What are summer high schools all about?

Summer high schools, taking place during the Finnish summer months (June-August), are intensive and informal alternatives to regular school education. They are camp-like, lasting 1–2 weeks each and usually including full room and board and free time activities. Each one offers a unique variety of study subjects and courses to choose from. Some only have one option and are targeted to bring people together to study a common subject. You will find these alternative schools in all parts of Finland, most of them located in beautiful unspoiled surroundings of folk high schools.

Some summer high schools are organised abroad to promote cultural exchange and understanding, and in many cases language learning.

Other summer high schools also offer distance learning courses.

Who organises summer high schools

Some summer high schools are organised by the Summer High School Association (Kesälukioseura ry founded in 1965) and others by community colleges, folk high schools, other schools, municipalities and non-profit organisations around Finland. The latter work in partnership with the Summer High School Association.

The association is a private, non-profit, state-subsidised organisation and it receives funds from the Ministry of Education and Culture and from STEA.

Who can attend? 

Summer high schools are usually full-time courses for 15 to 19 year old high school students. If you go to school in Finland, you are able to include the courses you complete during summer high school in your degree (according to upper secondary school law). We encourage you to ask more about course accreditation from your own school.

All summer high schools are open to expatriate youth whose Finnish is already advanced enough to participate in lessons in Finnish. Those looking for Finnish lessons, Suomen kielen ja kulttuurin kesälukio, S2-kesälukio and Sallan kansainvälinen kesälukio offer courses in Finnish as a second language.

What happens at a summer high school camp?

In addition to lessons, a range of extracurricular activities and excursions are included in the course package. Using learner-oriented methods, summer high schools offer a non-traditional approach to the learning process. Students are encouraged to take active part in the process and thus make the most of their study period.

Intensive study periods ranging from one to two weeks enable the student to:

  • revise and supplement high school studies
  • gain credit for study units included in the syllabus
  • prepare for upcoming secondary school studies
  • explore new arts, crafts and hobbies
  • gain personal experience on intercultural learning
  • make new friends

To learn foreign languages, we may use role-plays, dramatisations, and conversations among students from different countries. Professionals in different fields teach arts and crafts. We will continue interaction and exchange of ideas during free time: we will have excursions, discuss current topics and play games. And, of course, we shall sit around the campfire, swim and enjoy the sauna and the Finnish summer.

Themed summer high schools

Many summer high schools focus around a theme or a school subject such as mathematics or ecology. Some are targeted at a specific group, such as expatriate youth and anyone wanting to practice their Finnish or to learn about the Finnish culture (Suomen kielen ja kulttuurin kesälukio).

If you have any special subjects, hobbies or themes of interest in mind, please write to us or give us a call, so we can make you a personal recommendation for a summer high school.

How do I sign up?

The application period for summer high schools held in Finland opens in January and closes in April-June. Apply to summer high schools here.


Please don’t hesitate to contact us to find out more!

Kesälukioseura (Summer High School Association)
Mariankatu 7 C 1
00170 Helsinki
tel. +358 (0)9 686 0770 (inquiries, office)
toimisto (at) kesalukioseura.fi