COVID-19 Updates and Resources. The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our top priority. Coronavirus Information

FINLAND - ISEP University of Eastern Finland - Joensuu

Finland is known for its unspoiled natural scenery, vast areas of lakes and forests, saunas and the midnight sun as well as for clean modern cities showcasing great architecture and design and a rich variety of cultural activities. A world leader in technology (think Nokia cell phones), Finland has one of the highest standards of living in the world. You couldn’t ask for more in a study abroad destination!

  • The OECD ranks Finland’s education system as #1 in the world. Its highly developed university system offers a wide range of courses in English for international and Finnish students.
  • Coordinators in Finland are especially supportive of international students and arrange for interesting orientations.
  • Upon arrival, all students have access to a Finnish Friend who can help them integrate at the university.
  • A Friendship Family Program enables students to experience the culture off-campus.


This program would be suitable for students that are ready to be abroad, but would still like some of the academic services that a U.S. college provides.  It is a good choice for someone that is a world traveler OR has never left their hometown.

Learn More about the University of Eastern Finland: Joensuu here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.

Experiences of Former Students

Finland is not the typical study abroad destination, and that is what makes it even more of a treasure to those who go! Take full advantage of all the new sports and winter activities!! A trip to the Laplands is a must! Traveling to the Baltic countries is doable and very reasonable travel destinations away from Finland. Just about the time you think you will see snow the rest of your life…spring will come and knock you off your feet! Beautiful place that will leave you with a soft spot in your heart for the land of ice…snow…and reindeer.  - Andrea Harris, Spring 2006 student from Berry College


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have junior status or higher before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75.  

Students applying to ISEP must apply for an Exchange option (in any country) as a first choice but may apply to a Direct option as a back-up. Direct options may have an additional cost (see a financial section for more information).


Joensuu, located on Lake Pyhaselka, is a North Karelian city in the heart of the eastern Finnish lake country and is the economic and cultural center of the region. Joensuu offers a variety of winter sports, including skiing, skating, and ice-swimming.


The University of Eastern Finland was established on January 1, 2010, as a result of the merger of the University of Joensuu (founded in 1969) and the University of Kuopio (founded in 1972), which were both ISEP member institutions. With its approximately 15,000 students the University of Eastern Finland is one of the largest universities in Finland.

The University of Eastern Finland - Joensuu is a renowned center for research and teaching relating to education and human development, forests and the environment, optics, new materials and information technology, and on border studies and Russia. Facilities include the Ecological Research Institute, Karelian Institute, focusing on the humanities and social sciences; the Mekrijärvi Research Station at Ilomantsi for advanced study in Hydrobiology and forestry; the Botanical Garden; and the Muikku Research Vessel, which specializes in environmental studies in inland waters. The university library features the Kalevala Collection, comprising about 600 works on the Finnish national epic. 

The typical course load is 15-30 ECTS credits per term. The fall semester runs approximately 16 weeks and the spring semester runs for approximately 17 weeks. Students need to take 30 ECTS/Finnish credits to earn 4 Lake Forest credits.


For both international and Finnish students, the university offers the following international non-degree study programs taught in English: Environmental Science and Forestry, Law, Social Sciences, Educational Sciences (courses in Finnish art, crafts, and music, in addition to a variety of courses in education), and a multidisciplinary area studies program on Karelia, Russia and the Baltic Area, which includes courses in history, geography, cultural studies, economics and other social sciences. 

Please note that students enrolled full-time in one of the above study programs may also take courses offered by the other international study programs, provided that space is available. For further information on the international study programs taught in English, please visit Joensuu campus International Study Programs.

Language Courses: Introductory to intermediate Finnish, as well as German and French 

The University has a peer tutoring system for international students. Each student is assigned a peer tutor (usually a Finnish student) who will help them get settled and adjust to life at the University.


Follow the links: Welcome to the University of Eastern Finland and Joensuu campus International Study Programs.

Please review the ISEP country handbook for more information on the education system.

Student Life


The orientation program arranged at the beginning of each semester includes lectures on the Finnish society and culture as well as on university life in Joensuu and in Finland in general. The program also includes a campus tour organized by Finnish student tutors.

The host will provide arrival directions with acceptance packet.


The University offers optional study tours (circumstances permitting), which ISEP students can participate in at an additional cost. There are three study tours, to North-West Russia, St. Petersburg, and the Baltic States. Each study tour costs approximately 300 Euros/week, in addition to the visa expenses.

Housing and Meals

ISEP students are housed in single rooms within private student dorms run by the Joensuun Elli student housing company. The housing units have cooking facilities, sauna, and Internet access. Students are provided with a monthly stipend to cover rent and the cost of meals. 

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee for a semester with the ISEP Exchange includes orientation, on-site director, college fees, housing, and the equivalent of 19/meals per week.  

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2018/Spring 2019 programs:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


ISEP Fee due on Stage 2 Application


ISEP-required health and repatriation insurance (estimated, $90/mo)

Note: Some countries require national insurance. Check ISEP


Additional Meals


Estimated Airfare

*Students placed on ISEP Exchange may be eligible for up to $750 airfare award


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)


Total Out-of-Pocket Expenses




Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of January 2018. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

  • Contact:

    For Questions About the Initial Application Process:

    Alexandra Olson
    Coordinator of the Global Engagement Office