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FINLAND - ISEP University of Oulu

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 Oulu here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.


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).


The pleasant and modern city of Oulu is situated on the western coast of northern Finland, about 125 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Oulu is the leading educational, commercial, industrial and administrative center in northern Finland. Oulu has a rich cultural life and provides many opportunities for leisure activities including music festivals, concerts, art festivals, sports events, theatre performances, and a unique music video festival each summer. Oulu has excellent travel connections by bus, train, and plane with the rest of the country and the world.


The University of Oulu was founded in 1958 and has since grown rapidly, establishing itself as one of the leading universities in Finland. The University prides itself on high-quality teaching and learning, as well as pioneering and innovative research. Total enrollment is more than 16,600 students, of which close to 800 are international students. 

Among the regular programs, of particular interest to ISEP participants is the degree program in Indigenous Studies that is available in Finland only at the University of Oulu. Programs in French, German and Swedish are available to students with some prior education in these languages. Tutoring, independent study and book examinations can be arranged in most fields when no classes are offered in English. 

The typical course load is 4-5 courses, for a total of 30 ECTS, per semester. A semester is 14-16 weeks long.  Students must take 30 ECTS/Finnish credits to earn 4 Lake Forest credits.


Programs conducted entirely in English include multidisciplinary Scandinavian Studies and Northern Cultures and Societies with many excursions to Lapland and other parts of Finland as well as Sweden; Northern Nature and Environment; American Studies; Modern Nordic Architecture; and Nordic Design. Courses in Northern Women’s Studies, Early Childhood Education, Geography, Marketing, Business, and Software Studies and Telecommunications are also offered in English. 

Oulu also offers courses taught in English during the Animal and Plant Ecology Summer Program at the university’s research stations in northern Finland. Through the program, students learn about the ecology and classification of plants and animals in the Nordic countryside and wilderness.

Survival Finnish course as part of the Scandinavian Studies Program is included in ISEP benefits. 

 Course Catalog

ISEP Finland

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

Student Life

The university occupies modern, spacious premises and is equipped with the latest computer and data processing facilities for the use of staff and students alike. The main campus was designed to accommodate a northern climate and features colorful and comfortable interior spaces with greenhouse plantings and sunrooms. The university’s Botanical Gardens (called Romeo and Juliet), zoo, Natural History Museum, and Museum of Geology are located on the main campus. There is a well-equipped sports complex. 

The university has two campuses: the main campus, Linnanmaa, is located about three miles north of the city center; and the faculty of medicine is just over a mile from the city center. Excellent public transportation in the city facilitates easy access to the campus.


There will be a two day orientation period at the beginning of each semester (September and January) for all new exchange students. Orientation gives information, for example, on the Finnish higher education system and student life. The ISEP Coordinator, as well as departmental coordinators, are available for individual counseling to assist in planning the ISEP student’s curriculum.

The host will provide arrival directions with acceptance packet.


As part of the University of Oulu student union, ESN Oulu welcomes all students, Finns and international, to participate not only in the events but in their planning as well. All exchange students can also participate in the Kummi Family Programme, which gives a chance to experience Finnish family life as it is.

Housing and Meals

ISEP students are housed in furnished, single-occupancy rooms with shared kitchen and laundry facilities in residence halls. Student housing is on the main campus. ISEP students receive a monthly meal stipend that can be used to prepare or purchase meals. A sports hall, jogging and cross-country skiing trails and great bicycle paths are within easy reach of the residences. 

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