Why I choose to study in Finland at the University of Helsinki

Why I choose to study in Finland at the University of Helsinki

Finland's higher education system is the best performing in the world when adjusted for GDP per capita. In this series, our student interns want to tell you all about their respective universities and why you should join them by studying in Finland.

University of Helsinki Library. Photo: University of Helsinki

The University of Helsinki is internationally well known for its high-quality teaching, world-class research and innovation. The university ranks amongst the top 20 universities in Europe and top 100 universities worldwide.

Researchers do all teaching at the university. It means that when studying at the University of Helsinki you will learn from top scientists. The students and researchers work together on the campuses and the teachers, professors and other staff are easily approachable – just knock on their door. 

The university is one of the leading multidisciplinary research universities in the world. The goal is high-quality knowledge from many disciplinarians, to solve global issues. The university is also the oldest and largest university in Finland. It was established in the year 1640 and has over 32,000 students, 4,600 researchers and 180,000 alumni.

Students gathered in front of the university's main building to celebrate the 150 years old Student Union of University of Helsinki.  

The University of Helsinki is the most international and multicultural university in Finland. The university receives around 1,000 exchange students every year and over 6% of the students are international students. Over 20% of the research and teaching staff comes from abroad.   

During my freshman year, I got involved with many student organizations, of which I’m still an active member. This was an easy way to meet new people and learn many things, which are not included in the actual university studies but are an integral part of university studies and experience. 

There are around 250 official organizations in which includes student nations, faculty and subject organizations, political and societal organizations, choirs, orchestras, theatres and other cultural organizations, international organizations, sports and game clubs. Anyone can join the majority of the organizations and international students are warmly welcomed!

Students organise celebrations for Vappu (May Day) every year.

Helsinki is not the cheapest city to live in, but as a student, you get a lot of benefits and discounts. For example, you have access to affordable student housing, free basic health care services and student-priced meals and sports facilities. You also get big discounts on public transport, cultural events and attractions throughout Finland.

As a city, Helsinki is great. It has an excellent public transport system and it is easy to ride your bike around the city. There is also a lot happening and plenty to see in Helsinki. Helsinki provides culture and an international big city atmosphere. Also just a short bus ride you will find Nuuksio National park, where you can hike around and enjoy the beautiful Finnish nature.

Nuuksio National Park. Photo: Hendrik Morkel

Helsinki is also good as a base-camp for weekend trips to cities around the Baltic Sea. It only takes about four hours with a ferry to Tallinn and one night to Stockholm. St. Petersburg is only a few hours away with a train from Helsinki. In my opinion, as one from Helsinki, these cities are great but not as great as Helsinki.

Personally, I have enjoyed my studies in Helsinki. The campuses are nice and the university’s library provides you with good computers, high-speed internet, nice reading areas and a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere. I have also many close relationships with my professors. I know that whenever I need advice on something I can just email them or knock on their door.

Think Corner opened at the University of Helsinki in 2017. Photo: Tuomas Uusheimo

The University of Helsinki is a great place to study if you like living in cities with a nice urban vibe, active student life and one of the world’s top 100 universities.

Author Information: Jon Järviniemi was previously an intern at the Embassy of Finland in Australia. 

Originally published August 7th, 2018