Skip to content

Upper secondary education in different languages


Are you a teenager or a young adult who has just moved to Helsinki from abroad, or are you planning to move to Helsinki soon? Are you looking for a place to study? Learn more about the options in upper secondary education in different languages and find the best option for you!

Most of the options introduced below are for students aged 15 to 19, but especially in vocational education there are alternatives for adult learners, too.

What is upper secondary education?

Upper secondary education means the education after basic education, and it is compulsory in Finland. It means that after comprehensive school, you have to find a place to study in upper secondary education.

Upper secondary education is divided into two study tracks; general upper secondary school and vocational education and training. Whichever one is your choice, studies in upper secondary education usually start in the year you turn 16, and it usually takes about three years to graduate.

Majority of options in Finnish or Swedish

At the moment, most of the study options are offered in Finnish or Swedish. Before applying to the study programmes, you should have good skills in Finnish or Swedish.

If you wish to learn Finnish, do this:

If you wish to learn Swedish, do this:

Options in English

In addition to Finnish and Swedish-language options, there are some upper secondary education options available in different languages in the capital region. You should note that bilingual study programmes usually require good skills in both languages. Find more information about the options on the schools’ and educational institutions’ websites and by contacting the educational institutions directly.

English-language options run by the City of Helsinki

English-language options in other cities and private schools

Helsinki

Espoo

  • Etelä-Tapiolan lukio, IB World School (general upper secondary school run by the City of Espoo): International Baccalaureate programme, entirely in English
  • Mattlidens gymnasium, IB World School (general upper secondary school run by the City of Espoo): International Baccalaureate programme, entirely in English
  • Omnia (vocational college in Espoo): Bilingual Finnish-English options in various vocational study fields and education for immigrant youth

Vantaa

  • Tikkurilan lukio, IB World School (general upper secondary school run by the City of Vantaa): International Baccalaureate programme, entirely in English
  • Varia (vocational college in Vantaa): Bilingual Finnish-English options in various vocational study fields

Options in other languages

How to apply

If you are about to finish your basic education soon, you will most likely apply via the national Joint application system. Your teachers and guidance counsellors at school can help you and give you advice.

If you have already finished your basic education and need a study place, get in touch with a school you are interested in and ask for opportunities to apply. Alternatively, get in touch with Ohjaamo Helsinki, the one-stop guidance centre where you can get help in education-related questions.

Compulsory education age was extended in Finland

In 2021, a reform came into force in Finland that extended the compulsory school age. With the reform, compulsory education will continue until you reach the age of 18 or if you complete a secondary education degree before that.

The reform applies for the first time to pupils who have completed their basic education in spring 2021, which means mainly young people born in 2005.

You can complete compulsory education in

  • general upper secondary education (‘lukio’ in Finnish)
  • vocational education and training
  • various forms of preparatory education towards a qualification
  • adult education centres’ training for compulsory education
  • in certain cases, in basic education for adults or education for immigrants organised by adult education centres

If you have completed basic education or an equivalent foreign education in the spring 2021, the new compulsory education age applies to you. Get in touch with Ohjaamo for help and guidance in finding a study place.

If you have completed basic education before spring 2021, the new compulsory education age does not apply to you. You can find yourself a suitable place to study. Ohjaamo, the one-stop guidance centre can also help you, if necessary.

Learn more: Extension of compulsory education



13.01.2022 13:53