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Off-Campus Study

ISEP at Abo Akademi University in Finland - Vasa Campus

 

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
  • 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.

Åbo Akademi University - Vasa campus specializes in research-based teacher education, providing an ideal location for students majoring in teaching-related fields or education. The city of Vasa overlooks the unique World Natural Heritage Site of Kvarken and is an important center for Finnish-Swedish culture, as most inhabitants speak both languages well. The Vasa campus is small and friendly with easy access to service and outdoor activities, and the location and university have been very highly rated by international students over the years.

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 Abo Akademi University: Vasa Campus here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.

Program Type

Exchange

Locations

Vasa, Finland

Languages of Instruction

English/Swedish

Program Dates

Fall 2018: August to December

Spring 2018: January to May

All dates are tentative and may change.  ISEP will alert all accepted students of final dates.

Eligibility

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.

Chance of placement for US students is generally Good.

Location

Åbo Akademi University - Vasa campus is located in the city of Vasa, situated on the west coast of Finland with direct connections to Helsingfors (Helsinki) and Stockholm, Sweden. The region is one of the most innovative in Finland and an important center for Finnish-Swedish culture.

Vasa is a bilingual city - most inhabitants speak Finnish and Swedish well and use both languages in their everyday life. The city also has a lively university feel, as it is home to over 10,000 students attending its many institutions of higher education, including Vaasan Yliopisto (Vasa University), Vaasa University of Applied Sciences (VAMK), the Swedish School of Economics (Hanken) and Novia University of Applied Sciences. 

For more information on Vasa, visit the City of Vasa website at http://www.vaasa.fi/.

Academics

The Åbo Akademi University - Vasa campus specializes in educational issues. The university hosts approximately 2,000 students, most of whom major in teaching-related fields or education. Education and Developmental Psychology are particularly strong and recommended fields of study for ISEP students. 

Courses in English for education majors can be combined with literature studies and practice. Accordingly, the 5 ECTS-credit teacher training practice at the Abo Akademi University - Vasa campus is offered in English for grades 1-6 and pre-school, and also for grades 7-9. There is also an International Baccalaureate-track at the secondary school where courses are taught in English. These modules provide practice in addition to theory, helping students develop their professional skills. The training practice can be focused on subjects or areas of interest for the student, for example, music, mathematics, language training, etc. The teacher-training school is a part of the Faculty of Education. 

Courses are assessed by written essays and/or examinations at the end of the course. Examinations take place throughout the semester, as some courses only run for a few weeks. The typical course load is 4-6 classes per semester, equating to 8-12 class hours per week. The fall semester runs for approximately 16 weeks and the spring semester runs for approximately 21 weeks. 

 

PROGRAMS

The Åbo Akademi University - Vasa campus fields of study are Developmental Psychology/Conflict Resolution, Pedagogy/ Education, Social Policy, Language Studies and Optional Studies.

 

Academic Environment and Teaching Style

For the courses at the Abo Akademi University - Vasa Campus, please understand that the academic system is quite different. Classes are usually lecture-based, instead of discussion or group work. Classes are often much larger than those found at Lake Forest College. Grades are based heavily, at times almost entirely, on one end-of-term exam, though some courses will also offer a midterm.  Professors are often more formal than those in the United States.

Grading is done on a scale of satisfactory, good, or excellent, or respectively from 1-3. Alternatively, particularly in technical universities, a scale of 1-5 is sometimes used.

All courses/modules may have prerequisites.  Some departments may have limitations on numbers of courses that can be taken within or outside it.  Be aware of these limitations. Students must take 30 ECTS credits to earn 4 Lake Forest credits.

 

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

 

LANGUAGE NOTES

Language Courses: Beginner- to intermediate-level Swedish and Finnish

 

HINTS FOR RESEARCHING COURSES

A complete list of courses taught in English can be found here. Look for the section “Courses at the Vasa Campus” towards the end of the catalog. Please note that courses cannot be taken at both the Åbo and Vasa campus as they are situated far from one another.



Course Approvals

Check to see if your department has pre-approved courses here. If not, don’t worry. You can work with your advisor.

Experiential Opportunities

Courses in English for education majors can be combined with literature studies and practice. Accordingly, the 5 ECTS-credit teacher training practice at the Abo Akademi University - Vasa campus is offered in English for grades 1-6 and pre-school, and also for grades 7-9. There is also an International Baccalaureate-track at the secondary school where courses are taught in English. These modules provide practice in addition to theory, helping students develop their professional skills. The training practice can be focused on subjects or areas of interest for the student, for example, music, mathematics, language training, etc. The teacher-training school is a part of the Faculty of Education. 

Student Life

ORIENTATION

Åbo Akademi University - Vasa Campus provides an orientation week, which includes activities such as a city and campus tour, information about studies, a meeting with the Rector, personal one-on-one sessions and a dinner with tutors. Students will be met at the airport or the train station. The World Natural Heritage Site course starts in early September with lectures, excursions, and kayaking and is open to all exchange students. 

ARRIVAL DETAILS

Airport pickup is available. Please contact the ISEP Coordinator for more information on acceptance to the program.

STUDENT ACTIVITIES

International students have many opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities through the many student organizations on campus. Students may also join the student choir. The international tutors also arrange programs and outdoor activities and can help you plan to travel to nearby locales such as Lapland and Russia. There is also a staffed student union on campus (located in the two towers at the waterfront), with meeting rooms and computers.

Housing and Meals

Student housing is situated nearby, 1-2 km from campus. Students are housed in single rooms within a shared apartment with a shared kitchen and a private bathroom. Students receive a meal stipend to prepare their own meals or to purchase inexpensive meals at student cafeterias. 

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 2017/Spring 2018 semester:

Budget Item

Amount

Lake Forest College Tuition

$22,412

Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost

$5,100 

College Deposit (credit)

($250)

Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College

$27,512 

ISEP Fee due on Stage 2 Application

 

 $325

College Deposit due on Acceptance (non-refundable, but shows as credit on bill for off-campus term)

 $250

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

Note: Some countries require national insurance. Check ISEP

 $360

Additional Meals

 $500

Estimated Airfare

 $1,300

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

 $1,700

Total Out-of-Pocket Expenses

$4,435 

Total

 

$31,947 

 

Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2017.  We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

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.  

Do check your student account on My.Lakeforest for your aid awards, as much of this will go with you. If you want to compare your program to the cost of being on campus, those numbers can be found here: https://www.lakeforest.edu/admissions/tuition/fees.php

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