Finland is often seen to have the best education system in the world. In addition, Newsweek recently voted it the best country to live in. With claims such as these, there is a lot going on for Finland! This idyllic nation is part of the Nordic area of Europe, which also includes Iceland, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. Russia borders the country to the east and Sweden to the west.
With a population of just over 6 million, Finland is a sparsely populated country and has large areas of wilderness. Being in the north of Europe, the weather can get very cold. The summer temperatures are in the 70s, and there are up to 20 hours of daylight. Meanwhile, the winter temperatures can drop as low as 0. During this time, there are only a few hours of daylight in the south and no sunrise in the north. With such cold winters, it is understandable that there are over 3 million saunas in Finland! In fact, saunas are very important to Finnish culture, with the average Finn taking a sauna once or more a week.
Furthermore, the winter months are the time to witness one of mother nature's natural spectacles: the Northern Lights. The Finns are excellent multi-linguists. Finnish and Swedish are the official languages of Finland, but nearly everybody in the big cities can speak English. As Finland tries to encourage international students, there are lots of programs available in English.
Like in other European countries, there are two types of higher education institutions. The Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS) take a more vocational approach, emphasizing practical learning as opposed to theoretical learning. Then there are the regular universities, which take a more traditional and academic approach to learning. With a generous welfare state and an international outlook, Finland has decided to abolish tuition fees for all students.