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Study in Finland: Language & Culture

Learn more about the two languages and culture in Finland.

May 23, 2017
Birds-eye view of Helsinki

The two official languages of Finland are Finnish and Swedish and the main language of instruction in most higher education institutions is Finnish. That said, Finland has been described as one of the top 5 English-speaking countries for non-native fluency and there are lots of English-taught degree programs available. Additionally, while not a necessity, most higher education institutions also offer language courses in Finnish or Swedish for students that wish to learn the national languages.

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Finns highly value egalitarianism, as seen in their gender-neutral language and they tend not to obsess on titles and prefer to downplay their achievements. Finns are known to be reserved and polite, but they are also very warm and sincere people.

Finns are often pragmatic and focused on functionality – making sure that things work and keep on working. Finns prefer actions to words. They mean what they say, and the Finnish handshake the most reliable.

As is the way with most of the northern part of Europe, their cultural identity is deeply tied to nature (they are the highest forested country in Europe!) and Finns love being outside. Their unique relationship with nature means sustainable thinking comes naturally to Finns.

The weather of the Nordic countries also has an impact on the culture and the entire country adapts with the changing seasons. While in the summer you can sit outside and enjoy the season’s warmth, in the winter it’s typical to stay indoors and bundle up with a warm blanket or join in in one of Finland’s most famous traditions: the sauna. An ancient tradition that aids muscle relaxation, Finnish saunas are world famous and Finns use them in various situations, from family bonding to business meetings!


Finland is known as one of Europe’s most modern, most innovative countries, and its educational system is world-renowned!

Education System

Want to learn about how higher education works in Finland? A popular destination for international students given its high-quality public and private education and fascinating Nordic culture, take a minute to dive into Finland’s higher education system!

Student Visas

Do you need a visa to study in Finland? Learn everything you need to know about the student residence permit process and the exact documents you need to enter and study the country.

Housing & Living Costs

No matter where you study abroad, it’s important to create a budget in advance so that you’re prepared. Therefore, we’ve detailed average living and housing costs so that you can get a better idea of what you would be paying as a student in Finland.

Tuition Fees & Scholarships

Tuition fees for degree programs in Finland may vary. While European students can study for free, international students are expected to pay tuition fees in Finland. But there are plenty of scholarship opportunities available to help fund your study abroad journey. Read more here!

Application Process

All countries have specific admissions requirements for students to gain acceptance into a higher education institution. Learn more about the ins and outs of admission to programs in Finland and what you need to apply to the institution of your choice.


Ready to look for study programs in Finland? Use our search engine to find and compare programs from top universities in Finland today!

The content of this country guide has been developed in partnership with Study in Finland.

About Study in Finland

Study in Finland logo

Study in Finland is the official starter's guide for international students interested in the opportunities Finland offers in higher education. Study in Finland is operated by the Finnish National Agency for Education.

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