Internationalisation at home

The instruction belongs to the following themes

By selecting a degree programme you are able to see the general content as well as the possible degree programme-specific content. You do not have to select a degree programme to see the Open University's instructions.

Internationalisation at home refers to the inter-cultural networks and experiences one can develop through the interactions between local and international people. The basic elements of internationalisation at home involve getting to know people from different backgrounds, studying foreign languages, and so forth, with the core tenet of developing one’s general cultural understanding and sensitivity.   

Internationalisation at home thus naturally presents international people studying or living abroad with many opportunities to take part in, and learn from, the process. While you might be a foreigner in Finland yourself, you can still engage with Finnish culture and people - as well as other international people - across a multitude of activities. These experiences will broaden your perspective and enrich both parties, and this is the underlying dynamic of internationalisation at home.  

The University of Helsinki offers many kinds of cultural opportunities for internationalisation at home, ranging from academic to linguistic to professional. For example, in the Language Centre you can become a language assistant to help others studying your native language, or you can learn languages yourself while gaining study credits. Or, you can become an international tutor to guide new students, or socially engage with international student organisations. There are many such options that will allow you to meet Finns and other international students, so please explore the opportunities the University of Helsinki offers, and find your own path of internationalisation while in Finland.


International Bachelor's programme 

The University of Helsinki offers one interdisciplinary Bachelor's Programme in Science that will enable you to work on the cutting edge of exciting basic research and application development in math and statistics, physics, chemistry and computer/data science. 

International Master's programmes 

The University of Helsinki offers 35 different Master’s Degree Programmes in English with global recognition. Master’s Programmes consist of 120 credits and have a duration of two years. You can read more about each program and how to apply to them from the University's website.

The application period for these programmes is once a year, usually from December to mid-January.

Singular courses 

You can also participate in singular courses that are taught in English offered by different faculties. You can find different options from the Courses page; just choose English as the teaching language. Naturally you can also participate in courses taught in Finnish or Swedish if you have the required language skills.

Course selection in Swedish

Are you familiar with a Nordic language? The university offers a large number of courses in Swedish across all campuses. Complete your degree with Swedish-speaking courses in addition to the English ones.

Search for courses taught in Swedish.

If you want to know more about e.g. courses in Swedish or the Swedish-speaking community, do not hesitate to contact your own campus coordinator.

Guest lectures 

The faculties and independent institutions of the University host a great variety of guest lectures during every academic year. Many of these are organised in English and offer a great opportunity to both brush up your language skills and learn something new. You can browse the University’s event calendar for more information. 

Cultural competence courses

Language Centre

Faculty of Arts 

Faculty of Educational Sciences

Open University

Language studies

Language studies

The Language Centre offers teaching in fifteen different languages, and it is also possible to participate in Finnish or Swedish as a native language courses. You can find courses from the Courses page and in Sisu.

Teaching is available in the following languages: Arabic, Chinese, Danish, English, Estonian, Finnish as a native language, Finnish (as a second national language), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Swedish as a native language.

Register for Language Centre courses and examinations through Sisu. 

Language modules

A 15- or 25-credit module in Chinese, English, Finnish as a native language, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish or Swedish can be incorporated into a degree as elective studies.

You can combine courses offered by the Language Centre and its partners (UH degree programmes, other universities) as well as language studies completed in a foreign university into a programme. You can also combine language courses with communication and interaction skills courses, under the Programme in Professional Communication and Interaction Skills.

If you want to complete a language module or have already begun studies in a language and wish to complete an entire programme in that language, contact the coordinator of the language in question.

ALICE- Academic Language and Intercultural Exchange in pairs

The basic idea of ALICE (Academic Language and Intercultural Exchange) is to provide two language learners who speak different native languages the opportunity to learn about each other’s language and culture in an interactive way. Besides learning each other’s language, the two learners get an insight into each other’s cultures and customs and receive information about the practicalities of everyday life. At the beginning of the course, the partners will draw up an “action plan” and timetable, and can thus choose topics that are of interest to both.

The course will continue with informal meetings with the partner. Learners are to keep a personal learning diary. The students will also meet up with the responsible teacher of the course and draw up a learning portfolio at the end of the course.

Currently ALICE is offered in Spanish, Italian, German, Russian and French.

Course Assistant Programme for International Students

Course assistants are international exchange or degree students who act as native peers for the local students learning assistant's native language. They work together with Language Centre teachers and help language learners e.g. with pronunciation, group work and discussion skills both in and out of the classroom.

Language clubs and other events

The Language Centre also organises events outside the courses such as Asian language clubs and multilingual workshops. By following the bulletins on the Frontpage of the Studies service, the Flexible ways for language learning page of the Language Centre and the messages sent to the email lists you can stay updated on the upcoming events.


International student organisations operating under the Student Union

Student organisations are an integral part of student life in Finland, with a wide variety of organisations dedicated to different roles and events – from culture, sport, games, and so on. There are over 250 student organisations operating within the Student Union (HYY). You can find many individual organisations on social media, where they tend to operate.

International student organisations focus on bringing international students together. These are a natural avenue to meet international students from a huge variety of backgrounds, as well as internationally minded Finns who want to diversify. 

Moreover, many student organisations revolving around specific hobbies or interests operate multilingually and feature a natural overlap between Finnish and international students with similar interests. They are an excellent way to socialise internationally at home.  
These kinds of organisations can provide opportunities to improve not only your social and language skills, but also your intercultural communication and your understanding of diversity.


Getting to know other international students

One of the most effective way to gain a deeper understanding of different cultures is to get to know some other of the exchange and international students that study at the University.

International tutoring

Being an international tutor is a great way to explore the international dimension of the university. As an international tutor, you will meet students from different cultures and provide them with valuable support for starting their studies. In addition, you get to share your own experiences and tips with new students.  

All tutors will receive training for leading a multicultural group and get to plan their group's activities based on the needs of their tutees and their own interests. A tutor is in many cases the tutee's first point of contact after arriving to Finland, so international tutoring is a great opportunity to positively affect the tutees' University experience. 

The language used in tutor groups is English. International tutors are needed both in autumn (for exchange students and degree students) and in January (mostly for exchange students). More information on how to apply to become an international tutor

Student Ambassadors

If you are interested in sharing your student experiences with current and future students, both in international and Finnish/Swedish degree programmes, you can apply to become a student ambassador!

As an ambassador, you have a chance to take up tasks varying from social media content creation to chatting with prospective students and taking part in events (such as the Welcome Fair and tutor trainings). Being a student ambassador is also a great way to network and develop your presentation skills, among others.

Student ambassadors will receive training for their tasks. Read more about becoming a student ambassador here.


Opening Carnival

Come and learn about organisational activities, meet your Student Union and the University’s actors, add to your overall badge collection and take in the music, good atmosphere and diverse supplementary programme! The Opening Carnival is organised yearly at the beginning of the fall term.

The Opening Carnival is usually organised at the centre campus of UH. Due to Covid-19 the Opening Carnival was canceled in the autumn of 2020.

Fresher Challenge

The Fresher Challenge is the largest event for new students in Finland, with almost 4,000 students and check point people participating. The event is only organized during the fall term.

This year, the Student Union of the University of Helsinki organised the Fresher Adventure remotely for the freshers of the University of Helsinki during 21-25 September 2020.

Guidance Corner Events

Guidance Corner provides low threshold advice and guidance services on, for example, well-being, digital skills and job seeking. Some of the Guidance Corner activities are regular weekly guidance and counselling sessions. A novelty for international students is Student life 2.0, which is a series of events organised for international and exchange students which introduces students to both cultural and academic themes in Finland. Read more on the Guidance Corner page!

Think Corner Events

Think Corner offers new perspectives on interesting topics. Don’t be out of the loop – join our events and discussions! They are open to everyone and intended for anyone who is interested in the latest findings in research. Browse the Think Corner programme in the event calendar.

Professional development

For international students who wish to advance their working lives during their time as a student in Finland, the University offers both general guidance and specific opportunities.

Career Services

The University's Career Services provide you with career counselling and guidance on traineeships, as well as organised events relating to job seeking and career opportunities. 

Traineeship Programme

The University of Helsinki offers an annual Traineeship Programme for International Masters students, providing applicants an opportunity for hands-on experience in positions ranging from international affairs to marketing to research, among others. Trainees work part-time, leaving students enough time for their studies, and benefit from group career counselling for their professional futures. 
The University of Helsinki is a responsible employer and only offers paid traineeships.  The application period takes place in Spring, and the traineeships begin the following Autumn term. 

For more information on general traineeships outside this specific programme, check the traineeships page in the Instructions for Students.

Helsinki International Talent Programme

The HelsinkiUNI International Talent Programme (HITP) is a six-month mentoring programme where companies and international students get to know each other. The programme enables students to build important networks to the Finnish labour market, bringing with them the latest knowledge. For companies it is a great way for a company to try internationalization and to create a positive employer brand. 


Demola courses bring together university students and career professionals from leading companies to work together in multidisciplinary groups to solve future challenges in eight weeks. It is possible to apply to these innovation challenges locally here in Helsinki or globally in all Demola locations. These courses count as part of your degree programme.

Another similar opportunity is provided by Lahti Venture Programme. 

If you are interested in participating in different kinds of challenge competitions, you might also want to check the activities organised by Think Corner.


Feeling at home

International students who wish to make Finland their home can enjoy the wide variety of practical and social advice the University provides regarding life in Finland.


The newsletter archives compile the different newsletter series sent out to international students, which contain regular student guides to different facets of Helsinki living, from enjoying the city's offerings for nature and culture, to dealing with Finnish Winter, and much more. 


The New Students at the University of Helsinki Facebook page is a social media arm of the University's outreach that provides easily-accessible and useful information for new students in Helsinki. Following the page also lets you know of upcoming relevant events, for example from the Student Union or the Guidance Corner's Student Life 2.0 events.

Intercultural Competence

Read more about how you can develop your Intercultural Competences both at your home institution as well as overseas.