International students or students with an immigrant background are generally not identified as a distinct student group at higher education institutions and it is therefore difficult to monitor the number of students, their studying progress and support needs. However, some good practices for promoting inclusion of linguistically and culturally diverse students in higher education in Finland are presented in a report by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (2019). The report identified, among others, the next five good practices and strengths in Finnish higher education:
- Tutor teachers, guidance counsellors, and peer students play an important role in study guidance for students with an immigrant background.
- Student organizations have started a promising effort to include students with an immigrant background in student activities.
- Events and practices across various sectors with, for example, municipal operators and families have increased students’ awareness of the opportunities created by higher education studies when it comes to integration with Finnish working life and society.
- Preparatory training for higher education studies, organized since 2010, is a highly functional practice at a national level.
- SIMHE (Supporting Immigrants in Higher Education in Finland) services at higher education institutions provides students with immigrant background guidance and information on the Finnish higher education system and the possibility to pursue higher education studies as a degree student or as complementing studies. In addition, support is provided for the practices of recognition of prior learning and guidance for career planning and additional education for immigrants with earlier higher education studies.
The researchers also recommend that higher education institutions start implementing a common and systematic practice to monitor and communicate with the students. Here you can find the link to read the abstract in English and the full report in Finnish whole report: https://karvi.fi/en/publication/taustalla-on-valia-ulkomaalaistaustaiset-opiskelijat-korkeakoulupolulla-2/