In Finland, you can enjoy the benefits of a modern educational system, internationally recognized as being very high standard, as well as unspoiled natural resources and an interesting historical heritage. Finland’s geographical position, in between western and eastern Europe, has influenced the cultural expression. Today, Finland offers visitors a mixture between tradition and cutting-edge trendiness like nowhere else.
The location between East and West is also reflected in Finnish cuisine which is a melange of European, Scandinavian and Russian cooking. Amongst the typical food of Finland is fish. The potato is to the Finn what pasta is to the Italian and it forms part of almost every meal. Dark rye bread is also a staple and the Finns frequently drink milk as an accompaniment to their meals. Finnish vodka is known around the world, however, the consumption of milder alcoholic drinks such as wine has increased over recent years.
The people of Finland are very athletic and amongst the most popular sports are ice-hockey, skiing, athletics and motor sports. Finland’s geographical location makes it perfect for slalom and cross country skiing in the winter, as well as snowboarding and ice fishing, where a hole is drilled in the ice and you fish through it. During the summers sport activities such as soccer, hiking, canoeing, swimming and golf are popular.
The Finnish “saunas” are world famous, and the fact that there are 5,2 million Finns and 1,7 million saunas shows how important they are to the Finnish lifestyle. The saunas belong to an ancient tradition and can help relax muscles and relieve muscular aches and pains.
Finland has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish. The principal language of instruction is Finnish. It is Swedish, however, at Åbo Akademi University, in the Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, ARCADA Polytechnic, Sydväst Polytechnic, The Swedish Polytechnic, Finland, Åland Polytechnic and some vocational institutions. In some other institutions of higher education – for instance at the University of Helsinki, Helsinki University of Technology and the four Art Academies – you can study either in Finnish or in Swedish.
In many institutions there are complete degree programmes taught in English. Most higher educational institutions also offer language courses in Finnish or Swedish, for students that wish to learn the national languages.
The currency used in Finland is the euro (€). The euro is the official currency of the European Union and it is used in 15 European countries.
1 € = 1,42 USD
rates collected September 22, 2008
Higher education institutions
There are two types of higher education institutions in Finland: universities and Universities of Applied Sciences. The focus for universities is research, and they give a more theoretical education. The polytechnics focus on practical skills and seldom pursue research, but they do engage in industry development projects. All Finnish universities, on the other hand, are owned by the state, whereas vocational schools and polytechnics are governed by local municipalities or by private entities.
A bachelor's degree takes three–four years. Depending on the programme, this may be the point of graduation, but can also be a step towards a master's degree. A polytechnic degree, on the other hand, takes 3.5–4.5 years. A degree from a polytechnic is not, however, considered legally equivalent to a lower university degree in the Finnish system. Outside of Finland, polytechnic degrees are generally accepted as lower university degrees. Polytechnic-graduated Bachelors are able to continue their studies by applying to Master's degree programmes in universities.
The Bologna System
The Finnish system of Higher Education is regulated by the Bologna declaration. The Bologna process was initiated in 1999 when the Ministers of Education from 29 European countries signed the Bologna declaration in the Italian city of Bologna. The purpose of the process is to create educational standards for academic degrees and quality assurance, in order to make it easier for students to move from one European country to another and to improve the overall quality of European higher education. The system also incorporates aspects of the American higher education system and thus simplifies comparison. The Bologna System uses the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) to measure the amount of higher education credits.
The Bologna system, and thus the higher education system of Finland, follows the Bachelor/Master system:
3 years (180 ECTS credits) towards a professional bachelor or an academic bachelor. Offers students core teaching in the chosen discipline, as well as a broad general education. The academic bachelor gives access to master's studies.
1 or 2 years (60 or 120 ECTS credits). Provides specialized content whilst allowing for further development of the scientific research process.
After obtaining a Master's degree, students can choose to pursue research projects leading to a Doctorate degree (PhD). PhD's are only awarded by Universities.
The Bologna System also uses the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) to measure higher education credits.
Generally, you are able to apply to Finnish institutions of higher education if you have completed secondary education. When recruiting new students, the national matriculation examination and entrance examinations are used as criteria for student selection.
Application forms are available directly from the universities and Universities of Applied Sciences. Applying to programmes conducted in English at Universities of Applied Sciences takes place through a system of joint application. Prospective students can apply to four different degree programmes at Universities of Applied Sciences using the same application form. More information www.admissions.fi.
University higher education in Finland is funded by the State through the Ministry of Education. Hence, students enrolled in regular degree studies pay no tuition fees. Universities of Applied Sciences do not charge tuition fees either, but a few institutions currently charge fees for tuition materials, etc.Although tuition fees are free, students need to pay for books and other materials, plus their accommodation and living expenses. The total monthly living expenses of a single student average around 700 €.
Depending on your nationality and the length of your stay in Finland, you will require a visa or a residence permit. Citizens of the EEA countries (European Economic Area = EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) need not apply for a visa or a residence permit before arriving in the country, if they intend to stay for less than 3 months. Citizens of the Nordic countries may arrive, reside, study and work in Finland without limitations. They do not need visas or residence or work permits. Citizens of countries outside the EEA will have to apply for a residence permit at the nearest Finnish embassy, consulate or legation before arrival in Finland.
Students who are citizens of Nordic or EEA countries need no special permits for working in Finland. Other international students can work within certain limits on a residence permit granted for studying if the work is practical training included in the degree or if the amount of part-time work does not exceed 25 hours a week.
Find educations in Finland here.
Universities of Applied Sciences admission: www.admissions.fi