ranges from approximately €160 to €380 a month. One tip to remember is to plan and register in the queue months before you arrive, especially in the autumn when a lot of new students arrive. There’s usually a massive queue for the student dorms in that period.
#5 Visa Information
Depending on your nationality, different visa regulations might apply to individuals. If you’re from outside the EU and studying for more than 3 months, you’ll receive a ‘student residence permit’. European Union/European Economic Area/Nordic students do not require a residence permit.
This student residence permit is granted for a year at a time or also depends on how long your programme is. To get it, you’ll need at least your passport, an admission letter from a Finnish university and prove that you have the funding to cover your student expenses when you’re there. The awesome thing is you can do everything online!
Once you graduate, you can also extend your residence permit for up to a year to look for work. It’ll give you the breathing space you need if you hope to build a career there, and once you find work you can apply for a new residence permit.
Quality education, opportunities and great student support. The best thing is, there is much more that Finland has to offer on of all of these. Check out the many different schools and programmes on offer, and you’ll find that Finland is one of the few hidden gems in Europe to complete your degree overseas.