More Than the Degree

Why I chose Finland as my study destination

Yijuan on the path to the Laajalahti nature reserve in Otaniemi.
Yijuan in Helsinki.

"Why Finland?"

Almost everyone asks this question when they hear about my choice of study destination.

Indeed, Finland is still considered a niche study destination by many people. What's interesting is that not only my hometown friends, but also international students, are constantly curious about what brought each of us here. Sometimes even Finns would lean in and ask the same question. As we listen to different personal experiences, we often find remarkable similarities. Speaking for myself, I can summarize my reasons for studying in Finland as follows:


The reputation of Finland as the happiest country in the world (having been ranked top for 6 consecutive years) was the first thing I learned about Finland, and it is indeed the main reason for anyone curious about what this country is like. This curiosity led me here, and Finland certainly lived up to my expectations.


Starting with my own experience, the idea of coming to Finland emerged in early 2017 when I participated in a summer camp there. The summer camp offered sports programs like floor hockey, curling, and skating, along with relaxing saunas and outdoor barbecues in a charming summer cottage. As a nature lover, I was fascinated by the extensive forests and lakes in Finland, as well as the Finnish people's commitment to make these natural resources accessible to all. Since then, I have had a strong desire to pursue higher education opportunities in Finland, and I eventually found my way to Aalto.


The Finnish concept of education is a topic that is close to my heart. When I first experienced Finnish education, I was impressed by the level of freedom and trust given to students. During a hiking trip in Kuusamo, as part of a summer camp, we were entrusted with expensive professional cameras so that we could practice photography with high-quality equipment. This level of trust was something I had never experienced in my previous education. Later on, I discovered that this trust is deeply ingrained in the Finnish education system. The foundation of education is built on the belief that students have the ability to manage and organize their studies and personal development. Students are treated as equals to their teachers to a large extent. By having the right motivation and a self-driven approach to learning, anyone can make the most out of the abundant resources provided by the Finnish education system.


One of the most important factors to consider when deciding to study is the cost. Although non-EU students may have to pay tuition fees, there are scholarships available that can cover part or even the entire tuition fee. As a student living in Finland, you are also entitled to various benefits such as affordable accommodation, discounted public transportation, healthcare, meals, and cultural events. Taking all of these factors into consideration, studying in Finland is a more cost-effective option compared to other popular study destinations.


Living and studying in Finland can be incredibly relaxing and enjoyable. The society is relatively safe and equal, with trust being deeply ingrained in Finnish culture. It feels wonderful to be a part of this culture and to extend trust to others.

Choosing a study destination can be a challenging process, but listening to your intuition can be crucial in making the final decision. For me, Finland has been a source of constant surprises. As I continue to discover what Finland has to offer, I find myself stepping out of my comfort zone and experiencing personal growth. After studying and living here for 3 years, I am confident that I made the right choice.

- Yijuan

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