Finland especially attractive to European exchange students

National statistics compiled by CIMO show that student mobility in Finnish higher education is still very Eurocentric, but the significance of new growth areas of the world economy is increasing.

The statistics show that more than 16,000 students headed abroad from Finnish institutions of vocational education and training and from higher education, while almost 12,000 exchange students made their way to Finland. Of the outgoing students, 10,000 were in higher education and the rest in vocational education and training. Of the incoming students, more than 9,000 were students of higher education and more than 2,000 were doing vocational qualifications.

As a rule, incoming higher education students spend their exchange period in a Finnish university or in a university of applied sciences, while almost 60% of those doing vocational qualifications came to Finland for on-the-job learning.

A student exchange in Finland appears particularly interesting to European students: 96% of those doing vocational qualifications and 82% of the higher education students come from Europe. Students of vocational education and training tend to come from Central Europe in particular, but increasingly also from Russia. There are more Eastern European students of higher education coming to Finland than Finnish students going to Eastern Europe.

About 40% of the mobility in vocational education and training is funded by the Leonardo da Vinci programme of the European Union. Of the incoming higher education students in Finland, 73% are funded through the EU’s Erasmus programme, which was established 25 years ago in 1987. Finland has been an Erasmus member country for 20 years. During these past decades, Finland has received more than 70,000 Erasmus students and sent 55,000 students abroad.

China and Russia are important partners in student mobility

Russia has won increasing favour as a partner country in vocational education and training. Annual student mobility is almost 200 students in both directions. Teacher and staff mobility is where Finnish vocational education and training collaborates most actively with Russian institutions: about 300 staff members took part in various exchanges between the two countries. Finnish vocational education and training also attracted more than 120 Chinese teachers to Finland.

Higher education institutions have similarly increased their co-operation with Russia. Almost 500 Russian exchange students came to Finland in 2011. While the numbers are not as high among Finnish students heading to Russia, interest is growing: almost 300 students made their way to Finland’s eastern neighbour. Finns are also increasingly interested in Asian countries, for the numbers have trebled since the early years of the 2000s. For example, over 400 Finnish students headed to China in 2011, and more than 300 Chinese exchange students came to Finland.

(TL / September 2012)