What Does Higher Education In Finland Look Like Today?
- Study Abroad
Finland’s education system is often celebrated in the news for its excellence and innovation. Finns emphasize co-operation rather than competition, with little in the way of testing or standardization at primary or secondary level. This gives students a chance to develop as rounded scholars. They support each other and learn holistically rather than struggling through the term and then cramming for tests.
Unsurprisingly, this nurturing atmosphere -- and demonstrably first-rate results -- reaches its full expression at university level. So just what can you expect from higher education in Finland?
Modern learning environments
Institutions in Finland have embraced the developing technology of our changing world, without getting caught up in the bells and whistles. In short, Finnish schools know how to make a technologically-driven education practical.
Smart buildings, visibly driven by solar power, position students in an environment towards which the rest of the world is working. But no opportunity is missed to get everyone outside for hands-on experience or applied learning in an appropriate setting.
So the idea is not so much that apps and devices can replace books, but that technology can be a tool to enable real-life approaches to learning that were not previously possible.
The role of teachers
If Finnish education dispels some of our assumptions about what learning looks like, there's one traditional role that Finns honor: the teacher.
Teachers are well-respected in Finland, with all teachers required to have a master’s degree. They are less closely scrutinized and work fewer hours for better pay. This enables them to develop creative, collaborative relationships with their students, rather than defaulting to the classical lecturer-listener roles.
A great student life
As you’ll have noticed, the Finnish benefit strongly from situating education in the broader context of real life.
As a student, that means you don’t leave your identity behind at the front door. Finnish students get involved in all sorts of extracurricular activities, from sports and dancing to festivals, fashion shows, and the occasional pub-crawl.
Student union culture is healthy and vibrant, and the cohort that plays together, stays together – you'll have so much fun, you won't even notice you're networking!
Support of international students
If Finland’s innovative education system sounds tricky to get the hang of, worry not. International students are given a warm welcome and a tremendous level of support, from grants to help with housing worries.
One school embodies all of these things
Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (SAMK) applies all of these principles with flair. A wide choice of bachelor’s degrees such as International Business, Tourism, Nursing, Maritime Management, and Industrial Management, are taught with one eye on the whiteboard and the other on real-life applications.
Where fieldwork is impractical, SAMK integrates simulations of working life into the classroom. Education becomes more meaningful and memorable when it’s hands-on, and the Finnish way is to ensure knowledge doesn’t just mean facts in a book.
Satakunta University of Applied Sciences
The school is internationally-accredited by the Network of International Business Schools (NIBS). They assessed the university’s ‘internationality’ and particularly noted the excellence of SAMK’s “organization of peer tutoring, which provides the participating students with both skills, and also credits.”
Situated on the west coast of Finland, SAMK provides all that you would expect from the Finnish experience -- nature, cleanliness, solitude, safety, and a high standard of living –- while offering lower rents than other Finnish urban areas.
It’s a fine environment to pursue an undergraduate education like no other in the world!