Welcoming Guide

Information package, student tutor, tutoring teacher

Karelia's International Office will send a letter of acceptance and an information package to those who have been accepted as exchange students.

The student tutor (buddy) will guide you during the first days to the Campus, Orientation Programme, accommodation, groceries, banks, etc. You can ask them for help if needed.

Health documents 

You will receive information and an inquiry on health matters by email. We kindly remind you to return the needed documents in time. 

Arrival formalities in Finland

In general, a foreign citizen must carry a valid passport in order to enter Finland. Since the Schengen Agreement (March 2001) has been applied in Finland, the checks at the common borders (including flights from Schengen countries) have been abolished.

Nevertheless, also the citizens of Schengen countries must have a passport or an internationally recognised official identity card during their stay in Finland. We sincerely recommend those coming from Schengen countries to bring a passport with you. It is necessary in case you wish to travel outside the EU from Finland, for example on study tours to Russia.

More information Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland


Visa and residence permit

Non-EU citizens: Instructions are included to the invitation email for students who come outside of Europe.

Once you have received the Letter of Acceptance from Karelia University of Applied Sciences together with relevant information, please contact the nearest Embassy/Consulate of Finland in order to find out if a visa or residence permit is required.

More information and details of the rules and regulations are available from the Embassy of Finland of home country and on the Finnish Immigration Service webpages at www.migri.fi  

Please note that tourist visas cannot be extended in Finland.



Student Housing Company Joensuun Elli
Merimiehenkatu 30
Tel. +358 13 223 300
Fax +358 13 223 301
E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Accommodation in Joensuu for both international and Finnish students is offered by Joensuun Elli, an independent Student Housing Company. Joensuun Elli has several student flats located in different parts of Joensuu (please see the map at www.joensuunelli.fi). Most students live in a shared flat where they have a private room and they share kitchen, bathroom and toilet with 1-4 other students. Exchange students are usually accommodated in a furnished room with a bed and a mattress, a desk, a chair and a wardrobe. There are no curtains, rugs, linen, dishes, cutlery, etc. in the flats. The "Survival Kit"can be rented from the Student Union POKA. The Survival Kit includes some necessities to ease you in daily household routines during your stay here. Or, there are quite many flea markets in Joensuu as well.

Rent for a room in a shared flat is about 180-280 euros/month. Rent includes electricity, heating and water.

There is a free laundry room and a public sauna in every housing unit. Private sauna turn or parking space for a car can be reserved for an extra fee.

How to apply for accommodation

You can apply for an accommodation via internet (www.joensuunelli.fi) by clicking on the Application form. Fill in the application carefully and read instructions which you get by email from International Office . 

Study and living expenses

Students of  Karelia University of Applied Sciences are not required to pay tuition fees. Students are required to pay only for the optional study tours and study materials (handouts, books, printed materials, practical work manuals, copies, etc.).

Students who are enrolled in an institution of higher education are entitled to several student benefits by presenting their student card. Please note that an ISIC card (International Student Card) does not entitle you to all of the student benefits in Finland.

The average cost for a single student would be about 700-800 euros per month. Living expenses are relatively high in Finland, though comparable to the EU average. Since international students can work in Finland only on a restricted basis and part-time jobs are rare in Joensuu, one should not count on financing studies by working.

However, here are some useful tips for those living on a tight budget:

a) Make sure that you are aware of all the possible student reductions and other reductions available and compare the prices. Ask the Student Union for a complete list of places that offer student reductions by showing your Student Card and get tips from fellow Finnish students. Please notice that the open market place (tori) is not necessarily the cheapest place to buy food in Finland as it is in some other countries.

b) Use the possibility to eat lunch at student price on campuses – the meals are tasty, well-balanced and substantial.

c) You may want to check rummage sales and flea markets for inexpensive second-hand goods and furniture. To find bargains, you should look for ALE or TARJOUS signs which indicate sales or special offers. The flea markets are also worth visiting (cheap second-hand clothes, kitchenware, books, etc.). They are popular among all the students.