This page is intended for new international degree students at Arcada! Here you can find useful information for foreign students, including useful tips related to living and studying in Finland.

Arriving in Finland

Getting from the airport to the city center

You can take a train from the airport to the city center. The train ride takes about 30 minutes. There are also buses during nighttime. You can find the schedules and information on how to buy tickets on HSL's website. External link

You can find more information on how to get around in Helsinki on this page under the chapter about Practical matters.

First night in Helsinki

If you do not have long-term accommodation when you arrive in Helsinki, we advise you to book a hostel or hotel in advance. You can find more information on short-term and long-term accommodation here.

Beginning your studies at Arcada

Introduction Days

All new students should begin their studies at Arcada by participating in the Introduction Days. You will get all the information you need to begin your studies at Arcada during these days. The student portal Start contains a lot of information you need when beginning your studies at Arcada, including the schedule for, content of and material from the Introduction Days. If you arrive after the Introduction Days please read the chapter below, about arriving late, carefully!

Accreditation of previous studies

If you have previously studied at another university and taken courses that are relevant to your degree at Arcada you may be able to apply for accreditation of your previous studies. Please contact your programme's study counsellor to discuss this. You can read more about accreditation here but don't apply before you have talked to your study counsellor.

Your study plan (curriculum)

You are probably interested in what kind of courses your degree programme comprises. Please click here and choose your degree programme and the upcoming academic year in order to take a closer look at your own study plan (curriculum).

Practical training

All bachelor-level studies at a university of applied sciences also contain practical training. The aim of practical training is to enable interaction between theory and practice, and to provide students with a variety of skills and qualifications required in the working life. Please read more about practical training here.

Arriving late

If you are a degree student, and have missed the Introduction Days, here are some quick tips and links to get you started with your studies as quickly as possible. Beginning your studies in a new country is a bit of a challenge, and we understand the extra stress you might feel if arriving late.

  • Let Arcada know that you will be arriving late. Please notify the Admissions Services AND your study counsellor at Arcada. Let us know approximately when you will be able to arrive at Arcada.
  • If you have missed the Introduction Days, but arrive within the next week, begin with contacting your study counsellor to inform her that you will miss the first days of teaching. The study counsellor will then give you more detailed instructions on how to proceed. Also, remember to ask who your student tutor is. The student tutor will help you get a good start at Arcada.
  • To be able to use Arcada’s IT services and online study tools, you will need access to your personal IT User Account from the very beginning. Please, see the instructions on the IT-support pages about how to verify your identity to acquire your User Account. If you are not able to verify your identity using any of the methods mentioned there, our international student advisor will be able to help you, just send him an e-mail explaining that you would like to activate your IT account. Please note that your User Account must be activated before the start of the first introduction day.
  • Visit the student portal Start for a lot of information on beginning your studies. Pay special attention to the presentations available for download on this page. They are presentations given during the introduction days and hence contain information that can answer a lot of your questions.

If you know that you will miss the start of the lectures by more than just a few days, please read the following carefully!
Contact your study counsellor well in advance before the studies start by email to inform her that you will be arriving very late. The study counsellor will then give you more detailed instructions on how to proceed. You will receive a list of courses that you are supposed to complete during the first period, some of which are suitable for online studying via our internet based learning platform “Itslearning”. You will also have to contact the teachers of these courses via email to let them know that you will be following the course via Itslearning before you arrive. Please follow any instructions they might give you closely. It is very important that you take responsibility of your studies even though you are not physically on campus. If you do not follow the instructions given, it will unfortunately affect your academic achievement (courses completed, grades received etc.).

If you are a transfer student, and have missed the Introduction Days, most of the information above applies to you as well. If your previous studies have not yet been accredited at Arcada, and you thus do not yet have a study plan and are unsure of which courses you are supposed to take, it is important that you contact your programme’s study counsellor or degree program director IMMEDIATELY in order to plan what courses you should attend, while waiting for the accreditation procedure to be completed. Make sure to start the accreditation process as soon as possible!

Remember, the more you plan for your late arrival the easier it will be for you to get started properly once you are here!

The student union and student associations at Arcada

Your starting point should be Arcada Student Union – ASK. At ASK’s own facilities, the COR-house next to Arcada, you can get in touch with your fellow students from all the other degree programs for various social and cultural activities. Networking with your fellow students across the degree programs is the best way to get to know persons with similar interests. For more information on how to become a member and how to contact ASK please visit their website. External link

There are also five student associations at Arcada. Please read more about them here.

Student benefits and discounts

Student card: Arcada does not provide students with a student card but by joining the Arcada student union ASK External link you can get a student card app that entitles you to many different discounts.

Even if you choose not to become a member of Arcada's Student Union ASK you still have the right to receive student discount on public transportation in the Helsinki region (HSL) and subsidised meals served at student restaurants.

Meal subsidy card: With the Kela Meal Subsidy Card, you are entitled to discounted student cafeteria meals. Get your card from Student Affairs. (Note, if you have a student card you can use that to get your discounted lunch instead of the Meal Subsidy Card.)

Public transport: As a full-time student living in Helsinki you have the right to a 40 % discount on HSL's monthly tickets External link. You can get the discount in the HSL app but for this to work you will need to have a Finnish identity number as well as Finnish online identification credentials (e.g. a Finnish online banking log-in). If you do not have this you get a form from Student Affairs that entitles you to get the discount on the HSL travel card instead.

To get the student discount on long-distance public transport such as VR Trains External link and Matkahoulto buses External link. you will need to have a student card app like the one you can get by becoming a member of ASK. There are also other options such as the Frank app External link which is free but requires online banking identification credentials for activation.


The Arcada campus, built in 2004, is quite unique in Helsinki as it is a complete campus with the university of applied sciences, student housing and the student union house. You can read more about the services provided on campus here. External link

Please also visit the Campus pages on Start.

Tuition fees and scholarships

The tuition fees apply to students from countries outside the EU/EEA area. Read more about tuition fees here.

Arcada offers scholarships for students who attain the required number of credits. Read more about scholarships here.

Practical matters

Register in the Finnish population system upon arrival

Most students staying in Finland for a longer period need to register in the Finnish population system. You could do this at the Digital and Populations Data Services Agency (DVV). When you register you will receive a personal identity code which you will need for most things like opening a bank account, ordering a student card etc. Therefore you should register as soon as possible upon arrival! Please note that you need to have an address in Finland to register. Please read more about the registration and Finnish municipality of residence External link.

Bank account

Setting up a bank account in Finland requires a Finnish personal identity code which you will get when registering in the Finnish population system. Some banks have all their services in English (e.g. Danske Bank External link, Nordea External link and OP External link) and you should call them to book an appointment. Banks may have different requirements for what documentation they expect you to provide, don't forget to ask what they want you to bring when you make the appointment.

Please note that bringing money from your home country in the form of a bank draft, cashier's cheque or similar is impractical. Finding a Finnish bank that will accept them is difficult and you are likely to end up paying a large fee to cash them.

Insurance and Health care

In Finland: The need for insurance and the access to health and medical care depends on your nationality and residence status. A private health insurance is mandatory for Non-EU/EEA nationalities applying for student residence permit in Finland. Please read Migri's detailed information about international students’ insurance and health services External link.

All degree students who are enrolled at a university in Finland (also those that are not physically present in Finland) have to pay a mandatory student health care fee. Currently (2024) the fee is 36.80 € per term. Read more about the fee and how and when to pay it External link on Kela's webpages. This allows you to use the Finnish Student Health Service External link. If you're in need of non-urgent health care just call the Student Health Service (+358 46 7101073) and they will counsel you or book a time for you.

Students who are in Finland on a visa that's valid for two years or more should also be able to apply for a Kela card External link. This is a health insurance card that allows you to use the health care services of the municipality where you live. These services are not free but they are reasonable priced and considerably cheaper than private health care.

At Arcada: All students at Arcada are insured against accidents during practical lessons and training. The student is required to have a private accident insurance for all other situations (e.g. theory lessons and travelling to and from Arcada). We also offer you the possibility to get help from our study psychologist and our study social worker, who can help you in your studies. Please read more about counselling and support at Arcada.


Self-care medication (e.g. most painkillers) can be bought from pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription. For other medicines (e.g. antibiotics) you will need a prescription before you can buy them. A prescription is usually written by a doctor, but also some nurses are allowed to prescribe certain medicines. Please read more about how to get medicine in Finland External link.

Medication from abroad: You are allowed to bring some medicines to Finland with you from abroad for your personal use. There are, however, restrictions on the imports of medicines. These restrictions depend on what kind of medication it is and the country from which it is brought to Finland. In addition, you must be able to prove with a prescription or medical certificate, for example, that the medicine is intended for your personal use. Please read more about medication from abroad External link.

Phone subscription and internet

Phone subscriptions: There are many different phone operators offering phone subscriptions in Finland. Some of them are: DNA, Elisa, Moi, Telia and Saunalahti. In order to get a subscription you need to have a Finnish identity code, which you will get upon registering, and an address in Finland. The phone subscription companies usually also ask you to show information on your payment behavior which means that they will check if you have paid your bills in order to see that you are a trustworthy customer. The best way to find out about the different phone operators is to visit their webpages, contact their customer service or to go and ask at their stores, that you can find at many places in the Helsinki city center.

You can also buy a pre-paid sim-card to begin with, while more expensive to use than a subscription they don't require any registration or identification. A pre-paid card is a sim-card you charge with a certain amount of money and that you can top up as often as you need to. You can buy prepaid subscriptions at R-kioski kiosks and some supermarkets.

Internet: First check with your housing whether they provide internet or not. Especially in student housing it is common that internet is included in the rent. In that case you usually only need to buy an internet cable.
If your housing does not provide internet it is wise to compare prices between different internet service providers. Most providers have limited information about their services in English on their webpages so, again, the best way to compare prices would be to go to their stores and ask or contact their customer service. Some of the biggest internet service providers in Finland are Elisa and Telia. You can find the customer service information of Telia here External link and of Elisa here External link. Both companies have physical stores for example in the shopping centre Kamppi, which is situated in the center of Helsinki.

Getting around and travelling

Getting around in Helsinki is easy with public transportation and city bikes. Get the HSL travel card mentioned above under Student Discounts and you will be good to go. You can use the journey planner External link for an easy trip to wherever in Helsinki (and around) you need to go.

Getting a city bike pass is a great way to get to know Helsinki and move around when the weather allows it. Here is how to get started! External link

You can quite easily travel around Finland by train or bus. You can use the service External link ti look up travel options for trips.

Working while studying

You are allowed to work part-time during your studies External link, but please take into account that we expect you to attend classes and study full-time.


Student accommodation in Finland, and especially Helsinki, is popular and affordable and therefore in very high demand. You should apply for an apartment as soon as you have been admitted as a student at Arcada. Please read more about student accommodation in Helsinki.

You can read more about tenant right and obligations here. External link

Language skills and courses

At Arcada we hope that you take advantage of the Swedish language environment and learn Swedish. In many areas of Finland, a good command of Swedish will facilitate your job seeking. In order to be successful on the job market in Finland, a thorough command of Finnish is also strongly recommended and in many cases indispensable. Thus, in addition to the courses in Finnish and Swedish available at Arcada, we strongly urge you to study Finnish also outside of the Arcada classrooms, as good knowledge of Finnish will be very beneficial later on in your studies and job seeking.

Remember that the language teachers in charge of the Finnish and Swedish courses at Arcada will be happy to give you further tips on improving your language skills and provide you with advice on studying Swedish and Finnish outside the classroom.

Here is a short list of some courses you can take outside Arcada:

Sports, leisure and extracurricular activities

Even though your studies and work will take up a lot of your time and effort, it is important that you have a life outside of your studies and have some time to socialize with your friends and, for example, do some exercise. As a foreigner in Finland, it can sometimes be a challenge to find out exactly where and when such events that interest you take place. This list is designed to give you some starting suggestions, but can of course not be all-inclusive. There is a lot to do in Helsinki, something for everyone! Keep in mind that many of the sites below have their own collection of links to various activities, so be sure to have a look at these as well.


Art, Culture, and Music Events

You can find timetables for major theatre, music, and sporting events through the largest vendor of tickets for said events, through Tiketti External link and Ticketmaster External link. In Finland movies are almost always shown in their original language so you don't have to learn Finnish to go to the cinema External link and watch the latest Hollywood blockbusters.

You can browse through the list of museums and other sights in Helsinki on this website External link.

Many events offer student discounts on the ticket price, be sure to ask!


Useful information about studying and living in Finland

Here is a list of useful links with more information on studying and living in Finland: