For immigrants

What is the Adult Education Centre?

Helsinki Finnish Adult Education Centre is the city’s own educational institution and cultural centre for adults.  We have a variety of courses, lectures and events that are affordable or completely free. You can study Finnish with us or start a new hobby. Class locations are all over Helsinki.

We have a lot of Finnish-language courses (S2 courses), and the Adult Education Centre has plenty of language courses for this purpose. You can also sign up for other courses (physical education, cooking and home economics, handcrafts, etc.), where you can learn Finnish at the same time. Your instructors will help if you need assistance. 

Study voucher courses: You will automatically receive a discount on the course fee if you have a Finnish personal identity code and your mother tongue is not Finnish or Swedish. The fee for a study voucher course is 14 euros.  

The language of instruction in our courses is typically Finnish, but we also have many courses in English and other languages. If you prefer to study in Swedish, see the website for Arbis, our Swedish-language centre. 

Student guidance 

Do you need help choosing a Finnish-language course? Call our student guidance on +358 9 310 88644 for assistance.

Semester 2023 – 2024: 

  • Mondays 14.00– 15.00 (in Finnish and Russian) 
  • Tuesdays 14.00–15.00 (in Finnish and English, also YKI national langauge test guidance)
  • Wednesdays 10-11 (in Finnish and English)
  • Thursdays 14.00–15.00 (in Finnish and English) 

At other times, you can call customer service, +358 9 310 88610  (Mon–Thu, 10.00–16.00). 

Osaava- project: basic and digital skills for immigrants

We offer training to immigrants for strengthening their basic and digital skills. Additionally, we provide literacy and writing education. Low-threshold instruction is tailored in collaboration with various organizations and partner associations.

In the project, we provide:

  • Digital guidance in Finnish, Arabic, English, and Russian.
  • Digital courses where you’ll learn computer usage, functions, and the use of electronic services.
  • Finnish language courses for literacy and writing skill groups.

Welcome to learn!

For more information:

Elina Mäkilä Tel. 09 3103 3546

Anna Hattunen Tel. 09 3103 29

KOTIVA – Finnish-language courses for stay-at-home parents of toddlers

You can apply for the course if

  • you live in Helsinki
  • you care for your child at home
  • your child is over ten months but less than three years of age when the course begins
  • you want to learn Finnish.

A childminder will look after your child while you learn Finnish. Childcare is arranged close to the course location and is provided by the City of Helsinki’s playground service. The course and childcare are free of charge.

Courses that started in January 2023:

  • beginners courses: 2.5 hours, twice a week
  • advanced course: 2.5 hours, twice a week

Courses starting in August 2023:

• introductory courses: 2.5 hours, twice a week
• intensive introductory course: 2.5 hours, four times a week
• advanced course: 2.5 hours, twice a week
• review course: 2.5 hours, twice a week
• literacy course: 2.5 hours, twice a week
• online introductory course: 2.5 hours, twice a week for parents of infants (children under ten months). You will transfer to an in-person class when your child turns ten months.

The literacy course teaches reading and writing in the Latin alphabet and reinforces your study skills.

The introductory course teaches you the basics of the Finnish language. The advanced course is meant for those who already know the basics of Finnish.

The classes will be held in various locations in Helsinki. Selections for spring courses are made in early January. Selections for autumn courses are made in early June. We will invite all the applicants for an interview and initial assessment in January and June. Available seats will be prioritised for applicants who participated in the initial assessment. We will admit new students from the application waiting list if there are withdrawals or open seats in the courses.

Apply for a KOTIVA Finnish course here 

For more information (Mon–Fri), please contact:
Katja Kauti-Karakus, Team Leader, Curriculum Designer
+358 9 310 20253 ,

KOTIVA – social skills courses for Arabic and Somali-speaking stay-at-home parents

Social skills groups for Arabic and Somali-speaking stay-at-home parents meet at the Helsinki Finnish Adult Education Centre. The KOTIVA social skills groups meet once a week during the semester. 

There are three groups in each language every semester. There is in-person and remote instruction for groups.

There is a free children’s club during the group sessions for children over ten months and under three years of age.

We also hold free learning workshops in both languages, e.g. digital and S2 instruction.

The social skills groups also offer the opportunity for service, educational and career guidance from the instructor.

Guided by bilingual instructors and visiting experts, social skills students will learn about topics such as:

  • Helsinki’s various services
  • educational and career opportunities
  • available Finnish-language instruction
  • themes that support family well-being
  • using email and online services
  • Finnish-language instruction

The goals are to raise social awareness, understand service systems, learn about Finnish culture, increase inclusion and support parenting.

Your group instructors will be happy to provide you with more information. Please see the contact details below.

Somali-speaking social skills groups
Hamdi Moalim, Instructor, +358 40 661 6042

Arabic-speaking social skills groups
Mina Al-Shaibane, Instructor, +358 40 482 5686

Vanhemmat mukaan (‘Involving parents’) activities

Join us to strengthen your Finnish skills, learn basic maths skills and learn about Finnish society and the school system at the same time.

The Vanhemmat mukaan activities involve attending first and second grade classes in comprehensive schools twice a week. You will learn Finnish, receive support and guidance for various everyday situations, and prepare for applying for studies or entering the workforce. You will also meet other parents in the area.

You can apply for the course if:

  • you have a child (or children) in the area’s comprehensive schools or day care centres
  • you care for your child at home
  • your child is over ten months old when the course begins
  • you want to learn Finnish or social skills

The following schools participate in the courses: Kankarepuisto Comprehensive School, Siltamäki Comprehensive School, Metsola Comprehensive School, and Pitäjänmäki Comprehensive School

A childminder close to the course location will look after your child while you learn Finnish. The course and childcare are free of charge.

Open seats in the course are prioritised for applicants in the target group. If there are withdrawals or empty seats in the course, we will admit new students from the application waiting list.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us! Additional information:
Arja Kajanki, S2 Curriculum Planner, Vanhemmat mukaan – Project, 040 675

Additional information about the project:
The Vanhemmat mukaan project strengthens the Finnish language skills of parents with immigrant backgrounds, teaches basic maths skills and introduces them to Finnish society and the school system. The goal is to create inclusive experiences and provide an innovative way to enable integration. The aim is also to create a permanent operating model for the city, in addition to the existing Kotiva courses, that provides instruction for stay-at-home parents in schools in cooperation with basic education. The Helsinki Adult Education Centre, the City of Helsinki’s basic education, and the Helsinki Vocational College and Adult Institute (Stadin AO) are involved in the project.