kuvassa paljon opiskelijoita Vaasan yliopiston rakennuksen edessä.

Studying and Living in Finland

Study in the happiest country in the world

Studies at the University of Vaasa

Northern lights behind campus

What is Finland like?

Finland (Suomi in Finnish, Finland in Swedish) is the sixth largest country in Europe in terms of area. To the west lies Sweden, to the north Norway, to the east Russia and to the south Estonia, making Finland the easternmost of the Nordic countries. After Iceland and Norway, Finland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe with only 17 inhabitants per square km.

Finland is well known as a secure and clean country. The Finnish society builds upon the equality between men and women. Gender relations between the sexes in Finland are governed by the principle of equality, which is reflected in the high proportion of women in politics and other public roles. In addition, approximately 50 per cent of the university students are female. Finland as a stable democracy is a safe choice to live and study. 

Finland is unique. You will witness the contrasts between the four seasons in the nightless nights of the summer interlacing with dark winters, untouched forests and modern cityscapes interweaving with one another. Nature is an important part of the Finnish way of life for a very simple reason: it is everywhere. We have one of the world’s most advanced education systems, which guarantees the same educational opportunities for everyone regardless of social or economic background. 

See more information on the Better together -brochure of the Ministry of Education and Culture. 

What are typical Finnish people like?

Finland's nature has shaped the Finnish state of mind. Under the hard rock shell beats a warm and trustworthy heart and initial silences turn into friendships that last a lifetime. Finns give an extreme degree of privacy and space to other people. However, a visitor who accepts an initiative will soon overcome the first difficulties in becoming acquainted. Once the ice is broken, Finns will show that they are open, warm and reliable.

Finnish people appreciate honesty and trustworthiness. To be Finnish is to have ‘sisu’: to be persistent, courageous and a little bit stubborn. To understand the behavior of the Finns, you might like to know some characteristics of people living in Finland.

Be on time

Both at work and social life, Finns are punctual and expect you to be so, too. A major exception is that university lectures begin with the “academic quarter” – that is, quarter of an hour past the hour.

Keep in the queue

Whenever people have to wait, they usually stand in line. Do not try to go in front of the people who are queuing. For example in banks and post offices, you will find a system of queuing tickets in use.

Keep talking, and listen too

It is said that Finns talk only when they really have something to say. There are exceptions, of course! The fact that moments of silence occur in a conversation should not discourage you from talking. It does not mean that a Finn is angry, embarrassed or bored. When talking, Finns feel that everybody should have their say in turn and should not be disrupted while speaking.

Students in the corridor