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. This page is also a checklist for students.

This guide 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.

See also the guide Guide: moving to Finland, 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.

Basic education in the arts is provided primarily for children and young people on an extracurricular basis. Basic arts education is provided at music institutes and schools, art schools, dance institutes and schools, handicrafts schools and other educational institutions. 

In Finland you can also study at liberal adult education institutions, including adult education centres, folk high schools, summer universities, sports training centres and learning centres. See more on the page Adult education in Finland.

For more information on the different educational levels, languages of study and how to apply, click on the links below. You can find information on Finnish and Swedish language courses in Finland on the page Language courses in Finland.

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. Read more on the page Housing benefits in Finland.

Funding studies and taxation

The most common way to finance studies is financial aid for students. On the page Financial aid for students in Finland you can find out how to finance your studies if you come to Finland from another Nordic country. The page also contains information on Finnish financial aid for students and the meal subsidy. If you are an adult student, find out about ways to finance your studies on the page Adult education in Finland.

You can also apply for various grants and scholarships to help finance your studies. You can search for these for example in the grants database of the National Union of University Students in Finland. 

If you plan to work while studying, your social security may be transferred to the country where you work. Read more on the pages Which country's social security system are you covered by? and Finnish social security if you live or work in Finland.

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 Job Market Finland. 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 for planning your traineeship can also be found on the Aarresaari website of the  Finnish Academic  recruitment services network.

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 social security on the page Finnish social security if you live or work in Finland

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 Higher education in Finland.

Also note that, for certain professions, the right to practise 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. Read more on the page for the country concerned.

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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