When the corona situation spiraled in the beginning of March, everyone’s habits needed to be adapted. Emergency state was declared in Finland on the 17th of March which continued for two months. Life after lockdown has moved forward slowly but steadily and Finland welcomes international students in all circumstances.
Finland is a society that is built on the Nordic welfare state model. We have a comprehensive social security and a wide range of different public services. The system provides high-level universal healthcare services through a lifetime.
Finland ranks among the best in equality, wellbeing and education. The wellbeing of the population is a top priority. This is why Finland has made major decisions to control the spread of the pandemic and ensure the safety of people.
Slowly but surely getting back to normal
Most EU countries have started to reopen tourism and countries are step by step returning to the pre-crisis way of life. Right now, people coming and arriving to Finland from Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia don’t need to follow the two week quarantine.
Restrictions regarding restaurants will be fully lifted on the 13th of July according to the Finnish government. Starting from July 1st, indoor and outdoor events with more than 500 people are also allowed. Finnish primary and lower secondary schools reopened on the 14th of May and universities are soon releasing their guidelines regarding autumn semesters. Public places such as theaters and museums are open.
Effects on higher education
A big concern under this situation was to guarantee the safety of students and staff in higher education. That’s why, as soon as the lockdown was declared, universities in Finland moved all their teaching and classes online. Universities have organized flexible learning arrangements and virtual learning environments.
Online studying was present in Finnish universities before the crisis so moving all classes online hasn’t been a big setback to the higher education system. Everyone has their own way of learning but generally, studying in Finland is very independent. For this reason, Finnish universities are aware of which methods work and which don’t.
According to the feedback received from our students, they have felt fairly safe and studies have continued efficiently. Luckily due to fast and brave decisions, the COVID-19 situation has been less drastic in Finland compared to many other European countries.
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Big decisions are soon made
It is now up to the universities to decide whether they are continuing online in the autumn semester or if the campus will open for contact teaching. Many universities are making decisions in August and are actively following the situation and listening to the health authorities.
Universities are optimistic about the corona situation hoping that schools will be allowed to start their semesters normally on site. Finnish embassies have slowly started to open up for residence permit appointments and we are positive that the processes will be heading to the right direction.
Optimistic about the future
Especially March and April were tough months for Finland. It was a wakeup call that even us here in Finland are vulnerable to conflicts and crises. Right now, the coronavirus is nearly defeated and people are enjoying summer and life normally. We are optimistic about the following months and Finland welcomes international students in all circumstances.
This article was written by our communications intern Sofia!