Living in Finland
For families and spouses
Day care and school
Here you will find some essential information on Finnish school system as well as day care provided by local authority.
Children under school age (7 years) have the right to day care provided by the local authority either in a day care centre or in family daycare. Participation in pre-school teaching, which is arranged in day care centers or comprehensive schools, has been compulsory since of 2015 for children aged six.
In addition to municipal day care, there are several private day care units, also international ones. Often when moving to Finland it might be easiest to get place for your child through the private day care: you can call directly to the preferred day care unit and ask availability.
List of some international day care units are listed in "Links to the day care and schools".
NOTE! The parents are responsible for applying the placement in the day care and it may take several months to receive the place in the day care. The nearest day care cannot necessarily provide a day care placement.
All children living in Finland are entitled to attend comprehensive school. Children begin their first grade at the beginning of the autumn term in the year he/she turns seven. Each child has the right to pre-school education free of charge one year prior to commencement of their basic education. Pre-school education is provided by day care centres and some schools.
Basic education is offered in Finnish and Swedish, however, there are bilingual schools (Finnish-English), English schools as well as German, French and Russian schools in Helsinki area. Please click here for more information on Finnish school system and the web pages of respective schools.
NOTE! The parents are responsible for applying the placement both in the private school and public school early enough, as it may take several months to receive the placement.
In case you wish to place your child in to a public nearby school (education is in Finnish or Swedish) it is good to know that the schools are ofted predefined based on your address. Getting a place from the public school is applied by contacting the nearby school's principal.
Links to day care
Private day care, some examples:
- Touhula Innopoli (Espoo: Otaniemi)
- Touhula Seaside International (Espoo: Keilaniemi)
- Touhula Tikasmäki (Espoo)
- Kiddifeet (Espoo: Suurpelto)
- ICEC daycare (Espoo: Kilo, Westend. Helsinki: Töölö, Herttoniemi, Meilahti, Vuosaari)
- Laugh and Learn (Helsinki: Haaga)
- Bright Beginners (Helsinki: Arabianranta)
- The Little English Kindergarten (Helsinki:Länsi-Pasila, Kallio, Haaga)
- The Lauttasaari English Playschool (4-6 yrs) (Helsinki: Lauttasaari)
- Finnish American Kindergarten (Helsinki:Ruoholahti)
- Bumblebees Kindergarten (Helsinki: Herttoniemi, Myllypuro, Pihlajanmäki)
- Helsinki English Montessori Preschool (Helsinki: Kamppi)
European School of Helsinki (4-6yrs onwards) (Helsinki city centre: Bulevardi)
- Day care in Helsinki (hel.fi)
- Day care in Espoo (espoo.fi)
- Day care in Vantaa (vantaa.fi)
Links to schools
- The City of Helsinki: Childhood and Education (hel.fi)
- The City of Espoo education (espoo.fi)
- Hello Espoo (hello.espoo.fi)
- The English School (eschool.edu.hel.fi)
- Ressu Comprehensive School
- Maunula Primary School
- Maunula Secondary School
- The International School of Helsinki (ishelsinki.fi)
- International School of Vantaa
Below are some useful information and links related to employment in Finland.
EU/EEA citizens have a right to work in Finland. If you have been granted a residence permit on the basis of family ties you will have an unlimited right to work in Finland. However, if you have been granted a residence permit on the basis of a personal relationship, you do not have an unlimited right to work. More information from Finnish Immigration Services' website.
Generally employers value solid education, and at least basic Finnish language skills are often required.
Most of the vacancies are announced in web portals, but also in the web pages of the companies and other organisations. Networks are valuable in searching for work, as well.
Information about the Finnish labor markets, working in Finland and employment services can be obtaines from the public employment and business services-offices called "TE-offices" (te-palvelut.fi). Te-offices provides also job-search training and coaching.
Aalto University events
Aalto University organises together with Daniel Valtakari (Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland, TEK) events/seminars on CV writing and job hunting. Looking for work seminars are arranged twice a year. You will find the upcoming events in the international events calendar Socialising and recreation (aalto.fi).
Looking for work (Finland): CV, cover letter and some practical suggestions by Daniel Valtakari (2020) is a great starting point for looking for the job in Finland
Pointer Potential matches companies searching for talent with international professionals in Finland. International professionals in Finland can register their CV’s with Pointer Potential.
Work in Finland - Business Finland Extensive site on work opportunities in Finland.
Academic positions lists academic vacancies in Finland and other countries.
Infofinland.fi provide information about Finnish working culture.
Do not forget the LinkedIN and other social networking tools!
For eligibility of professional and academic qualifications granted outside Finland, please refer to the Finnish National Agency for Education.
Education and personal development
Finland offers a wide range of educational opportunities for the whole family. Your stay in Finland can provide an excellent opportunity for your professional development. You may decide either to study towards a degree or take non-degree studies of your choice.
- Kielibuusti Here you can find advice and materials on anything related to learning Finnish and Swedish
- Aalto University organizes each semester basic Finnish language courses for the staff. Also spouses may participate in the classes incase there are available seats. More info: Language and multicultural training (aalto.fi) or contact: [email protected]
- Aalto University's Open University (also language courses with a small fee)
- You can also search other available Finnish language courses in the Helsinki region through one address, http://www.finnishcourses.fi/
If you have not yet moved to Finland, or want to get an idea of the Finnish language online, you can check more information at Infofinland.fi.
Finland has a dual model of university education. Universities focus on education and research while polytechnics (universities of applied sciences) offer work-related education.
Generally admission to degree programs at universities is a competitive process and we advise you to first get acquainted with course offerings and the admission system in general. You can find information about how to apply on the webpages of each university. More information on Aalto Doctoral Programmes and the University of Helsinki doctoral programs.
SIMHE network aims to support immigrants in their studies in higher education, they provide practical help in e.g. applying to higher education institutions. In addition they provide assistance in the process of recognition of prior learning.
The Scout programme Partio
The Activity Search is a service maintained by the City of Helsinki, which provides information on activities available for young people in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.
HEI LIFE Spouse Network hopes to bring together the spouses of international employees in higher education institutions - Aalto included - in the greater Helsinki area for collaboration, peer support and networking. Everyone belonging to the focus group is most warmly welcome to join the network!
Network will arrange events, provide peer-support and collaboration possibilities for the spouses. In addition you most definitely will meet new people and perhaps gain life-long friendships!
Services for spouses (City of Espoo)The services gathered on this page will support you in building your social and professional lives in the Capital Region
The Career Club Espoo provides a space where Espoo Talents can work on their career development. The Career Club focuses on gaining skills, knowledge and networks, and strongly supports our Talents' agency and self-determination. The Career Club was launched in the Autumn 2021 by the City of Espoo.
The Spouse Program (capital area) is a service provided by the city of Helsinki. Are you an international spouse living in Helsinki, Espoo or Vantaa, and are you looking for support to rebuild your social and professional network? Join the Spouse Program with a supportive community to find new friends and career related guidance. We understand that relocating to a new country is exciting but that it also comes with a few challenges.
The Shortcut is an impact-driven non-profit organization dedicated to career transformation. We bridge the gap between job seekers and companies in Finland by providing in-demand training and fostering a growth mindset in the community, where educated individuals can upskill and build a meaningful career.
Helsinki region has a vivid cultural scene and an active event calendar. Numerous festivals feature Finnish and international talent throughout the year.
Nature is always nearby in Helsinki region. Bicycling, walking and skiing paths are extensive and allow easy access throughout the city.
At Aalto, Aalto Club and Experiencing Finland events are a great way to meet new people and have fun, while getting familiar with Finnish culture. Family members are warmly welcome to most events.
For further information on upcoming events, museums, galleries, theatres as well as outdoor activities and sports facilities etc. please visit the web sites of Helsinki, (visithelsinki.fi) Espoo (visitespoo.fi) or Vantaa (visitvantaa.fi)
Helsinki region library (helmet.fi)
National parks (nationalparks.fi)
Cycling journey planner Tip! To see the cycling routes in the Journey Planner, first select the origin and destination and then select Settings, My modes of transport, Bike. (hsl.fi)
Arkadia International Bookstore (arkadiabookshop.fi)
Uniarts Helsinki events (uniarts.fi)
Korjaamo, culture hub (korjaamo.fi)
Teurastamo, culture hub (teurastamo.com)
Kaapelitehdas, culture hub (kaapelitehdas.fi)
Cirko, centre for new circus (circo.fi)
Having social networks helps you feel at home! Aalto University organises many events and other possibilities for international staff and their families to meet and mingle and thus hopefully settle in smoothly. Some examples are Experiencing Finland and Aalto Club events. In addition, we have collected tips and links for you to find the most suitable information.
For longer term accommodation in Helsinki region the best options are either renting or purchasing an apartment or a house. In case you are planning to purchase an apartment we recommend you to contact your bank and/or estate agencies to gain professional assistance and advice. Here you'll find information on renting an apartment, rental rates, and how to find an apartment.
HEI LIFE Spouse Network hopes to bring together spouses of employees in higher education institutions in the greater Helsinki area for collaboration, peer support and networking. Everyone belonging to the focus group is most warmly welcome to join the network!