Studying in Finland

Suomeen opiskelemaan lähtevän muistilista
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.

Education

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

Find out more about educational levels and how to apply:

Liberal adult education

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. 

Basic education in the arts

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. 

Language teaching

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.

Housing

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. There is information on Finnish financial aid for students and the meal subsidy.

If you are planning to work while studying, take a close look at the section Social security when you start working in Finland.

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

Traineeships

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 Office 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.

More information on the pages on social security when you start working in Finland.

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. Find out 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. Find out more on the page If you fall ill while studying 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. Find out 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 through your own 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

Contact the authority
Ask Info Norden

If you have any questions, please fill in our contact form.

NB! If you have questions regarding the processing of a specific case or application, or other personal matters, please contact the relevant authority directly.

Info Norden is the information service of the Nordic Council of Ministers. Here you can find info and tips if you wish to move, work, study, seek support or start a business in the Nordic region.