Are you dreaming of studying abroad in Finland? If so, congratulations on making a fantastic choice! Finland is renowned for its world-class education system, stunning natural landscapes, and vibrant cultural scene. To ensure you make the most of your Nordic adventure, here’s a comprehensive guide with essential tips for every phase of your journey.
Before You Go:
1. Start Early and Plan Ahead:
Finnish universities have a competitive admissions process and early intakes, so it’s important to start planning early. Give yourself plenty of time to research programs and universities, gather the required materials, and learn about the country and its educational system.
2. Embrace the Finnish Education System:
Finland’s education system is consistently ranked among the best in the world. Prepare for a student-centered approach, emphasis on critical thinking, and a relaxed atmosphere. Be ready to engage in open discussions, collaborative projects, and independent learning.
3. Learn the Basics of Finnish Culture:
Finland has a unique culture with its own customs and social norms. Understanding these in advance will help you integrate more smoothly into the local community. Here are a few tips:
- Finns value their personal space and privacy. Be respectful of others’ boundaries and understand that silence is often appreciated.
- Punctuality is highly valued in Finland.
- It is customary to remove your shoes when entering someone’s home.
4. Learn Basic Finnish Phrases:
While many Finns speak English fluently, learning a few basic Finnish phrases will show respect for the local culture and make your daily life easier. Locals appreciate when visitors make an effort to embrace their language, even if it’s just a simple “moi” (hi) or “kiitos” (thank you).
5. Research Your Program and University:
Familiarize yourself with your chosen program, university curriculum, campus facilities, and any pre-arrival requirements. This knowledge will help you feel at home from the start.
6. Prepare for the Climate:
Pack warm clothes, including a good winter coat, boots, and thermal layers. Be ready for short days and long nights during winter, where in some parts, the sun doesn’t rise for several weeks.
When You Arrive:
a) Set Up Essential Services:
Upon arrival, set up essential services such as a Finnish SIM card, bank account, and public transportation card to help you navigate and manage your money efficiently.
b) Attend Orientation Programs:
Attend orientation programs offered by your university. These sessions are designed to provide valuable information about academic expectations, campus facilities, and student services.
c) Get Involved in Student Life:
One of the best ways to make the most of your experience in Finland is to get involved in student life. There are many ways to do this, such as joining clubs and societies, attending events, and volunteering. Getting involved is a great way to meet new people, make friends, and learn about Finnish culture.
1. Use Public Transportation:
Finland has an efficient and reliable public transportation system. Familiarize yourself with the local buses, trams, and trains, as they are a convenient way to explore the country. Consider getting a student discount card to save on transportation costs.
2. Take Advantage of Student Benefits:
As a student in Finland, you are entitled to various benefits, such as discounts on public transportation, reduced museum entrance fees, and student-priced meals. Be sure to obtain an official student card to enjoy these perks.
3. Try the Local Food:
Finland offers a unique culinary experience, from hearty traditional dishes to modern Nordic cuisine. Be sure to try local delicacies such as salmon, reindeer dishes, and Karelian pasties. And don’t forget to enjoy the Finnish love of coffee!
4. Network and Make Connections:
Building a social network in Finland is essential for a fulfilling experience. Attend student events, join clubs or societies, and connect with your classmates. Finns are known for their friendly and welcoming nature, so don’t hesitate to initiate conversations and make new friends.
5. Be Open-Minded and Enjoy the Journey:
Studying in Finland is more than just academics; it’s a holistic experience that will shape you personally and professionally. Stay open-minded, be adaptable, and embrace the unique opportunities that come your way. This is a chance to grow, learn, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
6. Utilize Support Services:
If you face challenges, universities offer support services ranging from academic assistance to mental health resources. Don’t hesitate to seek help when needed.
7. Embrace the Finnish Lifestyle:
Indulge in Finland’s famous sauna culture and explore the country’s natural wonders. Whether it’s a winter wonderland or a summer paradise, Finland’s landscapes offer a unique experience in every season.
Embark on your Finnish adventure with these tips, and get ready for a transformative and unforgettable study abroad experience!