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Before the exchange

Students who have been accepted for exchange studies, what to do now?

Once you have been accepted as an exchange student with us there are a few things that you should prepare and organize before your arrival to Finland.

  1. Arrival to Finland
    • Due to the current circumstances with the corona virus, please make sure that you are aware of any possible restrictions before you travel to Finland. Please check the following information we have gathered on the corona virus situation and restrictions in Finland and at Åbo Akademi University. Coronavirus – Information for incoming exchange students
  2. Apply for housing in either Åbo or Vasa. For more information please check the following website. Housing and Living
  3. Organize a travel insurance for your travels to Finland
  4. Check if you need to buy extra health insurance before your travels to Finland (information below)
  5. Join our incoming exchange student Facebook groups. You should receive the links to the Facebook groups along with your acceptance letter
  6. Check immigration rules to see if you need to apply for a student residence permit (only for students coming from outside the EU/EEA – The UK is now classed as outside the EU/EEA). You should have received information in your acceptance letter, you can also check here – Migri 
  7. Wait for your tutor to contact you (if you have selected that you would like a student tutor)

What health insurance do I need?

All international students arriving and staying in Finland need to make sure that they have health insurance for the entire stay in Finland, as well as travel to and from Finland.

EU/EEA Citizens

If you are a citizen of an EU or an EEA country, your European Health Insurance Card is valid in Finland. You must bring this card with you to Finland.

Important – the European Health Insurance Card:

  • is not an alternative to travel insurance. It does not cover any private healthcare or costs such as a return flight to your home country or lost/stolen property,
  • does not cover your costs if you are travelling for the express purpose of obtaining medical treatment,
  • does not guarantee free services. As each country’s healthcare system is different services that cost nothing at home might not be free in another country. Health care in Finland still costs a small amount so please be aware of this and prepared to pay the fee if you visit the health centre.

As a European citizen, we still highly recommend that you take health insurance for your stay in Finland if you want to. For a list of recommended health insurance providers, please visit the Migri website.

Non EU/EEA Citizens

If you are not a citizen of an EU country, or Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland, or Switzerland, you are required to have health insurance for your entire stay in Finland. This is also a requirement of the residence permit application for Finland.

What kind of insurance do I need?

All insurance must meet the following requirements:

  • The insurance excess may not be more than EUR 300.
  • If your studies take less than two years, your insurance must cover medical expenses up to EUR 120,000.
  • If you stay in Finland for less than a year, your insurance must be valid throughout your entire stay in Finland.
  • If your studies in Finland take longer than a year, your insurance must be valid without a break for at least one year. There cannot be any restrictions on the validity of your insurance. It must be valid throughout your entire stay in Finland. This means that the insurance cannot be a regular travel insurance that is only valid during trips that last a maximum of 90 days.
    • If you get a residence permit for two years but your insurance is only valid for a year, remember to renew your insurance.
  • Your insurance must be valid when you arrive in Finland.

For more information about health insurance in Finland for residence permit and a list of recommended insurance providers, please visit the Migri website. 

(N.B. students doing lab work needs to have an accident/liability insurance as well as the travel insurance!)

For information on what to do if you get sick during your exchange please visit this website page: During the exchange

How to arrive in Åbo/Turku

Please see the pages of the Tourist Information

How to arrive in Vasa/Vaasa

Please see the pages of the Tourist Information

Arrival to Finland

If you have consented to have your e-mail released to a student tutor, your tutor will contact you 3-4 weeks before the arrival day.

If you want your tutor to meet you when you arrive in Åbo or Vasa, you must inform the tutor of your arrival date, as well as the exact time and place of arrival. The tutor can, if s/he has been informed in a timely manner, collect the key to your apartment, before your arrival, provided that the key is available. Please note that keys are normally released on the first working day of a month.

Please observe when planning your trip that the orientation course is compulsory for all exchange students.

Cost of living

Exchange students do not have to pay any tuition fees at Åbo Akademi University. However, students have to pay for their accommodation and living expenses. There are also some initial expenses at the beginning of the stay that students should be prepared for: e.g. the Student Union membership fee, key deposit fee, a fee for the student card, and a starting package fee which will be partially refunded.

Before leaving the home country the student should make sure that he/she has enough funds for the stay through grants, scholarships or private funds. The university does not offer any financial aid to international students and students should not rely on finding a job while in Finland.

Example of a student’s monthly living expenses:
Student Housing
Please note, that private housing options are more expensive.
285-430 Euros
Food 250-300 Euros
Local transportation 35 Euros
Miscellaneous 100-200 Euros
Total 670-965 Euros


Updated 19.8.2021