Arrival to Finland

It is good to remember that you should attend your studies right from the beginning starting at the orientation week. You should arrange your arrival for couple of days before that. This way you will have enough time to organize your living arrangements and getting to know your new surroundings. You will also need time to shop for some basic things to get through the first night. At LAB University of Applied Sciences we have an excellent tutor student network that helps new students get to their apartment and get settled. Therefore, it is important to arrive during the daytime as in this way tutor student can also help you in finding local shops for example.

Necessary health documents

You might need to prepare the necessary health documentation before your arrival to Finland. Please check these instructions: Necessary health documentation (pdf 114 kb).

Arrange your trip to Finland

More tips on how to arrange your trip to Finland can be found from "Your Destination - Lahti/Lappeenranta" section.

Registration at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency

All exchange students need to apply Finnish PIC and register their address in Finland. This is done by registration at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. Further guidance on this matter will be provided to you in the Orientation Programme.

More information about registration of a foreigner in the Population Information System is available on web pages of Digital and Population Data Services Agency.


In order to open a bank account, you need the registration at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency to be made. Many banks prefer to reserve an appointment in advance to open an account, so you might want to arrange a time for your visit. Before deciding on the bank you might want to find out what services they offer you and the costs – there are significant differences between banks. Ask your fellow students or your tutor students’ for their opinion and which bank they recommend. 

Please note that a VISA card, a MasterCard or equivalent is useful in Finland as there are cash machines everywhere.

Phone services

If you need to get Finnish Prepaid card for your mobile phone, the easiest way to get one is to buy this ‘pay as you go’ phone contract at a local R-kiosk. The benefit of this service is that instead of purchasing by credit, you pay for the service before using it. When you need more credit to your prepaid card, you can buy more credit from the same kiosks. The prices for prepaid cards start normally from 10 euros.

Costs of living

The expenses vary very much depending on your personal life style and the type of accommodation you decide to choose. Currently, it is estimated that 700 EUR/month is a realistic figure to cover living expenses. In addition to this, it is important to remember that other occasional costs may occur when studying abroad, such as a housing deposit and study materials. However, it is useful to note that the expense for course books is low in Finland as most of the course books can be borrowed from the libraries. Overall it all depends on your personal spending habits (food, health care, social life, travel plans within Finland or abroad, sports equipment, etc.), which you should take into careful consideration when planning your budget. Bear in mind that it is very easy to underestimate your expenses, so be realistic!

Saving tips - Flea markets and second hand shops are popular in Finland, so there are several of them around the city. In these places you can find all kinds of second hand products, such as furniture, electric appliances, tableware and clothes. The prices are very reasonable, and in places such as the Red Cross flea market and recycling centres you can find all of their items in a very good condition.

Your destination - Finland

You might well have heard about Finland’s excellent education system, the beautiful Northern Lights and the clean and safe environment. You might also know that Santa Claus comes from Finland and so do the Angry Birds. However, this may well be the first time you come to Finland and you might wonder what this country and its people are really like.

The Finnish language

Foreigners moving to Finland often find the Finnish language strange and daunting at first. Only few words look familiar to anyone whose own language is not in the obscure Finno-Ugric linguistic family. But with a positive attitude and a sympathetic teacher, even the most tongue-tied newcomer can get to grips with Finnish surprisingly quickly. We offer a special Finnish language course for exchange students in the beginning of each semester. We recommend that you make an effort to learn Finnish also during your free-time as that will help you settle in the new country.

Finnish people

As a people Finns are often said to be relatively shy, quiet, straightforward and honest. They appreciate privacy and space. However, a visitor who accepts an initiative will soon overcome the first difficulties in becoming acquainted. Once the ice is broken Finns will show that they are open, warm and reliable. Honesty, independence and punctuality are the three characteristics most highly valued by the Finns.

If you ever struggle to find a topic for discussion with a Finn it is good to remember that Finns have a special passion for sports. Ask about ice-hockey, cross-country skiing or javelin and you might well have found a new best friend. Ski-jumping, motor-racing, orienteering and Finnish baseball are also excellent topics for discussion!