People walking down the stairs at the University of Helsinki library

Host University Orientation and Registration

Host Institution Orientation for Students

Orientation will be provided to student grantees as part of the regular international student services at Finnish universities. This orientation introduces students to institutional resources and facilities, study curriculum and academic procedure, co-curricular and extracurricular organizations, and the municipality in which the institution is located. The orientation usually also provides an overview of Finnish life, culture, and language. Additionally, the academic department hosting the student may provide an informal orientation session.

The orientation will also serve as an introduction to student union activities. Finnish student unions are influential and offer a wide range of services, from student housing, bookstores, and restaurants to legal counseling services and numerous academic and social functions. Student unions also administer the student ID (for example Lyyra).

Further information on the orientation program and other international student services at your host institution may be obtained from the Foreign Student Advisor or International Coordinator. The extent of local orientation programs, as well as other services, may vary from one institution to another.

Many Finnish universities have a tutor program which pairs international students with Finnish students. The tutors are available to help with organizational and practical matters and can make the first two weeks easier to deal with. If you are interested in a tutor program, ask about the availability of such a program from the Foreign Student Adviser at your host university International Office.

Although most of the activities that will be covered at the host institution’s Orientation week are meant for students, they are in fact free for all and lecturers and teachers may attend, if they so wish. Some institutions also arrange separate Orientation happenings for new incoming visiting staff, but this is not always the case.

How to Register with a Finnish Higher Education Institution?

Fulbright Student program grantees must register with their Finnish host university when they first begin their studies. The registration usually needs to be done in person at the University Student Services.

Upon registration, your information will be entered into the student register and you will be given a student number and instructions for activating a user ID for the university’s IT services (such as e-mail).

Do contact your host university International Office for the university specific registration details and timelines, well before your arrival in Finland.

Student Card and Student Benefits

In order for you to get student benefits you need to get a student card. Student card is issued only for student union members who pay the student union fee (about 30-100 € per academic year).

If you are studying for a degree at a Finnish university, becoming a student union member is compulsory. If your university status is an exchange student the student union membership is optional, but recommended due to the great benefits it offers. If you have any other status at the university, do contact the International Office and ask does the benefits apply in your situation.

For information on your status, how to get your student card, and how and when latest to pay the student union fee, please contact your host university International Office well before your arrival to Finland.

Student benefits for student card holders:

  • Finnish Student Health Service FSHS (in Finnish Ylioppilaiden terveydenhoitosäätiö YTHS). FSHS provides students with medical care, dental health care, and mental health care. Service fee varies between 4 € and 25 €. (Not university of applied science students, please check your institution for health care services.)
  • 50 % discount on both long-distance train and bus tickets. During the off-season taking a boat trip to Sweden can also be considerably cheaper with the student card.
  • Low-cost meals at student cafeterias. The price for the government-subsidized student lunch is usually €2,60 (for doctoral students about €5,50). This sum will cover not only the hot meal but also a side salad, bread and drink.
  • Some restaurants and shops may give students small discounts. It's always worth asking, especially in establishments near the university campus area.
  • Read more at Frank.

Doctoral students

Doctoral Students (usually referred in Finland as a postgraduate student according to the British terminology) are not entitled to all the student union membership benefits. Their benefits are considerably more restricted than the ones for Bachelor's and Master's students. Do contact your host university International Office for information on doctoral student benefits.