Why you should consider studying in these lesser-known Nordic countries
The Northern Lights isn't the only thing these Nordic countries have got going for them. Source: Vincent Guth on Unsplash

Finland usually gets all the attention when it comes to having the world’s best education system.

For the most part, the accolades are justified. The Northern European success story is where the top PISA scores and high-quality teachers are. On top of this, its universities are consistently ranked as some of the best in the world.

Narrowing your search to just Finland alone, however, would be disadvantageous to the prospective international student looking for a quality degree. The other Nordic countries have top-notch universities you should definitely consider – ignoring them means closing a potential door to higher education steeped in research and innovation, as well as an enviable quality of life.

If all the above sounds good to you, check out the three Nordic countries below:

1. Sweden

You would be smiling if you were in Stockholm too. Source: Yingchou Han on Unsplash

The Global Innovation Index 2017 – which measures countries on how they enable innovation, as well as how much they enable this innovation to influence the world – ranked Sweden as the 2nd most innovative nation out of 127 economies in the world.

When it comes to investment in research, World Bank data shows it spent 3.26 percent of its GDP on research strategies – the highest among all European nations and fourth worldwide.

At its universities, the curriculum is productively challenging with a strong focus on reasoning, rationality, and most importantly, application. Karolinska Institute ranks among the top 50 best universities in the world, while Lund University and Uppsala University are ranked 82nd and 93rd respectively in Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2018.

Interested applicants should check out the many scholarships on offer to international students (Sweden has introduced tuition fees to non-EU/EEA students since 2010). Take note that you may have to take the university entrance exam, called SweSAT (or Högskoleprovet in Swedish) in addition to meeting the admission requirements for your chosen course.

2. Norway

Just look at that landscapre. Source: Sharon Christina Rørvik on Unsplash

It’s not all about the beautiful fjords and mountains. It’s not really for the attractive job market and low unemployment rate. It may be because it’s simply the best place to live in the world.

All of the above is true. But the real reason you should study in the land of midnight is to get a full grasp of the Scandinavian leadership model. Experience first-hand how this small country is number 1 in the world in terms of productivity per worker. That’s almost 50 percent more GDP earned per hour than the UK.

You’ll be mighty satisfied as a student in Norway too – in the International Student Satisfaction in Europe 2016 awards, Norway ranked first with the University of Oslo – which, by the way, is ranked 146th in the world by THE‘s World University Rankings 2018 – clinching the Outstanding International Student Satisfaction award.

3. Denmark 

Source: Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) ranked the University of Copenhagen 30th in the world, while the Leiden Rankings placed it at 39th. Within Europe, the country’s oldest universities are ranked sixth and seventh respectively.

But it’s not just academic reputation that makes the Viking land stand out. Its universities have among the highest rates of student satisfaction in the region, too. According to the International Student Satisfaction in Europe 2016 awards, the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) was awarded for “outstanding” performance in this area.

The Danish government also offers attractive scholarships to interested students from selected countries (Brazil, China, Japan, Egypt, the Republic of South Korea and Russia), as well as other scholarships based on studies and origins.

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