In Finland, you will automatically have a place in a school in your own neighbourhood. This is called the local school. It is not necessarily the closest one to your home, as Helsinki is divided into school admission areas. Your school is assigned to you based on your home address, and you can find out what your school is by entering your address in the search box on the City of Helsinki Service Map website.
Instruction in your local school is either in Finnish or in Swedish, and you need to be proficient in the language of instruction when you enrol in the school. Don’t worry if you don’t know Finnish or Swedish yet – if this is the case, you can enrol in what we call preparatory education. Preparatory education helps you learn the language and proceed in your studies at the same time. Preparatory education is introduced in the next chapter.
If you already know Finnish or Swedish and want to enrol in your local school, just contact the school directly. You can also apply for a place in a school other than the one assigned to you, but they can only admit you if they have free places. Contact the school directly to ask about their availability.
Some schools specialise in certain subjects, such as arts or sports. To enrol in these ‘weighted-curriculum’ classes, you need to take an aptitude test, and admission policies vary between schools. If you are interested in these options, check the links on weighted-curriculum in the Read more section in the bottom of this page.
If your mother tongue or the language you speak at home is not Finnish or Swedish, or if you have acquired another language through other means such as living abroad, you can participate in additional instruction in that language. It is optional, and the weekly amount of instruction is two lessons. The aim of this instruction is to help you maintain and develop your skills in that language. These classes are offered in more than 40 languages, based on demand. Not all languages are offered in all schools, and you may have to travel to another school for this instruction.