Finland happens to be one of the best study destinations for international students. The country has great universities, beautiful natural sights, and plenty of activities for incoming students. If you’re seeking an opportunity to experience life in a foreign country, then you should consider studying in Finland. We have provided a well-detailed guide that will help you get started on a good note.
WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE TO STUDY IN FINLAND?
Asides from Finland being the happiest country in the world, the following reasons are why you should choose to study in Finland.
Zero to low tuition fees:
Public universities in Finland are all tuition-free for students coming from European Union (EU)/ European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland. Students coming from outside these countries are required to pay tuition fees.
Good education system:
The Finnish education system is the best because it pays attention to individual students’ needs, discourages competition among students, and promotes collaboration and also the students are not graded based on their exam performance but on their performance throughout their years in school.
All these encourage students to do away with cramming to out-perform each other.
Helsinki is home to Finland’s two highest-ranked universities, the University of Helsinki and Aalto University.
A high standard of living:
The cost of living for students is affordable. One of the reasons is that there are student discounts nationwide for food and transportation. The cheapest cities are Oolu, Kuopio, Lahti, Lappeenranta, and Pori while the most expensive cities are Helsinki and Espoo.
Beautiful travel destinations:
From the Snow Castles of Kemi, Urho Kekkonen National park, Magnificent Cathedrals, and Relaxing Saunas, to the beautiful Northern lights in Lapland, Finland is home to wonderful places where you can visit during the holidays or after a long stressful day to relax and bask in the wealth of nature.
Job opportunities for students:
Most Finnish universities help international students search for students part-time jobs or full-time jobs after graduating. Your student visa allows you to work 25 hours per week.
Pathways to permanent residency:
A 1-year post-study visa is granted to international students to help your search for a job.
Once you get a full-time job, you can apply for a work-based residence permit. After you’ve worked in Finland for four consecutive years, you will be eligible for a permanent residence permit.
STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO STUDY IN FINLAND FOR ENGLISH-SPEAKING INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS.
By now, you might be asking yourself, “How do I cope with Finnish?” I’m glad to inform you that there are English-taught study programs in Finland. Also, the majority of the populace in Finland speak fluent English, so you don’t need to learn Finnish if you’re not interested.
But some of these questions may still be on your mind, questions like;
- Do I need to have IELTS or TOEFL to study in Finland?
For an International student from an English-speaking country like Nigeria, you don’t need IELTS or TOEFL since you are a native speaker of English and your previous academic degree was taught in English. But for non-native speakers of English, IELTS, TOEFLiBT or PBT, and other English proficiency tests are required.
- Are they some Finnish Universities that make IELTS or TOEFL compulsory for English-speaking International Students?
Having your TOEFL or IELTS is just an additional advantage. They are accepted in almost all Finnish Universities but are not compulsory for native speakers of English.
- What TOEFL or IELTS test scores do I need to study in Finland in English?
If you still want to use your TOEFL or IELTS, an academic score of 6.0 or 6.5 is required for IELTS or a TOEFLiBT score of 79 to 92.
BEST UNIVERSITIES IN FINLAND
Public universities in Finland are divided into regular universities and universities of applied sciences (UAS). Finland has 13 universities and 22 UAS.
However, the best universities in Finland irrespective of whether they are regular universities or UAS include:
- University of Helsinki
- Aalto University
- University of Turku
- University of Jyvaskylä
- Tampere University
- University of Oolu
- Lappeenranta University of Technology
- University of Eastern Finland
- Âbo Akademi University
The ranking above is based on the QS World University Rankings. See also Top 15 Study Abroad Programs you may like.
SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS IN FINLAND
Did you know that Nigeria is a non-European Union (EU) Country? Well, it’s true! With Nigeria being a non-EU Country, its international students studying in Finland are required to pay tuition fees.
The good news is that Finnish Universities and UAS offer a range of scholarship options. These options range from a fully-funded scholarship to those covering just your tuition fees. The scholarship may last from a few months to a few years.
Search for the Degree Program of your choice; check the scholarship options, procedures, and requirements needed by the university offering the Program. It is also imperative that you apply for a scholarship from the university of your choice at the same time when you apply for admission.
HOW DO I GET A STUDENT VISA/RESIDENCE PERMIT TO STUDY IN FINLAND?
You need to have been accepted and enrolled in a Finland University before you can apply for a student visa or residence permit.
I know that lots of questions like “Do I need a Finland student visa or residence permit? How do I apply?” might be racing through your mind but not to worry, I’ll answer them as best as I can. Let’s dive right in!
Who needs a Finland student visa?
Only non- EU/EEA students need to apply for a visa or residence permit.
What is the difference between a Finland student visa and a Finland residence permit?
A student visa might be needed if you plan to study or stay in Finland for 90 days or less.
A residence permit is needed if you plan to study or stay in Finland for more than 90 days.
What type of residence permit do I need?
If you’re a student from Nigeria, you’ll need residence permit B ( temporary residence permit) to study in Finland.
How do I apply for a residence permit?
- You can apply electronically on the website or on paper at a local Finnish embassy or consulate.
- The electronic application for the first permit takes 1-3 months to process, with an application fee of 350 EUR. The paper application fee is 450 EUR and it takes 2-3 months to process.
What are the documents needed to apply for a Finnish residence permit/student visa?
The documents needed to apply for a student visa are almost the same as the documents needed to apply for a residence permit.
- A valid passport
- Passport photo
- Color copies of the passport page containing personal data and all of the passport pages that contain notes.
- Certificate of acceptance from your educational institution in Finland.
- Document showing that you are legally staying in the county where you submit the application.
- Clarification of income. You need to have at least 560 EUR per month (6,720 EUR/year) either in your bank account or from an external source.
- Documentation of paid tuition fee or scholarship.
- If you are under 18 years of age, you need to attach to your application a legalized birth certificate and your parent’s or guardian’s consent for you to move to Finland.
- Proof that you paid the processing fee.
- Attend your visa or residence permit interview during the application process.
After applying for the Finnish student visa, visit the local Finnish embassy or consulate to present originals and copies of the requested documents to prove your identity.
As part of the registration process, you will have your fingerprints taken after you arrive in Finland. You can also check out the Finland Immigration website for more detailed visa information.
STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO ENROLLING IN A FINLAND UNIVERSITY
Choose a program
- Research potential institutions that offer the program of your choice.
- Check specific admission requirements and deadlines. Always confirm information gathered about the requirements needed with the university’s website.
Submit your application
Application is of two types; Joint and separate application. Choose wisely.
Take your entrance examinations
Entrance examinations are common when you’re applying for a Bachelor’s level education. The entrance examination can be taken in Finland or outside Finland in a country where the Finnish Network for International Programs ( FINNIPS) is located.
Apply for your Visa or residence permit
Below are step-by-step guides you should follow to acquire your Visa. Source: migri.fi
- Make sure you meet the requirements for the residence permit you are applying for.
- Make sure you have all the attachments needed. If necessary, have them translated and legalized. The processing time may be longer if you have not filled in your application sufficiently.
- Fill in your application.
- Pay for your application in the online service Enter Finland, at a Finnish mission (embassy or consulate), or at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service.
- If you are abroad, visit a Finnish mission (embassy or consulate). If you are already in Finland, book an appointment at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service.
- Wait for a decision. The Finnish Immigration Service will contact you if necessary.
- Check the estimated processing time of your application
- You should wait for the residence permit in the same country or locality where you submitted your application and proved your identity.
It’s been a long ride! I hope I did not bore you with too much information. But you know, sometimes too much information is just what you need. Nevertheless, I hope that this guide helps in making your sail to study abroad in Finland a smooth one.
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