Wish to move to the happiest country in the world? Apply by January 18

By Kamal Raj R and Minna Mauno

6 min read
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Young people of Kerala are looking for educational and career prospects in European countries. Among them, Nordic countries are attractive to many people due to their high standard of living and social well-being. Finland in particular has been a key point of media attention and public interest in recent years owing to the country being crowned as the happiest place in the world five times in a row. More than just being happy, the educational and tech industry success of Finland is a tale of its own.

The Finnish educational system is also world-renowned with Kerala educational department and social workers going on a fact-finding mission to emulate their success in our state. While the Finnish tech behemoth Nokia has largely lost its past glory, the company created so much talent that Finland has become a breeding ground for numerous tech innovations. In recent years it has become a leader in health wear (Oura, Polar), 6G flagship, VR, games, and more.

Are you interested in finding your place in the happiest country in the world? Let's find out how you can benefit from Finland's unique career and study opportunities.

The government wants you

The Finnish government is actively interested in acquiring new talents and skilled workers to increase tax revenue and fight population decline. Many industries (especially healthcare and tech) need more workers than the country can provide. So the government has been looking to attract more people, from many different countries, with a special focus and relatively well-oiled migration channels from India. More residence permits are given to students and workers alike.

Studying in Finland

Finland has 13 Universities and 22 Universities of applied sciences all over the country from the bustling capital area to the more quiet and quaint rural cities. There are many programs offered in English at the bachelor, master, and doctoral levels at Universities and vocational degrees in Universities of applied sciences. Study in Finland is a comprehensive guide to studying in Finland and all the different aspects surrounding it.

What to study and how to apply?

All the universities in Finland can be found on a handy map here. Universities | Study in Finland. Finnish higher education institutions currently offer over 500 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs taught in English. You can search and apply to the program of your interest through this official website. Joint application to higher education for degree programs in English where studies begin in Autumn 2023 has already started! Make sure to search for courses that are taught in English through the search option. In some courses the teaching starts in English and gradually change into Finnish to prepare students for Finnish job market like in the 3.5 year nursing course offered here. Application deadline for the courses in English is January 18, so do hurry.

Another option to enter a degree program in Finland is pathway studies. These programs are designed to help you to transition into the Finnish higher education system smoothly but don’t award any degree at the end of it. They are paid courses you can enroll in from your own home country. These programs consist of a one-year study period at home, after which you are eligible to apply to continue your studies in Finland as a degree student. However, note that you have to check the requirements from the individual university websites. https://www.studyinfinland.fi/admissions/pathway-studies

Doctoral programs are one of the more popular ways for students to enter Finland. Although you are awarded a degree, doctoral programs are considered a job in Finland, and therefore receive a good salary compared to many other European nations. The programs are typically four years. Information about available doctoral programs can be found on the universities' websites. They are listed here. https://www.studyinfinland.fi/admissions/doctoral-admissions

Some of the best programs you can study in Finland are in engineering, IT, nursing, education, and business. In the job market, there is a growing need for skilled nursing, engineering, and IT professionals.

Tuition, scholarship, and expenses

Bachelor's and master's degrees used to be free for everyone studying in Finland some years back. But now students outside EU/EAA are required to pay a tuition fee which can range from 4000-18000 euros depending on the program and university. This information will be available in the course description of individual programs. There is no tuition fee for doctoral degrees and the salary is enough to provide for living expenses.

Even though the tuition fee is high, there are numerous scholarships available for prospective students which not only cover tuition fees, but a portion of living expenses. Each university has its own scholarship program which you can apply for as you apply for the course. There is a special scholarship program for students wanting to pursue master's degree which can be found here. https://www.studyinfinland.fi/scholarships/finland-scholarships

On top of the tuition fee, students are expected to pay for their own living expenses which include rent, food, and utilities. Average expenses of students range from 700-900 euros per month which change based on individual spending habits and the city of residence. Students need to show that they have enough financial resources to cover these expenses. A detailed price list of many common consumer goods can be found here Cost of living in Finland.

Students moving to Finland need valid insurance for the course of their stay. Finland gives health care benefits for everyone who moves to Finland “permanently”. If your study is at least for 2 years then it is considered a permanent stay and you can apply for a Kela card with minimal benefits which can be found here https://www.kela.fi/from-other-countries-to-finland-students-and-researchers.

If you are not eligible for a Kela card, you need to obtain private insurance that meets certain requirements. Details can be found here. https://migri.fi/en/insurance

Life in Finland

Finland is a safe country where there is ample opportunity to have a good work-life balance. Life, even in major cities, could follow a quiet and calm rhythm. Finnish society is very interwoven with nature, as expected from a nation covered in forests and lakes. There is something for everyone in Finland, whether it is weekends filled with parties or long relaxing hikes with your close ones. Listen to these students tell their experiences. Student life in Finland

Residence permit

Students from India need to apply for a Residence permit to study in Finland. It is usually granted for the whole duration of the studies if you have a valid passport for that time. Students can also work for a maximum of 30 hours per week, and if it is part of the studies (like training or internship) then this limit is not applied. You can find more information about student residence permits here. https://migri.fi/en/residence-permit-application-for-studies. Note that a Ph.D. is a fully salaried position and one needs to apply for a residence permit for a researcher, further information can be found here. https://migri.fi/en/researcher

Finding accommodation

There are two ways to obtain accommodation in Finland if you are coming for your studies. One is through the regional student housing associations and the other private sector. Different cities have different student housing associations that are responsible for student accommodation which will be listed on the university website. For example, in the Helsinki region, the student housing association is called HOAS (https://hoas.fi/en/) and in Oulu, it is called PSOAS (https://www.psoas.fi/en/). You need to apply for housing well in advance of your arrival as the affordable student apartments are limited and highly sought after. In the private market, you can choose from different existing rental agencies or sublease from an individual directly, both of which will be costlier than student apartments. Some popular websites for house listings are Oikotie (https://asunnot.oikotie.fi/vuokra-asunnot) and Etuovi (Etuovi.com)

After graduation

Part-time work and internships during your studies are good ways to kickstart your career in Finland. After graduation students can apply for an extended residence permit for up to 2 years which is designed to help graduates find suitable jobs in Finland. More information can be found here. https://migri.fi/en/residence-permit-to-look-for-work

All universities have career service centers that can help students prepare for the Finnish job market. General career guidance information and job listings for graduates from Finnish universities can be found here. https://www.aarresaari.net/ In addition, all publicly-funded jobs and many of the private sector jobs are listed on these websites https://tyomarkkinatori.fi/en, https://duunitori.fi/. Although the majority of the jobs listed on the website require Finnish proficiency, for jobs in the tech industry English proficiency and other relevant skills will often be enough.

So if you see your future here, don’t waste your time, come to Finland to the home of Santa Claus and auroras, experience the winter wonderland and be mesmerized by the beauty of Finnish nature in all seasons. Welcome to Finland!

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