Study abroad for a semester in


Finland, a Nordic gem located in Northern Europe, is a country where nature and innovation coexist harmoniously. Imagine studying in Helsinki, the vibrant capital city known for its design, technology, and cultural diversity, or in Oulu, a city renowned for its technological advancements and research facilities. Finland offers a unique blend of academic excellence and natural beauty, making it an ideal destination for international students.

Finnish universities are at the forefront of educational innovation, emphasizing a student-centered approach that fosters creativity and critical thinking. Whether you’re interested in sustainable development, digital technology, education, or the arts, Finland’s educational institutions offer a wide range of programs to suit your interests.

Living in Finland means embracing a culture that values equality, community, and well-being. You can explore picturesque national parks, experience the magic of the Northern Lights, and enjoy the tranquility of Finnish saunas. With its commitment to sustainability and high quality of life, Finland promises a fulfilling and enriching study abroad experience.

Finland is best known for

Innovative Education System 🎓: Finland is globally recognized for its high-quality education system, which emphasizes student-centered learning, critical thinking, and innovation. Finnish universities are particularly strong in fields such as education, technology, and environmental sciences.

Stunning Natural Beauty 🌲: From the Northern Lights and midnight sun to vast forests and thousands of lakes, Finland offers breathtaking natural landscapes that provide a unique backdrop for your studies.

Sustainable Living 🌱: Finland is a global leader in sustainability and green living. With a strong emphasis on environmental responsibility, Finland offers an ideal setting for students interested in sustainability and eco-friendly practices.

Table of contents

1. Visa and Health Insurance 🛂

Embarking on your academic journey to Finland involves securing the appropriate visa and health insurance. These essential steps ensure compliance with legal requirements and access to necessary healthcare services throughout your stay. Proper documentation and insurance coverage are crucial for a smooth and secure study abroad experience.

Visa Types

  • Residence Permit for Studies: This permit is required for all non-EU/EEA students who plan to stay in Finland for more than 90 days to pursue their studies. The residence permit is typically valid for the duration of the academic program and can be renewed annually.
  • Short-Stay Visa (Schengen Visa): This visa is for short-term study programs or courses that last less than 90 days. Valid for the duration of the short-term program, up to 90 days. It cannot be renewed for the same purpose; students must leave and reapply if they wish to extend their stay. Valid for the duration of the short-term program, up to 90 days. It cannot be renewed for the same purpose; students must leave and reapply if they wish to extend their stay.
  • For EU/EEA Students: EU/EEA students do not require a visa to study in Finland. However, they must register with the local authorities upon arrival if they plan to stay for more than 90 days. They are also required to have health insurance coverage.

Application Process

  1. Acceptance from a Finnish Institution: Secure admission from a recognized Finnish university or educational institution.
  2. Prepare Documents: Gather all required documents, including your passport, proof of acceptance, proof of financial means, and health insurance.
  3. Residence Permit Application Form: Complete the application form available on the website of the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri).
  4. Submit Application: Submit the completed application form along with all required documents to the nearest Finnish consulate or embassy.
  5. Pay the Application Fee: Pay the required residence permit application fee.
  6. Attend an Interview: Some consulates may require an in-person interview as part of the application process.
  7. Wait for Processing: Residence permit processing times can vary, so it’s important to apply well in advance of your intended travel date.

Required Documents

  • Passport (valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay)
  • Completed residence permit application form
  • Proof of acceptance from a Finnish university
  • Proof of financial means (bank statements or financial guarantee)
  • Health insurance coverage proof
  • Passport-sized photographs
  • Academic transcripts and diplomas from previous education

Application Timeline

Start Early: Begin the application process at least 3-6 months before your intended departure.
Processing Time: Residence permit processing can take several weeks to months, depending on the country and application volume.
Important Deadlines: Be mindful of university application deadlines and ensure your residence permit application is timely.

Tips for Success

Complete Documentation: Ensure all your documents are complete and accurately filled out.
Financial Proof: Clearly demonstrate financial stability and sufficient funds.
Health Insurance: Secure a visa-compliant health insurance plan early in the process.

Importance of Health Insurance

Health insurance is mandatory for all international students in Finland. It ensures that students have access to medical care and covers a wide range of health services, from regular doctor visits to emergency care.

Types of Health Insurance

  • Public Health Insurance (Kela Card): Finland offers a comprehensive public health insurance system that is accessible to international students. This system provides extensive health coverage and is often included in university fees for students.
    • Cost: Included in university fees or approximately EUR 300 – EUR 600 per year.
    • Advantages: Provides comprehensive coverage for medical services, including doctor visits, hospital stays, and prescriptions.
    • Limitations: Limited to public healthcare facilities, which may have longer waiting times.
  • Private Health Insurance: Some students opt for private health insurance to ensure more comprehensive and faster access to healthcare services.
    • Cost: Varies based on the provider and plan. Plans typically start at around EUR 50 per month.
    • Advantages: More extensive coverage, faster access to services, and flexibility in choosing healthcare providers.
    • Limitations: Generally more expensive than relying solely on public healthcare.

Country-Specific Requirements

Public Health Insurance Registration: Upon arrival in Finland, students must register for public health insurance at their local Kela office to receive their health insurance card (Kela Card).
Private Health Insurance: Must meet the minimum coverage requirements set by Finnish authorities. Private plans often provide quicker access to healthcare services and more flexibility in choosing providers.

Finding the Best Health Insurance

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What happens if my visa application is denied?
If your visa application is denied, you will receive a notice explaining the reasons for the denial. Address the issues mentioned and reapply, or appeal the decision if you believe it was incorrect. Review the reasons for denial carefully and seek guidance from the embassy or consulate if needed.

Can I change my health insurance plan after arriving in Finland?
Yes, you can change your health insurance plan after arriving in Finland. Ensure the new plan meets the mandatory health insurance requirements for students. Compare different plans to choose one that offers comprehensive coverage and suits your needs.

What should I do if I need medical care and don’t have insurance?
If you require medical care and don’t have insurance, you will need to pay out-of-pocket for all medical services, which can be very expensive. It’s highly recommended to have valid health insurance to avoid these costs. If you find yourself without insurance, contact a health insurance provider immediately to enroll in a plan.

Additional Resources

Finnish Immigration Service (Migri): This official government portal provides comprehensive information for foreigners looking to study in Finland, including visa requirements, application procedures, and practical advice for living in Finland. It’s a reliable source for the most up-to-date information and official guidelines.

Study in Finland: This website offers detailed information on studying in Finland, including available programs, scholarships, and practical advice for international students. It also provides insights into Finnish culture and student life, helping you to prepare for your journey.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland: This official government portal provides detailed information on visa requirements, application procedures, and necessary documentation for foreigners planning to study in Finland.

2. Cost of Living 💰

Finland offers a high standard of living, which can come with a higher cost compared to other countries. Understanding these expenses is essential for effective budgeting and financial planning. Whether you’re living in Helsinki, Turku, or another Finnish city, knowing what to expect financially will help you manage your resources wisely and enjoy your time in Finland.

Detailed Breakdown of Living Expenses

Accommodation: Monthly rent can vary significantly based on location and type of housing.
EUR 500 – EUR 1,200/month
Food: From groceries to dining out, here’s what to expect.
EUR 350 – EUR 700/month
Transportation: Finland offers an efficient public transportation system that is relatively affordable.
EUR 50 – EUR 100/month
Utilities: Essential services like electricity, water, and internet.
EUR 50 – EUR 150/month
Entertainment and Leisure: Enjoying Finland’s vibrant cultural and social scene.
EUR 100 – EUR 250/month
Miscellaneous Expenses: Personal items and services.
EUR 50 – EUR 150/month

3. Accommodation Options 🏠

Finding the right accommodation is a key part of your study abroad experience in Finland. The country offers a variety of housing options to fit different needs and budgets, from student dormitories and shared apartments to private rentals. The type of accommodation you choose will significantly impact your experience, so it’s important to consider your preferences and financial situation.

Types of Accommodation

Student Dorms (Opiskelija-asunnot): Many universities in Finland provide on-campus dormitories, offering convenience and a sense of community. Dorms are typically furnished and come with basic amenities.
Price: EUR 450 – EUR 600/month
Shared Apartments (Kimppakämppä): Sharing an apartment with other students is a popular and cost-effective choice. This option allows for greater independence while still being economical.
Price: EUR 450 – EUR 800/month
Private Apartments (Yksityinen asunto): Renting your own place offers privacy and independence. This option is ideal for students who prefer more space and freedom.
Price: EUR 750 – EUR 1,200/month
Homestays (Isäntäperhe): Living with a local family can provide a deeper cultural immersion and a supportive home environment. This option is particularly beneficial for improving language skills and understanding local customs.
Price: EUR 450 – EUR 900/month

Find accommodation in Finland

Find the best student housing options with our Accommodation Finder

Tips and Resources

Start Early: Begin your search well in advance to secure the best options and avoid last-minute hassles.
Budget Wisely: When planning your budget, include utilities and internet costs.
Consider Location: Choose accommodation that is conveniently located near your university, public transportation, and local amenities.
Use Reliable Platforms: Book through reputable platforms to avoid scams and ensure quality accommodations. The options on wearefreemovers have been preselected by us, offering you greater peace of mind.

4. University Information 🎓

Choosing the right university is a significant part of your study abroad journey. Finland is home to a variety of universities that offer diverse academic programs and vibrant student life, all within a culturally rich environment. Whether you are interested in technology, humanities, environmental sciences, or the arts, Finland has something to offer.

Find universities in Finland

Try our University Finder and discover the best universities for your needs

5. Further Practical Information 🛠️


Finland’s transportation network is modern and efficient, making it easy to explore the country and commute to university.

Public Transportation 🚆: Major cities like Helsinki, Tampere, and Turku have extensive public transport systems, including buses, trains, and trams. Monthly passes range from EUR 30 to EUR 60, with student discounts often available. Helsinki’s metro system is particularly extensive and user-friendly.

Bicycles 🚴: Finland is known for its bike-friendly infrastructure, with dedicated lanes and bike-sharing programs. Cycling is an excellent way to navigate cities and towns, and many students opt for this eco-friendly mode of transport.

Long-Distance Travel 🚆: Finland’s intercity train and bus systems connect major cities and towns, offering a convenient way to travel across the country. For longer distances, domestic flights are available and relatively affordable.

Tips 💡: Always check for student discounts on transportation passes. For intercity travel, booking bus or train tickets in advance can secure the best rates.

Banking and Finances

Managing your finances effectively is crucial for a smooth study abroad experience.

Opening a Bank Account 🏦: Most banks in Finland offer special accounts for students with low or no fees. Popular banks include Nordea, OP Financial Group, and Danske Bank.

Documents Required 📑: To open a bank account, you will typically need your passport, proof of enrollment, and a local address.

Currency 💶: The currency in Finland is the Euro (EUR). Having a local bank account helps avoid foreign transaction fees and simplifies everyday transactions.

Tips 💡: Look for student-friendly bank accounts and make use of online banking apps to manage your finances efficiently. Consider using services like for seamless international transactions.

Local Culture and Etiquette

Understanding local customs and social norms will help you integrate smoothly into Finnish society.

Punctuality ⏰: Punctuality is highly valued in Finland. Arriving on time for classes, meetings, and social events is expected and seen as a sign of respect.

Greetings 🤝: A common greeting in Finland includes a firm handshake, often accompanied by a friendly “Hei” or “Moi.” In more casual settings, a simple nod and smile are common.

Mealtimes 🍽️: Finnish mealtimes are usually social events, with lunch being the main meal of the day, typically around 12-1 PM, and dinner around 5-7 PM. Sharing food and expressing gratitude for the meal is a cherished tradition, and tipping (usually 10-15%) is appreciated in restaurants.

Public Behavior 🤫: Finns value politeness and respect in public spaces. It’s important to be considerate and mindful of your surroundings, especially on public transportation and in residential areas. Keeping noise levels low and respecting others’ personal space will help you integrate smoothly into the local community.

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