The Finnish education system subsidizes tuition fees for students from the EU/EAA – most courses generally do not charge tuition fees for these students.
Some courses that are taught in English as opposed to Finnish still apply charges to EU/EAA students, and the prices can vary enormously, with tuition fees ranging from €2500 to €12,000 per year. This depend upon the university and course. Check with the universities you apply to, and they’ll be able to steer you in the right direction.
Non EU/EAA students are now required to pay an annual tuition fees for Bachelors and Masters courses. Tuition fees can range from between €10,000 – €16,000 per year, so make sure you have sufficient funding in place if required before you submit your application.
It’s very easy to live in Finland with a very small budget – markets with local produce are common, and a weekly shop can cost as little as a few Euros if it’s done very carefully and outside of the major cities. In the city, though, it’s a different story, with rent and food prices at very high rates. The average wage for an urban Finn or student tends to be much higher than the European average, making it possible to support living costs nicely if you have enough time to work outside of studying.
The Finnish government also offers maintenance loans and scholarships to some international students; check with the universities you apply to and see if they’ll be able to help you get the financial support you might need.
The visa international students need to enter a Finnish university is known as the student resident permit application, and will generally be available at the Finnish embassy in your country. They should be able to help you with the application, but as with most of these documents, you’ll need a variety of paperwork to complete the form, such as proof of financial support, proof of accommodation, your passport, and a letter of acceptance from your university.
Generally your university will help you through the visa application process and will explain what you have to do and bring in detail. The embassy should also be helpful – make sure to contact them first to book an appointment and get the full list of what you’ll need to successfully complete the visa application.
The student visa in Finland must be renewed each year, and that can be done very easily at your local police station without too much fuss – worry about that later.
Finnish is the language spoken in Finland, strangely enough, and the Finns themselves tend to be very quiet when they talk in any language. This isn’t rude, it’s just the culture here; so don’t be offended when a Finn only responds to you very quietly. English is spoken by all but the very old and the very young, and you should have no problems getting around the place with no command of Finnish, although if you’re intending on living and studying here for a few years, it may well be worth picking up a few choice words and phrases.
The university courses are taught in both English and Finnish, and both are taught incredibly well. Bare in mind, though, as discussed above, that an English-taught course may well have tuition fees, whilst a Finnish one absolutely will not. Check with the universities you’re applying for whether or not they charge for the English course, and make sure to check how much before you hang up! Sometimes the charges can be a purely symbolic €10 to €200 per year or term.