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Finland: Destination Guides - Must read

Why study in Finland?

There is so much to explore in Finland, but imagine what you can learn in a country that is consistently high in global education rankings.

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If Finland is on your list of places you would like to start your study abroad adventure in, you’re not alone. It’s an increasingly popular choice and there are many reasons why. We spoke to a number of international students who had picked a Finnish university for their studies and discovered the top five reasons why they made such a choice.


1. The international environment

According to the Finnish National Agency for Education, there were more than 30,000 international students coming to study in Finland in 2015 and the number is expected to rise.


Furthermore, with an increasingly globalised world, international students can get into the niche market where their English-speaking skills are required by Finnish companies looking to expand their business. There is growing demand for skilled healthcare professionals and the country is looking abroad for talented individuals to fill the gap. It is also predicted that the nation will face a labour shortage in the future, when the post-war baby-boom age groups retire. Thus, this is the best time for you to pursue an education there and carve out your career. With a stable economy, strong public transport network, and access to affordable childcare services, Finland is a great place to study, work and raise a family.


Recently, it was announced that Education (Finland) plans to attract international students, particularly, Asian students to the Nordic nation. With an ambitious target of 100,000 international students by 2020, you can be guaranteed a warm welcome to the country!


2. The top-notch institutions

Finland is home to some of the world’s best universities and this is a big reason why international students choose to study there. Eight Finnish universities were ranked in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-2016, in its global top 500. The University of Helsinki scored the highest - 76th position, with the University of Turku, University of Jyvaskyla, Aalto University, Tampere University of Technology, University of Oulu, University of Tampere and University of Eastern Finland making the top 500 list. Lappeenranta University of Technology also made the list, ranking between 501-600.


The Nordic nation is no stranger to positive rankings. In 2016, Finland topped the global education World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, whilst the country came in fifth in last year’s PISA rankings.


With 10 multidisciplinary universities, eight of which making it to the top 500 global rankings, you’re guaranteed a high-quality education in Finland. The Finnish education system is one of the most advanced in the world, with a strong emphasis on problem-based learning. There are also a number of universities of applied sciences or polytechnics and these institutions focus on vocational training.


The University of Helsinki is the largest university in the country with more than 35,000 students and a sizable international student population. Some of the top scientists in the world are part of the university’s faculty. A degree from this university or any prestigious institution in Finland will make you competitive in today’s job market.


Popular programmes among international students studying in Finland are:

  • Communications
  • Architecture
  • Environmental sciences
  • Biotechnology
  • Information and communication technology
  • Art and design.


In total, there are more than 400 programmes taught in English in Finland. If you study such a programme, that also means that your lectures, books, exams and tutorials are all conducted in English. Aside from the subject disciplines mentioned, Finnish universities also excel in education, social sciences, law, business and humanities.


Many of Finland’s top universities focus on research that aims to improve the quality of life. For instance, the University of Tampere has plenty of research centres that look at various terminal illnesses such as cancer, celiac disease, leukaemia etc. You can be sure that you’ll be working on things that matter and make a difference in the world.


3. It’s an affordable destination

Compared to other popular international student destinations such as Tokyo, London or Paris, the cost of living is much lower in Finland. While the Finnish government has instituted that non-EU/EEA students pay tuition fees, that rule doesn’t apply if you’re taking a Doctoral programme, are going to Finland to take part in an exchange programme or are enrolled in a degree programme that is taught either in Finnish or Swedish.


If you are an EU/EEA citizen, then this new rule doesn’t apply to you and education in Finland is completely free for you. Non-EU/EEA students taking English-taught Bachelor’s or Master’s degree programmes can also apply for scholarships with their respective universities and certain government bodies. For instance, the University of Tampere offers a host of scholarships to outstanding international students taking their Master’s degree programme in English. These scholarships can range from covering 50% to 100% of your tuitions fees in a two-year Master’s degree programme and some even include 7,000 Euros to help with the student’s living expenses each year throughout the duration of their degree programme!


4. The rich diversity

If you love being outdoors, then Finland’s the place for you. You can take part in many exciting activities such as water skiing, kitesurfing on frozen lakes, check out the wolves and bears in the national park or hike in the forested hills of Lapland. During your breaks, you can head over to the country’s west coast and experience the aurora borealis, and try out the famous Finnish sauna! Or visit Suomenlinna Island, a former military sea fortress built on six islands and enjoy the stunning views of Helsinki’s coast.


Not a big outdoorsy fan? The country has a vibrant arts and music scene complete with glorious food.  Discover the history and culture in museums, cathedrals or just a take a stroll down the street and feast your eyes on the iconic Scandinavian architecture evident in the buildings around you. There are also many festivals and sports events for you to go to.


Its prime location means that you can explore Eastern Europe and Scandinavia during your holidays. A visit to Norway or Sweden and even Russia is just a train ride away!


5. It’s just the best place to be!

Did you know that this Nordic country is rated as the safest country in the globe according to the World Economic Forum (WEF)? Furthermore, numerous surveys show that Finland has consistently ranked highly in quality of life, overall stability and education. Ranked the second happiest country globally, they have also performed well in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) surveys for several years now. It is not just an excellent standard of living and a sterling education that the Finnish are proud of, the country has been rated the best in global innovation impact and greenness. With such fantastic scores, it’s no surprise that Finland has been nominated as the World’s Best Country by Newsweek magazine.


You can study in a bustling, lively city such as Helsinki, Turku and Tampere, or bask in the exotic wilderness of Lapland. Whether you’re looking to forge a career in business or the arts, studying in Finland will help you nurture your skills and knowledge.


What next?

If these five reasons have won you over, now’s the time to start searching for a Finnish university to take a course in!