Study abroad in Scandinavian Universities

Are you planning to study abroad? Wondering about the study opportunities in Scandinavian universities for Indian students? Countries like Denmark, Sweden, Norway or even Finland or Iceland offer free education even to international students and this is an attractive proposition for students aspiring to study abroad but are not financially well off. In this article I have described few reasons which will attract Indian students to review the option of studies in Scandinavian universities.


The Scandinavian group of countries include Denmark, Sweden, Norway while Finland and Iceland (not really in this group) but in the Nordic group. These countries may not have the world's most appealing climates, but they are known for their high quality of life, highly advanced social support systems, and leadership on issues ranging from gender equality to environmental policy.
Typically Indians look out for studying abroad options in US, UK, Australia, Canada, Germany etc. Very few Indians venture for Europe or other nations. I came across Scandinavian countries which offer free education even for international students. There are scholarships that cover the entire course fees in these countries.This is definitely an attractive offer for Indians. As rightly said: Opportunities call on the door only once! An opportunity once missed is missed for life!

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Culture of innovation

For so many decades Indian universities have been producing graduates, post graduates and doctorates, but counted few of them have made a name for themselves in the research domain or have won a noble prize. So quality of tertiary education in India is not up to the mark in all colleges. Hence it would be an ideal option to study abroad in the best universities which fosters a culture of research and innovation and come back and contribute to the nation. Innovation is a single word and most appropriate one which defines the culture in Scandinavian universities. Based on university surveys carried out globally for identifying the innovative countries across the world all Nordic nations were on the top of the list:
  • In the Global Innovation Index this is how the Nordic nations were ranked: Sweden: 2nd ; Finland 6th; Denmark 9th ; Iceland 13th and Norway 16th

  • In Bloomberg's 50 Most Innovative Countries the ranking was as follows: Finland 4th; Sweden: 5th ; Denmark 9th ; Norway 13th ; Iceland 20th. This ranking was based on criteria different from that used in the Global Innovation Index.

Almost all the universities in these countries have an open climate, focus on group work and encourage students to develop their own ideas and become responsible for their own results. One example is the launch of Helsinki Think Company in the University of Helsinki. It is a dedicated innovation center which provides a breeding ground for budding entrepreneurs to transform ideas into commercial ventures. This culture of innovation enhances employability of graduates enabling them to take up leading positions in renowned companies across the world.

Top ranked universities

It is worth knowing that many Nordic universities are in the top 500 as per QS World University Ranking. These include: 25 Nordic universities – eight in Sweden, eight in Finland, five in Denmark and four in Norway – all ranked within the world's top 500 universities. As compared to this list of at least 25 Nordic universities, hardly you may come across one –three Indian universities in this list. Even the number is quite low in US, UK or Germany. So if you want to be the best, opt for the best education. Apart from these 25 listed universities, a few other universities are not included in the ranking because they are highly specialized and cannot meet the ranking criteria. For example: Sweden's Stockholm School of Economics and Karolinska Institute (medical) are very highly rated in their own fields.

The possibility of a free degree

Even though the Nordic countries have relatively high living cost, but this is balanced by zero/low tuition fees. Let us look at how each Nordic/ Scandinavian country offers a free degree. In Finland, Norway and Denmark the undergraduate, and the PhD programs are taught in English/ Swedish/ and are free for all nationalities. There are some additional fees which may include insurance, transportation etc. If you want to know more about study in Finland and Norway then check this out:

In conclusion

So how will the above information be useful to you if you are planning to study abroad? In case you have an aptitude for research, are creative, want to do something different then you can definitely opt for studies in any of the above countries where the culture of innovation is abundant. What else can you wish for: studying in a country which is ranked among the world's top 20 innovative countries and in a university which is ranked among the top 200 universities of the world? Keep the issue of living cost aside, at least the tuition is free and you can work and support yourself. The countries are beautiful and people are cooperative and respectful be nature. I am sure this article will give you some food for thought for studies abroad if research is your passion and you are aspiring to study for master's and PhD. There are genuine study abroad consultancies that can help you process the applications for admission in major cities in India.

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Author: Partha K.28 Oct 2015 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 2

An informative article. The author has rightly pointed out that generally Indian students don't explore the possibility of studying in Nordic and Scandinavian countries, although the educational standard of these countries is generally high. However, I would like to mention some relevant issues:-
(a) Language for communication:- People of these countries generally communicate in their own languages. The Indian students may find it difficult in these countries because opportunity to learn these particular languages in India is extremely limited, if not zero.
(b) Cost of living:- The cost of living in Scandinavian and Nordic countries are very high. So, Indian students without scholarship may find it difficult to manage in these countries.
(c) Climate: The climatic conditions of these countries are harsh for most of the Indian students.

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