According to this article (and many more like it), there are many countries around the world that will allow US citizens to study for free. If you are anything like me, you immediately began dreaming of all the amazing times you would have studying abroad, only to have those dreams come to a screeching halt when you thought about how to pay for your living expenses. After all, living anywhere ain’t cheap. It is one thing to consider paying for school and living expenses using student loans, but the fact of the matter is that most loans won’t pay for your living and studying expenses in a different country. And besides that, student loans are stupid. If you plan to get your degree using student loans, you are likely to be locked into paying for that shit for years to come–thus limiting your ability to travel, live abroad, take risks like quitting a job where you are unhappy, or dedicating time to volunteering.
So is it possible to live and study in another country and do things a little bit differently? Let’s see.
According to the Washington Post:
This northern European country charges no tuition fees, and it offers a large number of university programs in English. However, the Finnish government amiably reminds interested foreigners that they “are expected to independently cover all everyday living expenses.” In other words: Finland will finance your education, but not your afternoon coffee break.
If you are hoping to end up with a degree from a Finnish university, you will first need to decide what you want to study. You will be pleased to know that Finnish universities offer a huge range of degree offerings with titles that closely reflect their American counterparts. This makes it simple to identify the right program for you as well as get your credentials evaluated later on.
Most programs admit students for the fall term (late August, early September), but for masters and doctoral positions, these dates can fluctuate wildly. All programs determine their own requirements, but you can apply through to a maximum of six programs via the portal.
Eligibility also differs between universities, but standard eligibility requirements are the ability to speak English well and pass an entrance exam specific to your proposed field of study (all bachelors degrees and some masters degrees). Masters-seeking students must have a bachelors and three years of relevant work experience.
If you are looking to work in Finland, it is possible. However, Finnish skills will increase your chances of finding employment. If you are able to find a job, you won’t be able to exceed 25 hours a week. Scholarships are available, but mainly for doctoral students. Living expenses are high, however, with a one-bedroom in the city costing 620 euro and 490 euro outside of the city.
In order to get a visa to live, study and potentially work in Finland, you are required to show that you have a minimum of 6700 euro in the bank. You are also required to show valid health insurance from your home country that will cover your time in Finland. Also be aware that this great deal in Finland might end in 2016.
It appears that Finland wouldn’t be a logical option for myself because I lack Finnish skills and the right kind of bank account. However, if you are independently wealthy or capable of receiving financing through other means, learning in Finland could be the best decision you’ve ever made.