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Studying as a hobby

Studying is more than just learning a new profession. Studying can also be a hobby. You can study in many different educational institutes: open university (avoin yliopisto) or open university of applied sciences (avoin ammattikorkeakoulu), summer university (kesäyliopisto), university of the third age (ikäihmisten yliopisto), adult education centre (kansalaisopisto/työväenopisto) and folk high school (kansanopisto). Studies are usually subject to a charge.

Many of these institutes provide Finnish and Swedish language training for immigrants. Read more on the InfoFinland page Finnish and Swedish. You can also study many other languages, such as English or French.

You can also complete vocational qualifications in folk high schools.

Open university and open university of applied sciences

The open university (avoin yliopisto) and open university of applied sciences (avoin ammattikorkeakoulu) provide access to courses available at universities and universities of applied sciences. Anyone can study in the open institutes of higher education. You can study in these institutes even without any kind of degree or qualification.

You can study in an open institute of higher education

  • if you want to take up studying as a hobby.
  • if you want to be admitted into an institute of higher education to study a particular subject.
  • if you want to broaden your professional expertise and knowledge.

There are no entrance exams for open institutes of higher education. You can enrol for spring courses at the beginning of the year, whereas applications for autumn courses are accepted at the end of summer. Enrol for a particular course directly. You can take individual courses or complete larger study programmes.

In open institutes of higher education, studying is flexible. You can attend courses during the day, in the evening and at weekends. You can also study online.

Studies at an open institute are not full-time studies. Therefore, you will not be eligible for student financial aid (opintotuki) or student discounts.

Studies completed at an open institute of higher education are useful for other studies. If you are accepted into a university of applied sciences, you no longer need to take the courses you have already completed at the open university of applied sciences. If you have studied at an open university and apply to a university, you must participate in the separate application process (erillinen haku).

Information on open universities of applied sciencesFinnish | Swedish | English

Information on open universitiesFinnish | Swedish | English

Summer university

Courses at summer university (kesäyliopisto) are very similar to those at open university. You can also take summer university courses in other seasons besides summer. In addition to university courses, summer universities organise other education, such as:

  • vocational continuing education (täydennyskoulutus)
  • labour market training (työvoimakoulutus)
  • pre-matriculation courses (abikurssi) for upper secondary students preparing for the matriculation examination
  • Finnish language courses for immigrants

The course selection varies. For more information, contact your nearest summer university.

Information on summer universitiesFinnish | Swedish

linkkiFinnish summer universities:
Information on summer universitiesFinnish

University of the third age

The university of the third age (ikäihmisten yliopisto) is intended for persons over 60 years of age. However, the teaching events are open to all. The education activities of the university of the third age are part of the open university operations.

The university of the third age organises lecture series, courses and study trips. For more information on the university of the third age, contact your nearest open university office.

Adult education centres

Finland has many adult education centres (kansalaisopisto/työväenopisto). In them, you can study, for example, languages, handicrafts, physical education, visual art and cooking. Adult education centres provide hobby courses. You cannot complete vocation studies in them.

Adult education centres provide Finnish language courses for immigrants. For more information on the courses, contact your nearest adult education centre.

The application practices vary. Normally, you can apply for spring courses early in the year and autumn course at the end of the summer. For more information on the application periods, contact the student office of the desired adult education centre.

Information on adult education centresFinnish | Swedish

linkkiKansalaisopistojen liitto:
Community colleges in FinlandFinnish | Swedish | English | Russian | Estonian | Somali | Turkish | Chinese | Persian | Arabic | Kurdish | Albanian | Thai | Vietnamese

Folk high schools

Folk high schools (kansanopisto) provide hobby courses and vocation education. The schools can be maintained by an organisation or they can be independent.

At folk high schools, you can obtain a vocational qualification. Folk high schools allow you to train yourself as an animal nurse or masseur, for example.

Folk high schools organise a great deal of education for immigrants. In these schools, you can study Finnish or attend preparatory education.

Folk high schools normally provide education in two forms: short courses (lyhytkurssi) and long study programmes (pitkä opintolinja). The short courses are open to all and require no application. All you have to do is enrol.

The long study programmes are often vocational studies. They usually last from six months to a year. You must apply separately for the study programmes. The application practices and periods of folk high schools vary. For more information on the application process, contact the student office of your desired folk high school.

Information on folk high schoolsFinnish | Swedish

linkkiFinnish Folk High School Association:
Information on folk high schoolsFinnish

linkkiFinnish Folk High School Association:
Folk high school courses for immigrantsFinnish | Swedish