High school program in Finland is your chance to study abroad in one of the most impressive educational systems in Europe. Learn in a classroom environment where teachers are required to receive their master’s degrees, and 66 percent of Finnish students go on to get a higher education. As Pasi Shalberg, a member of Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture stated, “we prepare children to learn how to learn, not how to take a test.”
As a student studying and living abroad, you’ll make life-long friends and gain a deeper understanding of the Finnish language and culture, all while enjoying the breathtaking forests and lakes that make up this unique archipelago.
Program at a Glance
- Host family accommodation provides full language and culture immersion
- No previous language experience required — beginners welcome!
- You can choose between trimester, semester or academic year lengths
- A straightforward online application process
- Start dates available in Spring or Fall
*Video courtesy of Visit Finland
The program dates in Finland depend on the school and region you are placed in. You’ll know your exact dates once you are placed in a school!
Application Deadline: March 15th
- Trimester: August – November
- Semester: August – December
- Academic Year: August– June
Arrival and Departure
All students are required to book flights on their own. An airport transfer upon arrival is included in the cost of the program. We will provide your exact arrival and departure dates after acceptance, as well as the exact timeframes you should arrive/depart, so that you can start to search for possible flights. We require prior approval of a proposed itinerary before you purchase any flights.
Packaged into the Price:
- Airport pickup upon arrival
- Host family accommodation and 3 meals per day
- Comprehensive medical/accident insurance
- Arrival Orientation with your Finnish local coordinator
- Certificate of Completion upon successful completion of the program for use on college applications.
- $1,500 Application Fee due by the program deadline to formally apply
- $5,000 Commitment Payment due 14 days after acceptance
- Remaining balance is due 16 weeks prior to your start date. If your program starts within 16 weeks of acceptance, the remaining program balance payment will be due at the same time as the commitment payment.
So, what about credits?
The host school abroad will not provide high school credit. All credit must be granted through your home school in the U.S. or Canada. All U.S./Canadian schools have different policies.
In Finland, there is no guarantee your host school will provide you an official transcript. If your school will not, some host schools will provide documentation, letters, and any other materials you require upon request. You must have good behavior, attendance, and performance in order for the school to fulfill this request.
Then, you should take this documentation back to your home school as proof of your participation in the program. Your home school is responsible for awarding you credit for this program or not.
Before You Go Abroad
You should meet with your US/Canadian high school before you leave and share the general curriculum guidelines for Finland with your guidance counselor and/or teachers.
Because the curriculum will vary by school and there is no guarantee you’ll take any specific classes, it is important that you arrange the required classes required for your graduation, such as U.S. History, before or after your time abroad.
Once You’re Abroad
Please keep in mind that the grading system in other countries is different than the US. Most host schools will not grant grades or transcripts as it is too difficult to evaluate your work due to the language barrier. If your host school is able to award you grades, they won’t be an exact match to what you would get in the US.
Support and Services:
- Visa Assistance in applying for the visa ahead of arrival, including visa paperwork and extensive directions and support.
- Extensive pre-departure advice and support from your US-based program coordinators. They will be with you from your first inquiry, all the way through preparing to leave and your arrival in Finland.
- Support and counseling services from in-country staff upon arrival to Finland.
- Online pre-departure cultural and logistical orientation before you leave
- 24-hour in-country and emergency support for the duration of the program, including 24-hour emergency phone numbers to reach a program manager at any time.
Additional Expenses to Budget For:
- International airfare to/from Finland
- Any personal expenses for things like entertainment, personal toiletries or other items, excursions, trips
- Public transportation
In researching a study abroad program, you have already shown you are a leader and open-minded in your academic pursuits. These are just a few of the traits that our exchange students possess. You’re motivated to immerse yourself in another culture and flexible enough to live outside your comfort zone. You should also:
- Be between 15 and 18 years of age (at the time of travel)
- Be from the United States or Canada
- Possess a high school cumulative GPA of at least 2.75/4.0
- Be in great mental* and physical health
- Have a genuine interest in becoming a part of your host family and community
- Be willing to study and learn Finnish
*What does it mean to be in good mental health?
Moving to a new culture and staying in unfamiliar surroundings without your normal support structure can be very stressful, even to a well-adjusted student. Sending a student with pre-existing conditions on a long-term exchange program could exacerbate whatever challenges the student was previously facing. In order to ensure the safety of our participants, we must be rigorous in our pre-screening of all high school abroad applicants.
Therefore, we may not be able to accept students who have struggled with any kind of mental illness, specifically within the last 2 years and/or are reliant on medication to address their existing mental health condition. Each student will be addressed on a case-by-case basis and ultimately it is the in-country partner who holds the right to accept or decline a student based on their individual policy.
These include, but are not limited to:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Eating disorders
- Chronic debilitating migraines
- Bipolar Disorder
All students who currently experience one or more of these conditions will be required to submit an addendum to the terms and conditions as well as a letter of support from their current mental health specialist. If the student’s mental health issue has been managed (post-medication) for over 2 years, we will still require a note from his/her relevant practitioner (psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist, etc) as part of the application process. We encourage you to discuss your specific situation with us directly, before securing these documents.
Please note that students who have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD will not be guaranteed any academic accommodations plans by the host school abroad.