Foreign students in Finland
You can come to Finland as an exchange student. Your studies in Finland will usually last from six months to a year. You can become an exchange student through various programmes. For example, Erasmus, Nordplus, FIRST and Fulbright offer exchange positions. You can also seek an exchange position independently.
If you would like to study as an exchange student in Finland, contact the international affairs department of your school or your student office.
Checklist for new students
When coming to Finland for studies, ensure that you have all of the following:
- Residence permit
- Student position
Applying for a degree programme
You can apply to universities and universities of applied sciences via the universities’ joint application process (korkeakoulujen yhteishaku). Read more on the InfoFinland page Applying for education and training.
Read more on universities of applied sciences on the InfoFinland page Universities of Applied Sciences. Find out more on institutes of higher education on the InfoFinland page Universities.
In Finland, you can also complete postgraduate studies at universities or universities of applied sciences. More information on postgraduate studies is available on the InfoFinland pages Universities and Universities of applied sciences.
When you are planning to come to Finland to study, your need for a residence permit depends on the country of which you are a citizen.
Read more on the pages Study in Finland and EU citizens.
Finnish Immigration ServiceInformation about a student's residence permitLink redirects to another website
Financing your studies
Foreign students are normally not eligible for student financial aid. Therefore, you must have a plan as to how you intend to finance your studies in Finland. In order to obtain a student residence permit, you must indicate that you have enough money to live in Finland.
More information is available on the InfoFinland page Study in Finland.
Grants and scholarships
Foreign students can apply for different grants to Finnish higher education institutions. Each Finnish higher education institution has its own grant system for students who come from outside the EU/EEA area and who have been accepted to complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the English language.
The grant may be dependent, for example, on your study success. The grant may cover the whole tuition fee or a part thereof. Some grants may also cover other costs. In some cases, the grant is tied to a certain level of success in your studies. Usually, you can apply for a grant at the same time you apply for a study place.
The special Erasmus Mundus master’s degree programmes also have their own grant systems. The Finnish National Agency for Education has scholarship programmes for postgraduates who come to Finland to complete their doctoral thesis. American students can apply for the Fulbright scholarship.
Read more about grants and scholarships at Studyinfinland.fi.
Housing and insurance
It may be difficult to obtain housing as the demand for dwellings exceeds the supply in larger cities in particular. You should find housing well before moving to Finland. You can rent a dwelling on the open market. You can also look for housing through the Finnish Student Housing Association (Suomen Opiskelija-asunnot, SOA).
Housing is expensive in Finland. Student housing is usually cheaper than housing available on the open market.
You can also complete your thesis in a company or take part in practical training. In these contexts, the working hours are not limited.
Ensure that you have the appropriate insurance. The scope of the insurance depends on your country of origin and the duration of your studies. It is extremely important that you maintain the validity of the insurance for the entire duration of your stay in Finland.
If you are a citizen of an EU or EEA country, Switzerland or Nordic country, you have the right to work without limitations during your studentship without needing a permit. Working may give you the right to Finnish social security.
If you are a citizen of another country, your residence permit for studies provides you with the right to work with certain limitations, if the work:
- consists of practical training included in the studies, or a final project
- is part-time work, no more than an average of 25 hours per week during the term
- is full-time work during the time when there is no teaching at your educational establishment, usually during summer and Christmas holidays.
You can find information on finding a job in Finland on the InfoFinland page Find a job in Finland.
Finnish Immigration ServiceStudent's right to workLink redirects to another website
Studying in Finland
If you are not a citizen of a EU member state or EEA member state, or a family member of a citizen of these countries, you must pay a fee for your studies. The fee applies to higher education degrees in English both at the Bachelor’s and Master’s level.
In Finland, you can study in Finnish, Swedish and, in some cases, in English. Institutes of higher education include courses in English in some of their study programmes. However, the majority of education is provided in Finnish or Swedish.
Finland has many active student associations. They also organise activities for foreign students. In student associations, you can meet new people.
If you would like to find a job in Finland, study the Finnish or Swedish language. Even though English is sufficient in many day-to-day situations, most employers require proficiency in Finnish or Swedish. More information is available on the InfoFinland page Finnish and Swedish language.
If you cannot study the Finnish language at your own school, many educational institutes provide Finnish language courses. You can also study Finnish online. Read more on the InfoFinland page Finnish online.
It is also important to familiarise yourself with Finnish people and working life during your studies. This will help you to make friends and find employment. Practical training (työharjoittelu), hobbies and organisations, for example, are a good way to get to know Finnish society. For more information, go to the InfoFinland web page Leisure.