When your study place at the Ylä-Savo vocational college has been confirmed, please contact Ulla Piippo, an immigration specialist in Iisalmi. She will help you with all your everyday needs (e.g. housing, banking, childcare).  

E-mail: ulla.piippo@iisalmi.fi   Phone: +358406740179  


When your study place has been confirmed, you must apply for a temporary residence permit for students. You also have the possibility to apply for a D visa.   



The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) will monitor your progress throughout your studies; if your studies do not progress, your right to a residence permit will end.  If you get a job, you can work up to 30 hours per week during the year while you are studying.  

The studies are free of charge, but you will have to pay for all the costs related to your studies. For example, a season ticket for local bus travel costs €88 per month.   We serve breakfast and lunch for the students for free on the Sankariniemi and Peltosalmi campuses from Monday to Friday. Other meals you have to pay yourself.  


Please note that you cannot come to Finland until you have an apartment!   

Students aged 18 or over, can rent a furnished shared apartment in YSAO’s Tiili-dormitory in Iisalmi. The rent is 200 EUR/person/month. The rental contract is valid for a maximum of one academic year at a time and can be renewed, if there are places available at the time the student needs them. 

You can also ask for rental accommodation from the following companies in Iisalmi and Kiuruvesi:  

– Iisalmi: Petterinkulma Oy https://petterinkulma.fi/   

– Kiuruvesi: Kiurunkulma Oy https://kiurunkulma.fi/  

You can inquire about short-term accommodation, for example at the beginning of your studies, if a place in the dormitory is not confirmed or you are waiting for a decision, in the following places: 

Hotel Iisalmen Seurahuone: seurahuone@haapaniemenmatkailu.fi    

Hotel Peltohovi, Kiuruvesi: https://hotellipeltohovi.fi/    

When you book a room in these hotels, tell that you are studying at Ylä-Savo vocational college, and you will get a discounted price for the hotel night. Ulla Piippo, an immigration specialist, will also help you with accommodation.  


After you have moved to Finland, you must register as a resident at the nearest office of Digital and population data service agency. You need to make an appointment online: https://secure.vihta.com/public-ng/dvv/#/reservation  

The immigration specialist Ulla Piippo can help you make an appointment if you cannot make it yourself. 

Banking services

You will need a personal identity number when you open a bank account.   

In Iisalmi, you cannot exchange money from other countries for euros. The nearest currency exchange offices (FOREX) are in Tampere, Helsinki and Turku.  

You can get online banking credentials from your bank, which you will need for example when verifying your identity in various electronic services (e.g. Immigration or Tax services). 

You need to make an appointment to open an account at the bank. Ulla Piippo, an immigration specialist, can help you make an appointment. 

Banks in Iisalmi 

  OP Pohjois-Savo: https://www.op.fi/henkiloasiakkaat/tule-opn-asiakkaaksi/suomeen-muuttanut  

Säästöpankki Optia: https://www.saastopankki.fi/fi-fi/asiakaspalvelu/tule-asiakkaaksi  

S-pankki: https://www.s-pankki.fi/fi/ajanvaraus/  

Health insurance and medical services

To apply for a residence permit, you must have private insurance to cover your medical expenses. You can get insurance from your home insurance company, or you can ask for it from international insurance companies. 

You can visit a doctor or a nurse at a private medical center. For sick leave of more than 3 days, you will need a nurse’s or doctor’s certificate. If you are studying a professional qualification in food production or restaurant and catering services, you can get a salmonella certificate from a private medical center. 

Private medical centers in Iisalmi: 

Terveystalo: https://www.terveystalo.com/   

Mehiläinen: https://www.mehilainen.fi/  

Phone and internet

You can buy a pre-paid subscription at R-kiosks or supermarkets. You do not need a Finnish personal identity number to have a pre-paid account. 

Life in Finland

Be prepared, that even if you get breakfast and lunch at school, you will need money to live on.  A student should have €560 a month for essentials. Prices in Finland are high. For example, food and many services cost more in Finland than the European average.   

If yoy will have a job and you receive income from a Finnish employer, the income will be taxed so you need a tax card:  https://www.vero.fi/en/individuals/tax-cards-and-tax-returns/arriving_in_finland/Studying-in-Finland

You have a temporary residence permit and are therefore not eligible for normal student financial support services (KELA). 

Finland is a north country and has a colder climate than many other countries. Temperatures can reach +30 degrees Celsius in summer and -30 degrees Celsius in winter. You will need both summer clothes and warm winter clothes. 

What is studying like?

At the beginning of the studies, a personal competence development plan (PCDP) is created for each student. 

You will progress through your studies and receive competence points based on your progress in learning the skills required for the part of the qualification you are studying. The time it takes for a student to learn the skills can be different for each student. It is the student’s responsibility to study according to the plan. You cannot change the plan yourself, if changes are needed you have to agree them the mentor teacher.

Qualification structure

The studies include compulsory and optional modules. You must complete all compulsory modules. The optional modules are chosen in consultation with the mentor teacher.  

The scope of the vocational qualification is 180 competence points (cp).    

Vocational units, 145 cp 

Common units, 35 cp  

Communication and interaction competence, 11 cp 

Mathematics and science competence, 6 cp 

Citizenship and working life competence, 9 cp 

Smoke-free YSAO

We are a smoke-free and nicotine-free educational institution. According to the Tobacco Act, smoking is prohibited in Finland in the indoor premises of vocational education and training institutions, in student dormitories and in the outdoor areas used by them. The possession of tobacco products by persons under the age of 18 is also prohibited.