Internationalization and Finnish higher education
A critical perspective
Avainsanat:Finland, Finnish higher education institutions, internationalization, strategy, international students, challenges
Finland is among those developed countries in the world that have internationalized their higher education institutions in order to attract international degree students and scholars from other countries. Many international degree students choose to study in Finland because of the tuition-free education, equal study opportunities, and a wide variety of study programmes offered in English. However, Finnish higher education institutions (HEIs) face certain challenges due to internationalization. For instance, there is an urgent need to explore the employment opportunities of international graduates in Finland due to the aging Finnish population. While Finnish higher education internationalization has focused overwhelmingly on international programmes taught in English, languages are seldom mentioned as a motivation for international programmes. Furthermore, the internationalization of Finnish HEIs is challenged by the introduction of tuition fees for students coming from outside of the European Union (EU). In conclusion, although the strategy for the internationalization of Finnish HEIs has been implemented, and while the aim of the internationalization is both to attract international students and to internationalize the Finnish ones, the international students’ employability has been neglected, as many of those who choose to stay in Finland after graduation – because of family ties, for example – face difficulties finding a job. The issue of language has not also been given proper attention in the internationalization process.