International student experience in Finland-2

I came to Finland from Italy to attend my doctoral studies in philosophy in 2016. My research focuses on political and social philosophy as well as the study of critical sociology. My road to my PhD research in Finland started with me meeting my supervisor at a conference/work shop in Italy. That’s how I found out that there is huge academic activity here in Finland regarding the topic I was interested in and I also learned that getting funded here was easier for that specific philosophical field. After meeting Arto (Corrado’s supervisor), I tried to find more information regarding the Finnish university system and the Finnish funding system.

 

After living in Finland nearly 5 years, I’ve learned that the academic life here gives your good opportunities at every level.

Corrado Piroddi

 I found out that the hybrid system, in which you have not only the funding provided by the university as a job position but also funding provided by private foundations, seems more efficient than the Italian system that is based, on the contrary, on university funding. The distribution of research funding is more favorable here if we consider that not only STEM research gets the lion’s share of the money available but research in humanities also gets proper attention and it is well-funded, at least compared to Italy.

I have been here for four years and I have realized that, in my opinion, the social and public sphere is still well functioning according to some social democratic principles. I would say that the system of benefits and public support to citizens as well as foreign students and workers is more efficient and effective compared to my home country. While living here, I have noticed that a person with my type of academic and professional profile still has a large set of opportunities in terms of academic work after their doctoral studies. I think that here in Finland, it is still possible to build up an academic career, e.g. post-doc research. Since staying in the academia was my original plan, I had been thinking of continuing my academic career elsewhere but I have come to realize that it is possible to do it here. After living in Finland nearly 5 years, I’ve learned that the academic life here gives your good opportunities at every level.


I recommend other foreign students get plentiful information regarding bureaucratic issues and functioning of the Finnish welfare and academic systems in terms of student or unemployment benefits and the funding within the academic system. I would also emphasize that the academic system here is less formal; it is less “traditional”. Here, teaching remotely and the use of technology in order to support your education is very common and efficient, so the students have to be ready that the teaching style could be very different from where they come from. Here, it is goal-oriented and more pragmatic.

A glimpse on education in Finland

Finland is well-known globally for its cultural, social and economic achievements. Amongst some of the success stories is its renowned education system [1] that aims to provide equal opportunities and high-level professional expertise to all of its students. Finland consistently ranks high on one of the most important standardized tests, PISA, that assesses the primary education level of a large number of countries [2]. The higher education system is a continuation to Finland’s achievements on the primary school level, which is based on providing students with free learning material, professional and supportive staff, modern and abundant study facilities as well as all the necessary personal help for any individual student. Finland is a regular presence in the top hundreds of best universities in the world [3].

 

Currently, Finnish higher education institutions give opportunities for foreign students to complete their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English.  A large variety of degree programs taught in English guarantees that the student will find a suitable match for their interests and will go on to develop their skills in their chosen area of expertise. 


An increasing number of institutions providing upper secondary education and vocational degrees is opening their doors to foreign students by introducing English language degree programs [4]. These vocational degree programs give students the possibility to study a profession that is always in demand in Finland as well as abroad. By completing a vocational degree training in Finland, the student is eligible for applying to a university of higher education (i.e. Finnish universities and universities of applied sciences).

Since the beginning of the century, Finland has experienced a steady increase in the number of foreign students coming to complete their higher education in one of the safest and cleanest countries in the world that provides equal opportunities to people of all nationalities and religions. [5], [6]. Finland is also famous for its strong focus on providing the same opportunities for both genders [7]. If you are still looking for a university to kick off your career and pique your professional interests, Finland’s acclaimed education system has all the right ingredients for you!

 

 




 

 

 

References

[1] Hancock LynNell 2011. Smithsonian Magazine.

Why Are Finland’s Schools Successful? WWW-document. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/why-are-finlands-schools-successful-49859555/ Updated September 2011. Referred 01.03.2020

[2] Valtineuvosto 2019. PISA 18 first results – Finland among top performers. WWW-document. http://julkaisut.valtioneuvosto.fi/handle/10024/161921 Updated 03.12.2019 Referred 06.03.2020

[3] Study.EU 2020. Rankings: The 9 best universities in Finland for 2020/2021. WWW-document. https://www.study.eu/best-universities/finland No update information available. Referred 06.06.2020 

[4] Espoo 2020. Vocational education and universities. WWW-document. https://www.espoo.fi/en-us/childcare_and_education/Vocational_education_and_universities No update information available. Referred 07.03.2020

[5] Finnish National Agency for Education 2018. Statistics on Foreign Degree Students in Finnish Higher Education Institutions in 2017. https://www.oph.fi/en/statistics-and-publications/publications/facts-express-9b2018-statistics-foreign-degree-students Updated 25.10.2018 Referred 05.03.2020

[6] Yale University 2020. Environmental Performance Index. WWW-document. https://epi.envirocenter.yale.edu/ No update information available. Referred 07.03.2020

[7] Auvinen Tanja 2020. Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. Finland is a Gender Equality Pioneer. WWW-document. https://stm.fi/en/finland-is-a-gender-equality-pioneer No update information available. Referred 04.03.2020

Reasons to study in Finland

What makes Finland the ideal destination for pursuing education? Finland has one of the most successful education systems in the world, and Finnish universities are ranked among the best, which are ideal for anyone seeking high-quality education abroad. Whether it is the seaside capital area of Helsinki, the medieval university city of Turku or the popular inland city of Tampere, you can find the best Finnish study destination for you.

 

If you want to receive a world-class education, immerse yourself in the Nordic lifestyle, and study in one of the happiest places on earth (although it can be cold!) then perhaps Finland has been on your list of destinations! Read on to learn more about what makes Finland one of the best places to study in abroad. 

1. World-class education system

 

With one of the most successful education systems in the world, it is no wonder that more than 14,000 international students have chosen Finland to study abroad.

 Finland continues to surpass the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand in mathematics, science and reading performance. As of 2019, Finnish universities are ranked in the top three globally.

 

From early childhood, Finnish schools have been committed to providing students with real-world preparation and providing them with meaningful tools in life. Through interdisciplinary teaching methods, the combination of self-study, problem-solving and self-development capabilities provide students with a comprehensive learning experience from preschool to university.

 

2. Affordable tuition

 

Finnish and citizens of other EU member states can receive tuition fees for Finnish universities for free, while tuition fees for international students range from 6,000 Euros to 16,000 Euros per year, depending on the university and the degree program.

 However, many universities provide scholarships to international students mainly based on academic merits. Some universities may provide full scholarships, but more common are scholarships that deduct tuition fees as a percentage.

 

3. Equality and freedom

 

Equality and freedom are the cornerstones of the Finnish education system. In Finland, all students have equal opportunities to receive high-quality education, and due to the uniform hierarchy of Finnish universities, students usually have the same name as the professor.

 Academic freedom is also a core value of Finnish universities. Unlike other education systems, Finnish students can freely decide which modules to study as elective studies to ensure that each student has multiple skills and knowledge when they graduate.

 

4. High standard of living

 

Finland provides a very comfortable standard of living for students and families across the country. Not only is Finland’s education and healthcare system first-rate, but most students’ living expenses are manageable, especially because of the large student discounts on food and transportation nationwide, and the possibilities of part-time work for students.

 Work-life balance is also an important part of Finnish society. Work, study and vacation are given equal priority, so employees and students are welcome to enjoy the results of their work, chill and relax with family and friends during off-duty hours. Sauna perhaps, anyone?

 

5. Otherworldly travel destinations

 

Finland has many attractions, sights and natural wonders that can satisfy your wanderlust in any season.

 If you dream of experiencing the beauty of Finnish nature, you can venture to Lake Saimaa or Archipelago*** Park, and depending on the time of the year, you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights or the midnight sun.

 Finland also has open-air museums such as Seurasaari, Luostarinmöki and Suomenlinna fortresses for history lovers to admire, while others prefer to visit the Moomin Museum in Tampere, which specializes in these beloved literary figures.

 You can even meet Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus in Rovaniemi and enjoy the festive atmosphere!

 

6. Job opportunities for students

 

This is good news for career-conscious students-Several Finnish universities provide career services for international students. Whether you are looking for a job as a student or a full-time position after graduation, they can help during your job search.

 Part-time work and study are not uncommon in Finland-according to a survey by Statistics Finland, 55% of university students report that they have signed an employment contract while studying.

 

If you are interested in working part-time while working abroad, your student residency permit will allow you to work up to 25 hours a week.