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Half of foreign students aim to stay in Finland – but many want better job support

One-quarter of students said they plan to stay in Finland for at least two years after graduation.

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Only about a quarter of international students say they intend to remain in Finland for more than two years. Image: AOP

Foreign students in Finland from outside the EU are more likely to want to stay in the country, according to an international study co-published by the National Agency for Education on Tuesday.

A survey of international students in their final year of studies found that half of them plan to remain in Finland after graduation, with a quarter planning to stay for two years or more. One fifth said they were unsure whether they would stay.

Those most interested in staying for longer periods of time are students in business and technical fields, suggests the International Student Barometer (ISB).

One in seven respondents said they intend to pursue post-graduate studies at the same institutions.

Concern over brain drain

The agency’s director, former education minister Olli-Pekka Heinonen, says that the results are "encouraging in terms of Finland’s intellectual capital". At the same time, he expressed concern that student satisfaction was lowest on employment-related issues.

Nearly half of respondents said they were dissatisfied with support provided by their institutions related to work and career opportunities.

“If jobs and highly-educated foreigners who are already familiar with Finland do not match up, we will lose know-how to other places in the world,” Heinonen warned.

Altogether students in 17 countries were questioned last autumn for the ISB. In Finland, 6,650 foreign students at 15 institutions of higher learning took part.

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