As per government data, currently about 5.53 lakh Indian students study abroad and are enrolled in different colleges and universities of 86 countries, 32 of which are in Europe. Of these 32 European countries which draw Indian students Finland is fast emerging as a preferred destination. Known as the land of a thousand lakes and a thousand forests, Finland is the country to meet the real Santa Claus as well. However, not just for nature’s bounty or myths and lore, Finland is also globally recognized as one of the safest countries in the world country and one which offers world-class higher education.
The country’s 14 universities and 24 polytechnics are known for state of the art infrastructure, world class curricula and highly-distinguished faculty members. Finland now boasts of 20 000 international students studying diverse subjects in several locations across the country. As per Indian students the most sought after courses include information technologies, natural and social sciences, architecture and design, philology and economics.
So, let’s start with why study in Finland.
Advantages of studying in Finland
No strict time frame for completing an education program
Friendly attitude from professors and support
Some universities offer free Finnish language courses
Permitted to work part-time during studies, including working at a university, 25 hours a week is allowed to work during the time of study
Many benefits for students, in transportation, means of support, accommodation etc
Baishali Mukherjee of Stoodnt.com got in touch with Emiljan Ceci, CEO, Ceci Corp Oy — a Helsinki based company facilitating admission for international students to colleges and universities of Finland – in order to find out relevant details about the scope of studying in Finland, especially for Indian students.
An excerpt of the interview –
Q. What are the opportunities in higher education for Indian students in Finland?
Indian students are treated as any other international student and can study in any sector they want, or are accepted to, as long as they can fulfill the requirements there should be no obstacle.
The opportunities are pretty much endless when it comes to education in Finland. The well-renowned educational system of Finland keeps generating venues for international students to gain higher education.
Q. Which areas of study should an Indian student consider enrolling them for in your country?
Finnish Schools and Universities are rapidly adapting an international perception and offer plenty of their full time studies and courses entirely in English. IT, specifically, Software engineering, is one that is much popular. It has a huge demand in Finland since the country is profusely going digital, especially the service providing sector, new companies are being established every week that have to fulfill that requirement. As matter of fact, Finnish companies are in such need of software developers and engineers that have significantly lowered the requirements, language-wise. They are now hiring IT graduates with the only language requirement being English. Service providers in Finland are seeking to track everything that surrounds their business via programming.
Q. What are the costs involved?
Education for Indian students is not free, due to a legislation that was put into effect in August of 2017 that stated only citizens from the EU and EEA countries are entitled to an exception from tuition fees. Indian students therefore are not entitled to an exception from tuition fees. However, they can find masters degrees studies at as less as 7.000 Euros per year.
The financials involved for an Indian student include having approx. 6750 Euros (Appox. 576 Euros per month that will cover living costs) in the personal bank account when applying for the residence permit. If, the students have found job or assignments that can offer them part-time employment during their studies, they do not need to have that amount in their personal bank account. They can apply for the residence permit with the employment contract.
Q. What are the job opportunities for Indian students during and after study?
Residence permit is required for the students to look for work or start a business. If you have studied and completed a degree in Finland but you have not yet found a job that would begin before your residence permit for studies expires, you can apply for an extended permit to look for work or to start a business. Also please keep in mind that you can get an extended permit to look for work or to start a business only if you have a residence permit on the basis of studies.
You must apply before your residence permit for studies expires. It is also important to attach your degree certificate and a clarification of your income to your application. The income requirement is the same as it is for a residence permit for studies. You can get a residence permit to look for work or to start a business only once, for a maximum of one year.
Q. How easy is it to get a student visa for Finland?
Work, Family-ties related residence permit applications can take up to 10 months. However, Study-related permits are granted as fast as 2 weeks! Finland strictly prioritizes residence permit applications based on studies. As long as the applicants fulfill all the requirements, financial-wise and are accepted by the University/ School of their choice it is only a matter of time. An important point we should mention is that as soon as the applicants apply for the residence permit, they can legally stay in Finland until they receive a decision.
Q. Which are the main education destinations in the country?
Turku, Tampere, Helsinki, Oulu and Rovaniemi (close to Santa Clau’s village). These five destinations receive the most interest when it comes to studying and student life. Generally, the region of Uusimaa, (Helsinki’s region) has a high demand, because it is the capital’s region, but we have noticed a very active student-life in the rest of major cities.
Q. Do you think language could be a barrier for Indian students?
No. As it is commonly known, English is an associate official language in India. In Finland, 90% of the population speaks perfect English. You would be amazed that citizens ranging from 9 y/o to 70 y/o understand and speak English. Additionally, most authorities accept Finnish, Swedish and English.
Q. What are the things that an Indian student should keep in mind/prepare for while going to study in Finland?
Keep everything in order, have the financial status clean and have all the funds required in a personal account, Ceci Corp can handle the hassle of the process. There are several degrees that have ongoing applications throughout the year, so all they have to do is choose which study area they are interested in. It is important to mention also, that in most cases the window to apply is open for less than a month. Choose the field, be prepared and you should be fine.
Q. How is your company helping students get admitted in colleges and universities of Finland?
By experience we have done this plenty of times, so we know the requirements and the process timeline by heart. We have a continuously expanding network with Universities and Schools all over Finland. Ceci Corp effectively advises the students for what they should expect at the entrance examinations and provides guidance throughout the process.
We want to consider ourselves a venue – a beacon if you will – for international students who have the courage to take the initiative and make that big step to come to a foreign country. As long as the students are ready for it, they can leave the rest up to us.