Guide: studying in Finland

Opas: opiskelu Suomessa
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Here you will find information you may need if you are planning or beginning studies in Finland. The page is also a checklist for students.

This page will point you in the right direction if you are looking for information on the Finnish education system, on applying to study, housing, study financing and taxation, grading scales and recognition of qualifications, traineeships, student  healthcare and social security or student cards and student discounts.

Also take a look at the Moving to Finland checklist, which lists general advice if you are moving to Finland.


The Finnish education system consists of early childhood education and care, pre-primary and basic education, upper secondary and vocational education, higher education and adult education, which is available at all educational levels.

Educational levels

Read more about educational levels and how to apply:

Grading scales

You can find information on the grading scales used in Finland as compared to those used in the other Nordic countries on the page Grading scales in Finland.


You can find information on housing for students on the page Student housing in Finland. You can find general information on housing in Finland on the page Housing in Finland. 

Housing allowance is generally paid from the country from which you get student financial aid. Check your right to housing allowance with the authorities in your country of departure. If you do not get student housing supplement and you are covered by Finnish social security, you may be entitled to general housing allowance in Finland.

Financing studies and taxation

On the page Financial aid for students in Finland you can find out how students from other Nordic countries coming to study in Finland can finance their studies. The page also contains information on Finnish financial aid for students and the meal subsidy.

If you are planning to work while studying, your social security might transfer to your country of employment. Read more on the page Which country's social security system are you covered by?

You can find information on taxation of students on the page Taxation in Finland.


If you are planning a traineeship in Finland, you should first contact your place of study. Higher education institutions can arrange traineeships through their own agreements or the Erasmus traineeship programme, for example.

You can also arrange a traineeship yourself. Many employers advertise traineeships in the same way as jobs on the TE Services’ vacancies service. You can also contact the traineeship you want directly. Many international student organisations also organise traineeships. The Finnish National Agency for Education facilitates Finnish in Finland traineeships for foreigners studying Finnish  at foreign universities.

Traineeships and tips on how to plan for them can also be found on the website of Aarresaari, the Finnish academic recruitment network..

Social security for trainees

Trainees who move to Finland  from the Nordic countries are generally covered  by the social security of the country where they  live permanently. If, however, the pay of a trainee exceeds the minimum monthly limit, they are considered to be an employee.

You can find more information on the page Which country's social security system are you covered by?

Healthcare and social security

If you come to Finland to study from another Nordic country, your stay in Finland is generally considered to be temporary. Then you remain covered by the social security of your country of departure. Read more on the website of the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela).

If you fall ill, you are entitled to the student healthcare services provided by your student union or by an organisation authorised by the union, regardless of your municipality of residence. Read more on the page Right to healthcare services in Finland.

Recognition of qualifications

Academic recognition of qualifications means both access to education based on foreign education and gaining credits for foreign studies as part of a qualification completed in Finland. Read more about academic recognition of qualifications on the page Academic recognition in Finland of qualifications completed abroad.

Also note that, for certain professions, the right to practice a profession is required. If you have completed your studies in Finland but you want to work in another country in a profession requiring the right to practice that profession, you should bear this in mind when studying.

Student cards, discounts and unions

Foreign student cards are usually not valid in Finland. You can get some benefits in Finland with an international ISIC student card. You can order a Finnish student card from your school in Finland or its student union. 

Student discounts

You can get benefits with student cards issued by most student unions. These are listed on the Frank service.

When you show your Finnish student card you get a discount on the price of student meals at Kela-subsidised student canteens.

Student unions

All higher education institutions in Finland have their own student union. For university students, student union membership is mandatory for all students of bachelor's and master's degrees. Membership is optional for postgraduate students. You can find contact information for university student unions on the website of the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL).

Membership is optional for students at universities of applied sciences. You can find contact information for UAS student unions on the website of the University of Applied Sciences Students in Finland (SAMOK) .

More information

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