Are you thinking about getting a degree in Finland? Or are you considering Finland as a place to go on your exchange? I hope that the set of blog entries “Studying in Finland: Pros and Cons” will somehow help you make a right decision according to your preferences and needs. Note: tastes differ. What one considers as a good thing, another can’t stand at all.

So, let’s get this set of blog entries started. Studying in Finland has its good points, but also there are things to be improved. My opinion is based on personal experiences in getting my Bachelor degree here and things that I’ve heard from my friends and acquaintances who’ve studied in other Finnish universities.

Tuition fees

Depending on your country of origin, your costs may differ dramatically. For example, for all the European citizens high education is free of charge. For Russian applicants, it’s no longer like that. Free high-quality education has been a total pro last years. This opportunity was truly tempting for many parents and high school graduates. We could get a degree that was acceptable in all the European countries and pay nothing for it. That was a dream coming true.

However, the fairy-tales don’t last forever, and this one also came to its end. This year was the last year to get a degree in the Finnish university for free. Next year’s applicants will have to pay for each academic year according to the price lists that the universities have recently published.

Saimaa University of Applied Sciences has set its prices as the following:

– Bachelor’s degree: 4300 euros / academic year

– Master’s degree: 5100 euros / academic year

– Double degree programme: 3100 euros/ academic year

In my home university, if you’re a smart and hardworking student, you may get a scholarship covering 50-100% of your studies. From the year 2017, the sum to be paid will pretty much depend on each student’s academic achievements. However, the university has a right to take this grant away, if a student doesn’t obey the rules or doesn’t get a needed amount of ECTS.

Accommodation costs

In Finland there are special companies like LOAS, HOAS and MOAS providing single and shared apartments for students. Depending on the number of rooms, locations, the condition of an apartment, furniture available and a parking space needed a price varies from 250 euros to 500 euros. I used to live in a shared-apartments: 1,5 year in a 3 bedroom apartment (270 euros/month) and another 1,5 years in a 2 bedroom apartment (305 euros/month). The price included all the needed furniture, high-speed Internet access, unlimited water and energy usage and a parking place.

Each dorm in Finland has its laundry room with 2-3 washing machines + 1-2 drying machines + additional drying spaces. Besides that, saunas are heated 3 days a week, and you can book a club room to party with your friends at any day your want!

Transportation costs

It’s up to you to choose how you prefer getting from one place to another inside the town. Some people love walking (0 costs), others prefer cycling (costs depend on whether you have a bike or not). Some students buy a bus card with an unlimited amount (40 euros/month), others have an opportunity to buy a car.

I was a lucky one. My grandparents gave me 3500 euros for my 18th birthday, and my parents’ gift was a sign up for a driving school classes. The combinations of these two presents ended up in Peugeot 307, my first love born in 2002. When I look back I realized how much different my life would have been, if we didn’t meet in September 2011.

Food

It’s quite hard to estimate how high these costs are because they depend on preferences and needs of every one of us. Besides, each store has a different variety of products at different prices. Of course, Lidl is the most cost-efficient one, and Valintatalo is the most expensive one.

The university canteen services delicious lunches for 2-4 euros from 10 am till 5 pm. You can eat there as much as you want and as many times a day as you want. You’re offered different menus including vegetarian. It’s up to you to decide what you want to eat today!

Parties

Partying in Finland costs a lot. If you cannot get some buzz from the duty-free stores, Russia or Estonia, you are going to spend some money on it. Alko storeshave incredibly high prices (check from the online store). A beer in a bar or a club costs at least 5 euros. Shots start from 6 euros. The lowest price for a cocktail is 7 euros. The entrance fee is from 5-15 euros + 3 euros for a coat. When you order a taxiat night, the starting price is 9 euros. To drive something around 5 km will cost you 20 euros. So, these are actually the highest costs of all, if you are a party animal.

Additional costs

According to you hobbies and needs, you may spend more money for a gym membership, language courses, dancing classes, swimming pool, car wash, chilling in the cafes and restaurants, travelling to other cities and countries.

I hope that I’ve covered all the general costs. If you have any questions about this topic – feel free to contact me! If you have something to comment on, it would be great to hear your opinion. Stay tuned for the future episodes of “Studying in Finland: Pros and Cons”!