Life in Finland
A technology-driven western market economy, Finland boasts an extremely high quality of life, considerable (and reasonably equally shared) wealth.
Forestry still plays a large part in the economy and outdoor pursuits are popular in the relatively recently industrialized nation, in which reindeer herding is widely practised by the indigenous Sámi people of the northern regions of the country.
Reindeer, by the way, may well be on the menu – though it may seem unusual, some food critics have called for it be widely available.
Finnish cuisine as a whole is unique and certainly not to everybody’s liking – former president of France Jacques Chirac and former prime minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi have both publically criticized it – but certainly has its advocates.
Fans of fish, berries and wholemeal will be in their element. Finns are also very into their saunas – there are around 1.7 million in the country, so be ready to embrace the steam if you choose to study in Finland.
Universities in Helsinki
Finland’s capital, by far the largest city in the country, is home to roughly a quarter of the nation’s population. Compared to many capital cities, it is relatively young, having only been founded in the 16th century and only becoming a capital city in the 19th century.
This doesn’t mean it lacks identity though. From its neoclassical and Art Nouveau architecture, to its multitude of colourful festivals, Helsinki – World Design Capital for 2012 – is certainly a city unto itself, with its bustling (in summer at least) and dynamic nature making it stand out from the rest of the quiet and reserved country of which it is the capital.
Educationally, it is home to the country’s oldest and highest ranked institution, the University of Helsinki, as well as Aalto University and several others.
See where Helsinki ranks in this year's QS Best Student Cities >
Universities in Turku
Until 1812, Turku was the capital and most populous city in Finland. Today, it is a much quieter and smaller city, and has the rather unusual title of ‘Christmas City of Finland’.
Its roots can be traced back to not long after the end of the Viking Age, making it the oldest city in Finland. However, this is not entirely evident, as the city suffered extensive damage in a fire in the early 19th century, though elements of history – such as the medieval castle and cathedral – still remain.
It is home to the second and third oldest universities in the country: the Swedish language Åbo Akademi and the University of Turku. Turku was the European Capital of Culture in 2011.
What's it like to study in Turku?
Universities in Tampere
Situated between two lakes which are connected by rapids which run through the middle of the city, Tampere was the heart of Finland’s industry in the 19th century (leading it to be labelled ‘the Manchester of Finland’).
It is home to the University of Tampere, and a handful of other institutions, and is known for being a student friendly city.
It is also known for its music scene, (rock and metal are the predominant genres), and its mustamakkara (a type of blood sausage).
Universities in Oolu
Located towards the country’s north, Oulu is not a city for those who do not enjoy the cold, with its subarctic temperature promising average highs below 0°c for five months of the year.
It is built on a number of islands and is known for being a technology hub, with free wireless network offered across the city centre.
It hosts a number of music festivals throughout the year, and lovers of air guitar will be pleased to hear that Oulu hosts an annual world championship in the art, so if you end up going there, make sure you dust off those hair metal LPs…
Universities in Jyväskylä
Jyväskylä, home of the University of Jyväskylä (310 in the QS World University Rankings) and JAMK University of Applies Sciences, is a student dominated city located towards the middle of Finland.
And like most student dominated cities, it is known for its nightlife, and boasts a range of pubs, clubs and music venues which cater for every taste.
It is also the home of the Finnish leg of the World Rally Championships, which attracts half a million spectators annually.
But if it’s a quieter, less high octane experience you want, the city is also in the centre of a region of beautiful lakes, forests and hills. Jyväskylä was the home of legendary Finnish architect Alvar Aalto.
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