This page is designed for international degree students at Arcada! Here you can find all the necessary information that is of special value to our 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 here.
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- and long-term accommodation here.
Beginning your studies at Arcada
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
You may apply for accreditation of previous studies after participating in the Introduction Days. You can read more about it here.
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).
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 the practical training here.
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. Notify, for example, your degree program director, the amanuensis and the Admissions Services 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, it will be relatively easy for you to get back on track and concentrate on your studies. Begin with contacting your amanuensis to inform him or her that you will miss the first days of teaching. The amanuensis can give you a list of the courses that belong to your curriculum in period 1, and in which rooms at Arcada they are taking place, so that you know where to go for your courses when you arrive. Also, remember to ask who your student tutor is. The student tutor will help you get a good start at Arcada.
- Remember to visit the Admissions Services in C3 (third floor, Block C) to submit the original documents and certificates that you used in your application to Arcada.
- For using Arcada’s IT services and on-line 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, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and mention that you are a degree student arriving late.
- 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 several days, please read the following carefully!
Contact your degree program director and your amanuensis by email to inform them that you will be arriving very late. The amanuensis should be able to provide you with a list of courses that you are supposed to take during the first period, some of which are suitable for online studying via our internet based learning platform “Itslearning”. Contact these teachers via e-mail to let them know that you will be following the course via itslearning before you arrive and follow any instructions they might give you closely.
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 amanuensis 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.
There are also four student associations at Arcada. Please read more about them here.
Student benefits and discounts
Student card: In Finland students are entitled to discounts on meals and public transportation. All discount cards are subject to regulations and the forms require a stamp from Arcada. By joining the Arcada student union ASK you can substitute the separate forms and the meal subsidy card with a student union card- which gives you the same benefits and more. You need to have a Finnish identity number to order the student card. You can read more about the card at Slice. By ordering this card, you become a Danske Bank customer and get their banking service package, including bank account and bank credentials without any monthly fees as a student until you graduate.
If you as a degree student choose not to become a member of Arcada´s Student Union ASK you still have the right to receive student discount application tickets for public transportation such as HSL, VR and Matkahuolto. Please read more about it here.
Public transportation: As a student in Finland you will get a great discount on public transportation. You will find instructions on how to apply for the student’s travel card here.
Meal subsidy card: With the Kela Meal Subsidy Card, you are entitled to discounted student cafeteria meals. Please read more about the card here.
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.
Please also visit the Campus pages on Start .
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 Local Register Office, Maistratti. 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.
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 and Nordea) and you should call them to book an appointment. If you order a student union card, you become a Danske Bank customer. Please read more in the section about student discounts above.
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. For EU/EEA nationalities health insurance is not mandatory, but highly recommended as medical costs can be significant. Please read the detailed information about international students’ insurance and health services.
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). Helsinki city offers health care services at Arcada. As a student at Arcada you are offered service by the school nurse and psychiatric nurse. We also offer you the possibility to get help from our study psychologist and our study counsellor and special education teacher, who can help you in your studies. Please read more about health care 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.
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.
Phone subscription and internet
Phone subscriptions: There are many different phone operators offering phone subscriptions in Finland. Some of them are: DNA, Elisa, Moi 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 subscription to begin with. 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 their customer service information Telia here and Elisa here. 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 card mentioned above and you will be good to go. You can use the journey planner for an easy trip to wherever in Helsinki (and around) you need to go https://www.reittiopas.fi/.
Getting a city bike pass is a great way to get to know Helsinki and move around when the weather allows it. Here’s how to get started!
You can quite easily travel around Finland by train or bus. Please read more about travelling in Finland.
Working while studying
You are allowed to work part-time during your studies, 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.
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:
This site is maintained by Infopankki, and constitutes a hub and search engine for finnish courses for foreigners available throughout Finland. Note that you can search for varying types of courses based on criteria such as starting level and progression speed, and also courses tailored specifically for persons who already have a Higher-Education background.
The Swedish Adult Education Centre
The Swedish Adult Education Centre (commonly known as ‘Arbis’) offers several courses in Swedish and Finnish aimed specifically at foreigners. It is worth pointing out, that besides language courses Arbis offers everything from cooking classes to art history and gymnastics to music.
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.
Unisport: At the nearby campus beloning to the University of Helsinki, you can find the Kumpula Sports Centre. You can participate in many activities (possibly not all) without being a student at the University of Helsinki. Contact the Sports Centre directly for more information.
Arbis: The Swedish Adult Education Centre (commonly known as ‘Arbis’) offers several courses in Swedish and Finnish aimed specifically at foreigners. Arbis also offers everything from cooking classes to art history and gymnastics to music.
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, tiketti.fi and ticketmaster.fi.
You can browse through the list of museums and other sights in Helsinki on this website.
Many events offer student discounts on the ticket price, be sure to ask!
New in Helsinki Facebook group: You can join this group to get information on events, sights and services in the Helsinki area!
The Expat community in Helsinki organises all sorts of activities and gatherings for everybody interested in meeting expats in Helsinki.
Useful information about studying and living in Finland
Here is a list of useful links with more information on studying and living in Finland:
Welcome guide and checklist on things that are good to know when you move to Finland
International house Helsinki: Get multilingual guidance online or at their office. They can provide you with a wide range of information and public authority services.
Finnish Immigration Service (Migri): Be sure to begin the renewal process of your residence permit well in advance before your current permit expires, as it can take some time to process your application.
www.infopankki.fi: The pages of the Info Bank contain a wealth of basic information for immigrants on the functioning of society and opportunities in Finland. It covers a wide range of topics from health care to starting a business, and finding jobs and accommodation.
Luckan Integration: Luckan is an independent Swedish-language culture and information centre. They also offer services to immigrants and international students in Finland and the integration project Fika. They also organise multilingual events for newcomers in Helsinki!
Helsinki Times: is an English-language online newspaper, providing you with news from Finland and the world.
YLE News in English: YLE, The Finnish National Broadcasting Company's news site in English.
This is Finland has all kinds of content about Finland and Finnish culture!