FIRST+ (Finnish-Russian Student Exchange Programme) is an exchange programme that aims to promote student mobility between Finland and Russia.

Seven universities in St. Petersburg region, two in Moscow and one in Yaroslavl take part in the JYU Multidisciplinary FIRST+ Network coordinated by the University of Jyväskylä:

1-2 students are selected for each partner university for either one semester or the whole academic year. JYU bachelor's, master's and PhD-level students can participate in the FIRST+ exchange. Degree students of Russian language are also eligible to apply for the FIRST+-programme provided that they study their minor during the exchange.

Students are eligible to participate in the programme irrespective of nationality. However, as a rule, students may not undertake an exchange in their home country. Students who have Russian citizenship/background must have conducted their comprehensive school and/or general upper secondary education in Finland.

Fields of study

Exchange through the FIRST+ programme concentrates in the fields of Business and Economics, Chemistry, History, Social Sciences, and Information Technology which students can study either as their major or minor subject. It is possible to study other subjects as well with the exception of Russian language studies. It is possible to study only one Russian language course during the exchange period.


Exchange students will take part in the same courses as the local students. In Russia, studies are more school-like than in Finland.

The language of instruction is mainly Russian. Students complete a preliminary study plan before the exchange. The credits completed abroad will be transferred to the student's degree at the University of Jyväskylä.

NB! It is possible to study in English in most of the FIRST+ programme universities in which case Russian language skills are not mandatory.

It is possible to study in English at St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University: International Business -study module is offered in the autumn and spring semester, and the Modern Business Technologies -module is offered in the autumn semester. More information about the programmes can be found on the website of the university at It is also possible to choose courses from other English taught programmes:

UNECON (St. Petersburg State University of Economics) offers Business related studies in English: Courses in English at UNECON in the spring term 2018.

In Saint Petersburg State University it is possible to study in English or in Russian. Please find more information at

ITMO offers courses in English in the following fields: Economics, ICT & Programming, Robotics, Ecology. In addition, students can choose courses from the International Master's Degree Programs. More information at

English Master's degree programmes offered at St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University (LETI) can be found at NB! At least 10 students needs to be enrolled to the course in order for the course to take place.

Courses offered at HSE St. Petersburg can be found at The studies of previous exchange students from JYU have focused on the courses of the English Applied and Interdisciplinary History Master's programme but courses in other fields are also available. 

At HSE Moscow, it is possible to study both in English and in Russian. Course information can be found at

It is possible to do courses at MIPT in English and in Russian. Information about their Bachelor's level programmes can be found at and Master's programmes at

In addition, the FIRST-programme funding can be used to support a practical training period in Russia. The practical training can also be a part of the exchange period. The practical training can take place in one of the FIRST-programme partner universities in Russia or in another organization in Russia. However, it may be difficult to receive a visa to Russia if the practical training takes place elsewhere than at the partner university. Students who are studying Russian as their major can also do a practical training in Russia but they cannot do it in their field of study.


The host university will reserve apartments for FIRST+ students in the dormitory of the university. The apartments are usually 2-3 room dorms with a shared bathroom. Each floor has its own kitchen. A single room usually houses two students.

The dormitory accommodation available for JYU student going to St. Petersburg State University of Economics is free of charge.


FIRST+ exchange students are awarded a travel scholarship of 1100 € /semester (1350€ /academic year) if the exchange takes place in Saint Petersburg, and 1350€ /semester (1600€ /academic year) to exchanges in Moscow and Yaroslavl. FIRST+ students are exempt from any tuition fees. The students need to be in possession of a travel insurance for the duration of the exchange.

Students nominated for the exchange can apply for Finnish student financial aid from Kela for their living expenses, if the student is eligible for the financial aid for their studies at JYU. Those that will pay rent during their exchange can also apply for housing allowance.

Accessibility grant

Students nominated for FIRST exchange can apply for an accessibility grant, if needed. Accessibility grants support the participation in the FIRST programme of persons with special needs whose participation – for reasons of physical or mental health – calls for additional financial assistance. You can get more information about the grant from the International Office.

Language requirements

Those applying for student exchange should have adequate language skills in order to follow lectures in Russian or English. It is recommended that the student has completed at least the basic and the advanced course of the language.


The application period for FIRST+ exchange begins annually on 15 January and ends on 15 February. The application is submitted through the Mobility-Online application portal.

Application form and instructions

The application should include the reasons for applying, a preliminary study plan at the host university and proof of language skills (e.g. a transcript of records or a high school diploma).

The selection criteria includes the student's language skills, stage of studies, study performance, motivation for applying, study plan and the statement from the student's home faculty. Students of JSBE have priority to placaments at UNECON.

The application for the FIRST+ programme has two phases. First you apply for the exchange with JYU's online application. After that, those nominated for exchange will fill out the application of the host university and include necessary attachments. The host university is always ultimately responsible for the acceptance of the student.

The International Office can provide information about FIRST+ exchange placements that may be available after the application period.

Exchange experiences

FIRST+ programme short-term mobility grant

To Saint Petersburg

Duration of 1-2 weeks: 300€
Duration over 2 weeks: 400€

To Moscow or Yaroslavl

Duration of 1-2 weeks: 400€
Duration over 2 weeks: 500€

The application round to FIRST+ short term mobility grants is ongoing (no deadlines). Please send a free-form application with reasons for applying to Tiina Savela at the International Office -> tiina.savela(a) The application must include the duration of the mobility, destination and purpose of stay. Please also attach a letter of acceptance, invitation letter, or similar, from the host university.

More information