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FINLAND - ISEP University of Turku

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.
  • Several Finnish institutions provide study tours to neighboring Scandinavia, the Baltic countries, and Russia.
  • Support for students who wish to pursue internships is offered at most sites.
  • 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 Turku here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.

Experiences of Former Students


“Finland is the diamond in the rough of Europe. It would be hard to find a safer, more friendly and serene place to study. Nature is a huge part of the cultural identity, so there are plenty of outdoor activities and the cities have plenty to do while remaining small and safe.” ISEP student from Marshall University

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).

Turku is the oldest city in Finland. Since its foundation in the late 13th Century, Turku has been Finland’s main gateway to the West, and the city also acts as a link between western (Stockholm) and eastern (St. Petersburg) cultural influences. It is located on the Southwest coast of Finland at the mouth of the River Aura, where it has maintained contacts with Scandinavia and continental Europe since the medieval times. 

Turku has over 180,000 inhabitants, and it is officially a bilingual city (Finnish and Swedish). The Swedish name for the city is Åbo. The Finnish name Turku refers to a marketplace and the Swedish name Åbo to a dwelling by the river. The city is located 160 kilometers west of Helsinki, the capital. The city center is concentrated around the Market Square and the River Aura. In Turku, everything is easily within reach. The city layout is simple, efficient and easily accessible by bus, bike or on foot. Turku offers excellent travel connections to the rest of the country as well as abroad.


The University of Turku is an international university, where academic education is based on high quality and often multidisciplinary research. The University of Turku, established in 1920, has 7 faculties and 11 independent units. There are over 20,000 students and 3,300 staff members. University offers more than 300 courses in English. Exchange students are able to combine courses from different faculties. Each exchange student will have a personal tutor helping with practical matters. There are marvelous opportunity to study Finnish/Swedish/English and also other languages. The University of Turku is located next to the historical center of the city, only a short walk from the heart of the city. 

The university’s special research units include the Archipelago Research Institute and the Sub-arctic Research Institute, both situated in appropriate and scenic locations. 

Students will notice more freedom at Finnish universities and are therefore responsible for their own progress within their studies. Courses are assessed by written essays and/or exams at the end of each course. Since some courses run only for a few weeks, there are exams throughout the term. The typical student takes 4-6 courses per term, with each semester running approximately 18 weeks long. Students need to complete 30 Finnish credits to earn 4 Lake Forest credits.


Programs taught in English include Baltic Sea Region Studies, Finnish-Nordic Society and Culture, European Studies, and Turku Law School and Business and Management. Some courses in Mathematics and Natural Sciences, e.g. computer science, environmental science, development studies, molecular biology, and biotechnology are also available in English. 

Language Courses: Beginner- to advanced-level Finnish

ISEP students can take courses offered by various faculties. However, courses within the Faculty of Medicine and the Turku School of Economics are not available to students registered into other faculties. 


Programs and Courses for Exchange Students.

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

Student Life


The University of Turku has a student tutor system for incoming exchange students. Those who have notified the International Office of the time and place of arrival in Turku will be met by a tutor at the indicated time and place of arrival if agreed with the tutor. The orientation program covers registration, the system of study, introduction to computers and library resources, tours of the university area and town, welcome receptions, Finnish history and society, health care, student union, student life, registration for language courses, academic advising sessions, etc. Please see the Preparing for Exchange Period page for details and program. 

The host will provide arrival directions with acceptance packet. 


The Student Union functions as an umbrella organization for many student clubs, most of which are faculty- or subject-specific organizations. One of the best ways of meeting Finnish students and getting involved in student life in Finland is joining your department’s organization and taking part in their activities. One of the TYY sub-organizations is ESN Uni Turku, a section of the Erasmus Student Network, which organizes cultural happenings, sports activities, excursions, parties and other events that are mainly aimed at exchange students but are open to all students. For more information, please click here.

Housing and Meals

ISEP students live in single rooms within shared apartments. There are several options for housing. Please see the Exchange Student housing page for more information. All rooms have bathrooms and access to kitchen and laundry facilities. Students are provided with a monthly meal stipend. Married and family housing is available. 

Please note: the student has to apply for residence permit well in advance at the consulate of Finland. 

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