Welcome to Kotka!

City by the sea

Kotka is the second largest city in Kymenlaakso region. It is located on the coast of the Baltic Sea, the Gulf of Finland, at the estuary of Kymi river. Kotka is known by its port, industry and maritime festivals. Kotka is also known as a multifaceted city of educational institutions and culture.

Kotka in brief
Kotka was founded in 1879. Now the population is about 51000. The area is 950 km2, but most of it is water, 272 km2 is land. Kotka is located 130 km east from Helsinki and the highway E18 runs through Kotka all the way to the Eastern border. In the city there are two centers, Kotkansaari (the Isle of Kotka) and Karhula.

The characteristics of Kotka are based on the sea and Kymi river. The Port of HaminaKotka is the biggest universal, export and transshipment port in Finland. The main traffic consists of timber, paper, metal and stone.

Kymi river is famous for fishing, you may catch salmon, pike, whitefish, perch, pikeperch. There are also many possibilities to paddle and shoot the rapids in the river. The archipelago of Kotka consists of tens of islands.

(c) City of Kotka

Please, check www.visitkotkahamina.fiwww.kotka.fi  and in Wikipedia Kotka for more information about the city and region.

In Kotka campus we offer studies in English in these exchange programmes:

  • Logistics (BSc. Eng. & BBA) (1 or 2 semester studies and Double Degree)
  • Energy technology
  • Game programming (studies & Double Degree)
  • Cyber Security (studies & Double Degree)
  • Social services (combined studies and professional interaction)
  • Health care (training in Kotka, Hamina or Kouvola)

Every year we host some 30-60 international exchange and double degree students and trainees in Kotka, what makes the atmosphere in the campus truly international. International students closely collaborate with the local students both in educational and free time activities.

Please notice, that official academic year is 1 August – 31 July.


Autumn semester studies begin end of August and finish before Christmas.

Spring semester studies begin early January and continue until the end of April OR May, depending on which programme you are studying in.


See more: Kotka campus


Orientation before studies

The International Services of South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences welcomes the new incoming exchange students by organizing Welcoming  orientation before studies begin. The purpose of this Welcoming orientation is to introduce the people, facilities as well as tools and platforms used during the studies.


Spring semester 2024  Welcoming day orientation on Monday 8th January 2024.

During the Welcoming Day in campus we tell more about

  • South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences Xamk
  • International services,  Student & Library services
  • Student Union
  • Xamk Digital environment
  • Practical issues e.g. local bus connections & activities in Kotka

And Exchange students meet departmental academic contact persons with whom they go through the Learning Agreements & timetables, enrolling for the courses and other academic matters.


Xamk Digital Environment – Online Orientation courses for new exchange students  will be open on 15 December, the log-in information (Xamk username & password) will be sent by text message to accepted students.

Online orientation course 1: Digital environment 2023 – Digital tools (link will be updated in December)

Online orientation course 2: Orientation 2023 – Studying and services (link will be updated in December)


Welcoming Days programme (August 2023)


Incoming Trainees will have their own orientation with Anna-Maija Uusoksa before starting in training places, and we highly recommend you to arrive well in advance (to get bus cards, timetables and other important matters in order).



Accommodation provided by THE Roomz

Exchange and double degree students, who study in Kotka 1 or 2 semesters, are accommodated in a cozy student dormitory / hostel in Mussalo, Savottakuja 3, 48310 Kotka. The service provider and administrator is THE Roomz The Hospitable Experience. Distance to Xamk Kotka campus is about 3 km and bus stops to/from campus & city center just about 100 meters away. By the hostel you can also find the City bike station (Kaakau / Donkey Republic) during April-October.


The rent is 390 € / month for a smaller room and 425 € / month for a bigger/shared room. The rooms are furnished and ready for moving in and each room has a bathroom.

The rent includes furniture, electricity, heating, water, use of common spaces, kitchenware, Wi-Fi, bedclothes and towels, sauna, trash collection and laundry room.

Our dorm has an active community that regularly organizes social events and activities for students and it offers exchange students a safe, homely and comfortable living solution that supports academic and personal growth. We also celebrate some Finnish traditions at THE dorm.

Our mission is to make you feel like home away from home.



Accepted exchange students will receive more detailed information and link to accommodation application mid-November 2023. If you have questions concerning the accommodation, please contact THE Roomz by e-mail info@roomz.fi


Getting to Kotka

Lentokentältä Helsinkiin – From airport to Helsinki

Helsinki-Vantaa airport (HEL) is located about 20km from Helsinki City center. You can travel to city center either by bus or by train. Buses leave in front of the terminal (follow the signs). To the railway station, you need to take the escalators or elevator down (follow the signs).

Notice: you need to buy your ticket beforehand if you travel by train. HSL is taking care of public transportation in Helsinki area. You can buy a ticket from a ticket machine (at the railway station of Helsinki-Vantaa airport) or by uploading HSL App from App Store. The same tickets are valid in buses and trains in Helsinki region (but not outside the area). To buy a ticket from the airport to the city center choose the region ABC ticket.


Kotka is situated some 130 km from Helsinki, and 60 km from EU border. Depending on where you are coming from, there are different means of transport you might find convenient:

  • If you are traveling via Helsinki-Vantaa Airport (HEL), we recommend to use train to Helsinki city center and a bus connection to Kotka (Sutela) OR train P from the airport via Tikkurila- Lahti-Kouvola to Kotka
  • If you arrive in Helsinki by ferry (from Stocholm, Tallinn, Riga, Travemünde) or via other cities in Finland, please, check tram connections to Kamppi or to Helsinki Railway station in HSL web-page for the options.
  • If you are coming through Kouvola, we recommend using train (VR).


Please notice:

we arrange pick-up services from Kotka (Sutela) bus stop OR Kotka train station for exchange students arriving 1-5 days before the Welcoming Days/ beginning of studies or Training. The pick-up can be arranged Monday -Friday between 8.00-21.00 and you should inform us at least two weeks before you arrive.

From the airport to Kotka by train

VR railway company 

  • search Helsinki Airport (lentoasema) – Kotka


From Kamppi Bus Station to Kotka

Train I or P to Helsinki Railway station +  short walk to Kamppi Travel center

Helsinki – Kotka: Onnibus 

Arrival information

We arrange pick-up services from local bus stations: Kotka (Sutela) or Kotka Train station, for all incoming exchange students who arrive 1-5 days prior to the beginning of studies. Please, note that the pick-up can be arranged only between 8:00-21:00.

Fill in the arrival form

Insurance and residence permit

EU/EEA and Swiss residents

You need to have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for your exchange period.

In addition, you need to have personal insurance, with a full 3rd part liability and health coverage.

  • By presenting the European Health Insurance Card, you can prove your right to necessary medical treatment in another EU or EEA country and in Switzerland. With the card, you can get medical treatment if you become suddenly ill or have an accident. You can also get medical treatment if you have a chronic illness that requires medical attention. The card also gives access to necessary treatment during pregnancy and childbirth.
  • The European Health Insurance Card is recognized within the public health care services as well as by private doctors and hospitals that have signed a health insurance agreement. More information on the European Health Insurance Card can be found on the website of the European Commission.

Non-EU/EEA/Swiss residents

As a student, you will be responsible for your illness-related expenses in Finland. For your residence permit, you will need private insurance to cover your medical and pharmaceutical expenses. Please attach the insurance certificate to your application

  • The excess on your insurance must not exceed 300 euros.
  • Your insurance must cover medical expenses up to 120,000 euros if your studies in Finland last less than two years.
  • Your insurance must cover pharmaceutical expenses up to 40,000 euros if your studies in Finland last two years or longer.
  • Do not take out regular travel insurance. It is meant for holiday trips lasting less than three months.
  • You must have insurance for your entire stay in Finland. (including traveling days) Your insurance must be valid at the moment of your arrival in Finland. If you intend to study in Finland for one year or longer, take out a one-year insurance policy. Be sure to renew your insurance policy prior to expiry.
  • Make sure not to terminate your insurance policy, or you will have to cover your medical and hospital expenses yourself.

Please, check the guidelines from Finnish Immigration Service HERE



NOTICEMake sure you have the Travel insurance cover from the day you leave your home until you return after the exchange period.


Free time activities

Kotka and its neighbouring towns (Karhula, Hamina, Kouvola etc.) are well-known for their sports facilities. In general, Finns are enthusiastic about participating actively in sports events as well as being spectators. There are several sports grounds, sport halls and swimming pools in the Kotka region. Ice-hockey (JÄÄKIEKKO), cross-country skiing (HIIHTO), downhill skiing (LASKETTELU), basketball (KORIPALLO) and volleyball (LENTOPALLO) are very popular as well as Finnish baseball (PESÄPALLO) and football or soccer (JALKAPALLO). There are also opportunities for e.g. golf, bowling, riding, tennis, etc. Xamk has excellent facilities for indoor sports, e.g., students can play volleyball, badminton, tennis etc. free of charge.

There are also many cultural events in the Kotka region; very active Town Theaters, several other theater groups, orchestras and choirs, art exhibitions, movie theaters. In addition to the usual cultural services, there are also several summer festivals taking place regularly in nearby Kotka. One of the best known is the Kotka Maritime Festival (4 days), this takes place at the end of July and brings to Kotka more than 100 000 visitors during one weekend.

In Kotka you get a chance to feel the Finnish nature easily..

BYOD - Bring Your Own Device

Use of student’s own devices in studies

Xamk follows the BOYD policy which means that students primarily use their own devices like laptops and smartphones in their studies.

For more detailed information please follow this link

Student Union

The student union Kaakko is a service provider and lobbying organisation for students at Xamk. Kaakko's role is to ensure that students' voices are heard in every decision-making organ of Xamk. Together with Xamk, Kaakko arranges various leisure time activities. Kaakko is also responsible for coordinating the tutor activities and it arranges a few big parties for all students during the academic year.
All exchange students are welcome to join our Student Union Kaakko and benefit from being a student of Xamk.

Get to know Kaakko

Contact information

Contact information for incoming exchange and double degree
students to Kotka:

Studies & internships:

Sari Pieviläinen is out of office until 31.8.2024.

Ms Sari Pieviläinen
Pääskysentie 1
48220 Kotka
+358 44 7028236