Spend a year or semester near “Santa’s hometown” (Rovaniemi, Finland) and immerse yourself in the daily life of one of Europe’s most magical countries. The Finns tend to be very well-educated—they’re avid readers of both newspapers and library books—making this a rewarding place for a unique high school experience. Get an inside look at a country that celebrates summers of seemingly endless sun and finds light in the near total darkness of winter. By living with a local host family, you’ll be able to learn the language, take part in the customs, and taste the food that makes Finnish culture unique.
Participants must be between the ages of 15,8 – 18,8 years old on the day of departure.
The AFS Program
After your host parents greet you with traditional hospitality, it shouldn’t be long before you feel at home in their open, friendly community. By going to a local high school, you’ll be totally immersed in a new language and customs, and what you learn during the day will be reinforced at night when you spend time with your host family. This is your chance to break out of your comfort zone and join in this diverse and ever-evolving culture.
Your high school
The education system in Finland is composed of comprehensive schools, upper secondary schools, vocational and professional education institutions and universities.
Compulsory education consists of a nine-year comprehensive school starting at the age of seven. It is free of charge for the pupil. After completing comprehensive school, students are free to continue their studies in upper secondary school, in vocational institute or in commercial college. Some of the pupils enter working life after completing comprehensive school.
Upper secondary school is academically oriented and about 50% of the age group attends it. Most upper secondary schools are run by the municipality and only a few by the state or privately. A national matriculation examination (a nationwide student exam) taken after the three years of upper secondary school is usually required for entry into a university.
The school year
School work begins in mid-August and ends in the beginning of June at the latest. In addition to a summer vacation (from June till mid-August), students have Christmas, winter sports (a week in February or in March) and Easter vacation (a week in March/April). There is no school on Saturdays.
“Life-changing” is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad.
“Transformed” is another one. When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning.
- Airport Pick-up
- Host Family Placement
- School Placement
- Individual Contact Person
- Medical Insurance
- 24/7 Emergency Support
- School Transport
- Assistance with Application Process
- Visa Application Assistance
- Pre-Departure Orientation
- Orientations during your time abroad
- Re-entry Orientation
- Global Competence Certificate
- School Materials
- Access to Alumni Network
- Continuous Support
- Worldwide Presence
- 70 Years Experience
- Visa and Passport Fees
- School Uniform