Student advantages in Finland

As I already have one research proposal to finish, one essay to write, one Business Ethics exam to come, and one Spanish exam to come – I can as well use my time to write a blog post about student life in Finland… Right? 😉

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Some of my readings at the moment….

Last time, almost  two months ago, I wrote about getting an apartment in Finland compared to Paris. As it was the beginning of the semester, and I had just started the studies, I was very thrilled about all the student advantages Finnish students get!

Well, on that time I didn’t realize yet, that I wouldn’t have time to enjoy all those advantages as much I thought… But, they are still worth to mention, because after being a student in France for three years, I think it’s much better to be a student in Finland! (Even that I loved my studies in Paris too <3).

So here comes my list of Finnish-student-life-benefits:

  1. Free studies. For everybody, Finns and foreigners, in all the educational institutes (college, universities, high-schools…..). But there’s coming a change on this, since next year students outside Europe will need to pay  a tuition fee, which is estimated between 5000 and 20 000 eur per year (source here) . I feel very sorry for that, and I hope we will still get international students in Finland!

2. The student allowance – Like some of my friends abroad once said “Finnish students are actually getting paid for studying”. Yes, we can see it like that… All the Finnish students are allowed to get that allowance from the security social institute. It includes a monthly student grant and if you’re living on your own (like most Finnish students do) the housing supplement. Also, if you want, you can get the student loan, which is very low rated and not needed to paid back before you get your first full-time work.

There are of course few criteria to get the allowances, but the most important ones are to fill a certain amount of study-credits per month or per yer, and if you work next to your studies, not to earn too much money from there. These facts are constantly checked and if they notice you don’t fill the criteria anymore, you will probably need to pay back something…

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Sunset at 6.pm on my way home. 

3. There’s one thing that we have to pay when we start our studies in the University, it’s the Student Union fee, that costs (at the moment) 105 eur for the full year. By paying this fee we get several good benefits:

  • The student card – Lunch at 2,60 eur every day in all universities in Finland. The lunch includes salads and hot meal with bread etc. So actually many students even eat twice per day at the university, as it’s so cheap and handy. With the student card we also get several discounts in some shops, restaurants, coffee places, theaters, events  and from transportation, as VR (the national train company), and Matkahuolto (national bus company)… The list is long, and as it’s impossible to remember where we get discounts, the best is to ask each time we transact in a new place…
  • Services of the Finnish Student Healthcare Foundation – All the students that have paid the union fee, have access to the student healthcare. And this is really good, especially for dentists and specialists. The price that we have to pay for a consultation is usually only between 18 – 26 eur. Even that Finnish healthcare in general is almost free, the dentists and gynecologists for example cost a lot! We also get totally free of charge consultations, in the general practitioner, laboratory examinations, vaccinations, physiotherapist etc….
  • Better prices (or free) for student events, legal advice for free…

4. Student Housing – Like I wrote in my previous post, I got an apartment in Rovaniemi very easily. It wasn’t a student apartment, as they were full already and offering especially shared flats. All big student cities in Finland has their own student housing foundation, which offer flats for students from studios and shared apartments to 2-3 rooms family apartments. Depending on the city and your needs, you can get a furnished flat (good solution for exchange and foreign degree students)  or an empty one and furnish it by yourself. Some buildings include the wifi automatically, some not.  The prices are usually cheaper than on private markets and you get help and support for all housing questions.

5. SportPass – This is also something that I was very excited about. It costs 35 eur per year, and with the pass you get access for several gyms, climbing, group sport classes, yoga, swimming pool etc. On some places you have to pay a small fee for the class, sometimes you can buy the card for a longer period, but the prices are usually 30 – 50 % cheaper than without the pass.    I paid the semester for the Lappish Astanga Yoga school with -25 % discount. And as I haven’t had time to enjoy as much the other sports, at least I’ve been going for the yoga classes every week!

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On the well-being sport-appro-day we tried crossfit and yoga for free. 

6. Library services – Well, that’s something that already works very well in Finland, but I still want to point it out, because I think the system is very good. Here in Rovaniemi for example there are three higher educational institutes, and they all have their own libraries, but we can use the 3 of them mutually. Of course everything for free.

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Library of university of Lapland.

So here were few of the advantages that we have as a student in Finland. I have to point out that I have been happy about these benefits, even that many Finnish students are complaining at the moment. The benefits have been decreasing slowly every year, because he government is doing a lot of cuts in the student system. Last year there was a lot of protests and noise about this and I totally understand students were not happy bout the cuts.

For me, I think it would be important to remember, that compared to many other countries, we are still very lucky and enjoying about advantages, that most of the students in the world don’t have. But of course I hope the system will stay like this, and will not get modified more!

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Sunrise at 8.am. on my way to Uni ❤

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