"When I found out I had been offered a scholarship, I finally knew what it feels like when your dreams come true"
Many non-EU students face significant financial barriers which limit the possibility of them studying at a university outside of their home country. Lakshika Palamakumbure was luckily one of 21 international students who were offered scholarships by the University of Helsinki in 2020.

For many, studying at a Top 1% global university is a lifelong ambition and a chance to change their life for the better. At the University of Helsinki, we are committed to being an international, multi-lingual university and since 2017 our innovative International Master’s Programmes, taught entirely in English, have allowed us to educate talented international students from all over the world. 

However, for many talented international students, this ambition is effectively financially impossible.  

This was certainly the case for one of our international students, Lakshika Palamakumbure, who came from Sri Lanka in 2020 to study our international master’s programme in Geology and Geophysics. Her story and journey to the University of Helsinki is typical of many of our international students.  

The University is competing globally with other universities for the best international students 

Thanks to its strong academic reputation, the University of Helsinki is attracting the brightest international students to study its programmes.

– Prior to coming to the University of Helsinki, I studied a bachelor’s degree in Geology at the University of Peradeniya, which is a leading university in Sri Lanka, and worked as a geologist in a national research organisation in Colombo.

– I decided to apply for a master’s programme abroad as I’m really interested in geophysics and planetary geosciences, but in Sri Lanka we don’t have study programmes in this field. I considered a lot of countries and I applied to the University of Helsinki because it has a really good reputation and Finland because it supposedly has the happiest people in the world- so I wanted to see if that was really the case!

However as Lakshika explains, many non-EU students face significant financial barriers which limit the possibility of them studying at a university outside of their home country. Therefore, whilst the brightest international students are offered study places in top universities across the world, the deciding factor in which university they choose, is usually down to whether they are offered a scholarship or not.  

– I was offered study places at universities in the United States, Germany and other European countries, however I couldn’t even consider accepting the places due to the financial cost. I needed a scholarship.

Without Scholarships and Study Grants, many international students can’t afford to study with us

– There are so many students like me, who have the academic ability to study at the university, but just can’t afford to financially. Coming from Sri Lanka, the average household income, currency exchange rate and cost of living in Finland meant that without a scholarship, it would have been impossible for me to study at the university, Lakshika continued.

However Lakshika was luckily one of 21 international students who were offered scholarships by the University of Helsinki in 2020.  

– When I found out I had been offered a scholarship by the University of Helsinki, I finally knew what it feels like when your dreams come true. My whole life has changed because of the scholarship and I hope I can now make a contribution to scientific community with my research. I’m now going to into my second year of studies at the university and I just want to say thank you to everyone who has made this opportunity possible!

Give the gift of a world-class education  

Our Global Scholarship Fund provides full tuition fee scholarships and study grants for the brightest international students from outside of the EU/EEA to study our International Master’s Programmes. 

Since 2017, thanks to the generosity of our donors and the University of Helsinki’s funds, we have been able to award scholarships and study grants to international students, who have had a significant impact on our university community. However as scholarships and study grants are limited, every year we lose many talented international students who applied to study with us, but we were unable to offer support to. 

Your donation to the Global Scholarship Fund can help turn an international student’s dream to study at the university into a reality and change their life forever. 

Join our international students, as they help to create a fairer, more prosperous tomorrow – in Finland, in their home countries, and across the world. 

Donate today. 

If you would like to learn more about how you can support our international students, our team is here to help.  

Support International Students Campaign Overall- Adam Pratchett adam.pratchett@helsinki.fi