International students: We enjoy the creative Finnish education system!

As international students, we want to share our experiences about how it feels to study in a country that is recognized world-wide for its education system. Read more about our impressions about the Finnish education and university life at Haaga-Helia and Creative Agency Krea!

Finland is a country that integrates education with its overall culture. For Finnish people, education is extremely important and its role is widely appreciated in society.

Funny intercultural surprises: eating and knitting in class to boost creativity

Finnish education is more than just great facilities and competent teachers. Courses and lectures are held in a relaxed atmosphere and students are allowed to act freely and be creative. It is not surprising to see students eating and drinking – or even knitting socks – while ideating with their teammates.

Drinking coffee during lectures is also common, and so are stretching your muscles and other activities geared to increasing your energy levels and boosting creativity. Dana, a second-year international degree student states: “During the first year I studied here, I was surprised to see one of my colleagues taking out her yogurt and starting to eat in class. I was equally surprised when the teacher continued as if nothing strange had happened. In my country, this would be considered impolite and the teacher would definitely have said something.”

Finland is a country that encourages studying at all ages. Hence, it is not entirely uncommon to see small babies accompanying their student parents in classes or at other school facilities. If there are no allergies in class, sometimes students may also bring along their dogs!


Creative Agency Krea emphasizes coaching-based autonomous learning

Finnish education system is heavily based on self-directed learning. Teachers act like coaches and supportive senior colleagues. They provide students with essential information and guide them in their learning process. It is students’ responsibility to plan and monitor their own learning process. Students own agency and responsibility are important in the Finnish education system as a whole and at Creative Agency Krea in particular.

As there is a very low hierarchy between students and teachers, students address teachers by their names and can negotiate their role in course projects. Lisa, an exchange student from Russia, says: “Teachers here are very friendly and kind, they are always ready to help. For example, if a student needs special equipment for a project, the teacher can always find it and provide it. I don’t feel stressed or nervous during the lessons, because the teacher creates a calm atmosphere where you feel always welcome.”

Non-traditional Finnish learning design

Learning sessions include short lectures, group discussions, teamwork, and individual work. During discussions, you are free to express your opinions in a relaxed way. Studying is based on an entrepreneurial approach: there is a lot of hands-on learning through working for real companies.

Thi Nghiem, an International Business degree student, shares her experience: “The opportunity to participate in practical projects is what I value the most in my studies at Haaga-Helia. In addition to theoretical lectures, we get to apply our knowledge according to the needs of a client company. This semester, I am taking a course where we organize an international event called Krea Spring School. As teams, we create the marketing plan, produce promotional materials, and design activities for the event.”


In partnership with companies, students have the opportunity to work on real company projects, gain work experience and build their professional networks. Finnish leaning design is heavily based on flexibility, out-of-classroom activities and hands-on projects. Students have excellent facilities. The Finnish education system also places emphasis on student welfare by providing financial support, healthcare services, and individualized options for everyone.

How does the Mooncats team at Creative Agency Krea feel about their education?

So, what makes Finland so appealing to foreign students like ourselves? Finnish education system is very student-friendly and the programs are flexible. The student-centred approach to individual development and welfare is highly appreciated.

Compared to our education systems at home, the class atmosphere here is more relaxed, the teacher-student relationships are less formal, and the working methods are more practical. Overall, this is what constitutes the specific charm of Finnish education.

Meet the passionate Mooncats! At Creative Agency Krea, students work in self-directed teams.
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Hidden Gems in Helsinki

As exchange students at Haaga-Helia, we we would like to share with you inspiring stories related to three hidden gems we have discovered in Helsinki. They have provided us with an original a taste of Finnish tradition and culture.

1. Adventurous Hidden Gem in Helsinki: Seurasaari Island

Seurasaari is an idyllic island in the middle of Helsinki. It is known for its historical open-air museum that opened more than 100 years ago. The atmosphere at Seurasaari is truly amazing. It has a rich variety of flora and fauna. During Midsummer, there is a huge a bonfire party on the island.

There is also a public barbecue grill that you can use for free. You can go there with your new international group of friends, have a nice stroll around the island, and spend a relaxing evening.

Seurasaari Island Helsinki Finland

2. Mysterious Hidden Gem in Helsinki: Trillby & Chadwick

Trillby & Chadwick is a bar in Helsinki that you won’t want to miss. You can recognize the place by its mysterious black doors. Just walk right in and enjoy the atmosphere of this cocktail bar with an intriguing history.

Detectives Trillby & Chadwick from London established a detective agency in Helsinki in 1924. Their job was to oversee the Finnish prohibition law and to combat the smuggling of alcoholic beverages. In the end, however, the detective agency turned into a very successful speakeasy bar!

3. Relaxing Hidden Gem in Helsinki: Löyly Sauna

Löyly is a beautifully designed public sauna in Helsinki. It is located by the seaside, so you can cool down after the sauna by diving into the ice-cold water.  If you don’t feel like going to the sauna, you can just go for a stroll by the sea.

Löyly Sauna in Helsinki


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