Expert Info

Posted by GlobalNomad
on 28 Apr 2020

Hi, does anyone have info on the cost of universities and colleges in Finland? I have friends of friends who live there and I understand that university is free. But is university only free for courses in Finnish? How much Finnish would I need to know to study and live there? And what is the general cost of living in Finland?

Thanks in advance

Claire on 28 Apr 2020 - 14:19


Finland has a fantastic socially progressive system and tertiary education is free to those from the EU and Switzerland. Where are you from? This is helpful and necessary because living expenses in Finland are high, especially for accommodation in Helsinki. For a full breakdown, see this page on the Cost of Living in Finland.

Although many people speak English and other languages in Finland, the main and official languages are Finnish and Swedish. Understanding a bit of either language, especially Finnish would be to your advantage, also when it comes to looking for work in Finland. Do you speak either of these languages or are you interested in learning them? There are free language courses in Finnish and Swedish available in Finland, and you don’t need to be registered as a student to take the courses.

If you are fluent in either then you will be eligible to take tertiary education programmes taught in those languages for free – even if you are an international student. 

All the best,


GlobalNomad on 28 Apr 2020 - 14:31


Thanks so much for your quick response. Although you said that Helsinki is very expensive and accommodation costs in Helsinki are high, which areas would you recommend to live in to save some money?


Claire on 28 Apr 2020 - 14:38

Generally, the further from the city centre, the more affordable the areas are – but then you would have to ensure that public transport reaches those areas. If you want to read more about transport, check out our Getting Around in Helsinki guide.

There are many areas to choose from. You may find Kallio to be affordable and its bohemian atmosphere appealing, although rental costs are increasing here. Itäkeskus is an area just outside of the city centre and so better prices may be negotiated here. You may be interested to check out our Areas and Suburbs in Helsinki as well as find out more on accommodation in general in Helsinki here.

Best wishes,


Marja Saviaro on 17 May 2020 - 10:52


After the metro came to Espoo it is one option, Espoo has cheaper rents than in the centre of Helsinki. Usually, flats are rented unfurnished, furnished are more difficult to find. Of course, you can always buy second hand.

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