Higher education advice for immigrants

Under the Supporting Immigrants in Higher Education in Finland (SIMHE) scheme, the University of Helsinki guides and advises highly educated immigrants interested in studying at Finnish higher education institutions or exploring their own career paths.

If you have previously studied at a higher education institution, we can advise you on continuing or supplementing your studies. If you need help with career planning, we can support you in finding your own career path. We also organise events on these topics.
Contact us!

Our guidance and counselling staff are happy to help you. Please read the answers to frequently asked questions or email us at simhe@helsinki.fi.

When contacting us, please describe at least the following:

  • Your plans and questions, if any
  • Your previous studies (what you have studied and whether you have graduated)
  • Your language skills, particularly in English, Finnish and Swedish
  • What you wish to study and how extensively (from individual courses to a full degree)
  • Whether you have received a decision on the eligibility of your degree (if so, please attach it to your message)
  • Your work experience and career ambitions, if any
Welcome to Guidance Corner

Are you planning studies in Finland or trying to find your own career path? Come and talk to the SIMHE guidance staff. No appointment is required.

In the 2023 autumn term, you can find the SIMHE staff at the Kaisa House Guidance Corner (address: Fabianinkatu 30), located by the building’s main entrance, from 13.00 to 15.00 on the following dates:

  • 24.10.2023 
  • 9.11.2023 
  • 14.12.2023

You should check this website in advance to ensure that the schedule has not changed. No appointment is necessary; it is first come, first served. If our service is congested, please understand that we may not be able to serve all visitors.

SIMHE education guidance

You can book a personal appointment for education advice. We will consider together what training or continuing education would be the best option for you. The guidance is provided online via Zoom. Information on using Zoom will be sent to you via email together with your appointment’s booking confirmation.

Before the discussion, please consider the following questions:

  • What have you studied before? What skills do you have?
  • Are you interested in supplementing your previous studies, for example, by completing individual courses or a new degree?
  • Are you interested in studying a whole new field?

Book an appointment: simhe@helsinki.fi.

The discussion will last up to an hour. If necessary, a further meeting will be arranged.

SIMHE career counselling

You can book an appointment for personal career counselling if you need support for job hunting or career planning.

Before the session, please consider the following questions:

  • What have you studied before? Where have you worked?
  • What knowledge and skills do you have?
  • What do you want to do for a living, and what interests you?

Book an appointment through the Vihta system. You can find available slots in the booking calendar. From the categories select SIMHE career counselling. You can meet our career counsellors at the City Centre Campus or on Zoom.

Each counselling session lasts one hour, and you will be asked to provide some information on your situation in advance.

Events and lectures

The SIMHE guidance and counselling staff organise lectures and events on current education and career planning issues. These activities are free of charge and open to all highly educated immigrants. They are organised at the City Centre Campus and online. Many activities require registration. We look forward to seeing you!

Frequently asked questions

The service is intended for immigrants who are interested in studying at a Finnish higher education institution or who require career counselling. You will be informed about how to apply to a Finnish higher education institution. If you have previously studied at a higher education institution, we can advise you on how to continue your studies.

If you wish to practise a profession that requires a specific degree in Finland (e.g., teaching, medicine, psychology or nursing), you must apply to the Finnish National Agency for Education or the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health Valvira for the recognition of your degree or qualification.

Decisions on the recognition of teacher qualifications are made by the Finnish National Agency for Education; see further information on the Finnish National Agency for Education website.

Decisions on the recognition of healthcare qualifications are made by Valvira; see further information on the Valvira website.

You can contact the SIMHE service after receiving a decision from the Finnish National Agency for Education or Valvira. We will then help you apply for additional studies.

Information on all professions requiring the recognition of degrees and qualifications can be found here: Finnish National Agency for Education – Decisions on eligibility for a profession.

You need not apply for the recognition of your degree or qualification if your profession is not on the above list. If you need guidance and support for career planning or job hunting, you can contact the SIMHE career counsellors.

If applying for higher education in Finnish or Swedish, your language skills must be at level B2 or higher in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Language requirements may vary by programme.

If applying for admission, please read the detailed University of Helsinki instructions on how to demonstrate your language skills (available only in Finnish). Please note that each higher education institution uses its own methods for demonstrating these skills.

You can study Finnish at various institutions, such as the University of Helsinki Open University. See information on the Open University’s Finnish studies: Finnish for foreigners.

If you are unable to submit all the required enclosures with your application, or if the enclosures do not meet the country-specific requirements, please send an email to simhe@helsinki.fi, stating your application number and the fact that you are unable to submit all the required enclosures. We will contact you, and you will receive an email with instructions for proving your refugee status. Read more here: Applicants with refugee status.

You can study most fields at the Open University without pursuing a degree. At the Open University, you can study a field that interests you for your own enjoyment, learn new things, or improve your language and other skills. Studies at the Open University are usually subject to a fee. Read more about the Open University: Open University studies.

Non-degree studies

Most faculties can grant applicants the right to complete non-degree studies. This right is limited to the field and module for which it was granted. The studies are usually subject to a fee and do not lead to degrees.

Read more about non-degree studies: Instructions for Students – Non-degree studies.

The right to complete non-degree studies can be granted only for studies not offered by the Open University.

SIMHE – Sup­port­ing Im­mig­rants in Higher Education

The University of Helsinki is part of the Supporting Immigrants in Higher Education (SIMHE) network that supports immigrant education paths and integration.

The other higher education networks involved in the network are the University of Jyväskylä, the Karelia University of Applied Sciences, the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, the Oulu University of Applied Sciences, the Savonia University of Applied Sciences, Tampere Universities, the University of Turku, the University of Vaasa and the Arcada University of Applied Sciences.

The goal of SIMHE activities is to guide and advise immigrants about higher education and employment in Finland, and provide them with career counselling. The purpose is to accelerate the integration of immigrants and help them find employment to match their education. SIMHE activities are coordinated by the Finnish National Agency for Education.

Follow SIMHE activities in Facebook! The SIMHE Group provides information on nationwide services for highly educated immigrants living in Finland, such as training, events and official decisions (laws, regulations, language proficiency requirements).