The Summer High School Association

The Summer High School Association (Kesälukioseura ry) was established in 1965 to provide an alternative for traditional secondary school education. The association is a private, non-profit, state-subsidised organisation and it receives funds from the Ministry of Education and Culture and from STEA.

The association plans and implements summer high schools and organises courses for refugee children and youth living in Finland. The association also partners with other institutions organising summer high schools.

Our aim is to bring young people together and provide them with meaningful learning experiences.

Our values

These are our core values: creativity, sense of community, broad-mindedness and equality in participation.

CREATIVITY Diverse and limitless study environments, innovative teachers and creative students produce novel learning experiences as a community. SENSE OF COMMUNITY Studying is being and doing together. Sense of community is a significant part of the learning experience. BROAD-MINDEDNESS The association values the ability to widely understand context and connections between matters, and aims to raise its participants broad-minded and tolerant. EQUALITY IN PARTICIPATION The association offers inclusive, easily accessible opportunities for studying to children and youth regardless of their background.

Summer High Schools

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 as well as free time activities. Each one offers a unique variety of study subjects and courses to choose from.

Special themed summer high schools gather students together to learn about a specific subject. Summer high schools abroad promote cultural exchange and understanding as well as language learning. These courses take place in other countries, where the students travel as a group. Some summer high schools also offer distance learning courses.

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 (Finnish) syllabus
  • prepare for upcoming secondary school studies
  • explore new arts, crafts and hobbies
  • gain personal experience on intercultural learning
  • make new friends

Application periods to summer high schools open in January and close in April–June. Learn more about summer high schools.

Courses for children and young people with refugee background

Own language and culture courses are for children aged 7 to 14 years old who come from refugee backgrounds. The one-week long courses are camp-like and offer the children a possibility to use and learn their own native language and learn more of their cultural background in a safe peer environment. The main aim of the courses is to support the children’s developing cultural identity. 

The courses are organized for different culture groups separately, and they are taught by teachers from the respective refugee communities. In addition to culture and language teaching, the week includes singing, dancing, sports, crafts and all things characteristic for a summer camp.

The Summer High School Association organises two kinds of courses for immigrant youth aged 15 to 19 years old, who have arrived in Finland as refugees or asylum seekers. The Career dreams (Uraunelmien kesälukio) and Girls’ (Tyttöjen kesälukio) summer high schools both aim to familiarise immigrant youth with the Finnish education system and their own possibilities within it. They also help the youth to recognise their own strengths and interests. The courses are led by study counsellors and mentors of the participants’ own native language. After the summer course, the mentors continue to be in contact with the youth until the end of the year.  

The Career dreams summer high school is for immigrant youth of all genders, and the Girls’ summer high school is for youth who identify as female. No previous education in Finland or plans to attend high school after grade school are required to attend the courses.