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Exchange Students: What to expect

By 14.1.201929 huhtikuun, 2019Ei vielä kommentteja

I’ve seen many people from the nearby buildings moving in and out.  Undoubtedly, January is one of the busiest months in Turku due to the arrival of all the international students.

It’s exciting, indeed, to start all over in a different country: expectations are high, but, do we really know what to expect?

What I was stressed out about….

One of the biggest concerns I had when I had a few days left in Mexico, was one small sentence I found, while looking for more information of TYS and the apartments, it was something like: ”shared apartment, furnitured, no mattress included”.

“No mattress?!” I thought. Sleepless nights, thinking how in the world, an apartment with no mattress would be. I told myself that maybe I was misunderstanding something, and “mattress” would have a different meaning in Finland.

But, surprise! When I arrived, I discovered the meaning of mattress was the same, all around the world. So I was there, after more than 40 hours of traveling, without internet, in a room with a bed WITH NO MATTRESS, a desk with a chair, a closet and a shelf…

To be honest, I really didn’t know what it was to start all over, since I have always been in places with everything I need and more (aka, my parents’ house), so finding out that an apartment wouldn’t have a mattress or a pillow, not even a fork in the kitchen, was shocking. Luckily (because I’m the luckiest girl in the world), my friend S was right next to me and since she had been living in Turku for over 20 days before my arrival, she invited me to stay at her place and that’s how I survived my first night in Turku.

Next day, she took me to different places and got the very basic stuff I needed to survive for the first days.

In case you aren’t as lucky as I was, here’s a list of things to do and places to go to:

Get a new SIM card.

Even though all the apartments in TYS have a cable to connect your laptop to the internet, I couldn’t connect mine because it simply didn’t fit, so I had no internet at all. Think about it, being in a whole different country with no GPS or anything useful, might be a nightmare. So please, go to Rkioski (little stores, the supermarket type) and get a SIM card with internet. In my case, I pay 29 every month for unlimited 4G, calls and messages, but there are different companies with different options that might fit better for you.

Go to IKEA.

In my country there’s no IKEA, so I was panicking when I pictured myself, carrying a giant mattress from god-knows-where to my new apartment. I had no idea I could get a cheap mattress from IKEA. It’s folded and very light, so you don’t even have to struggle much with it in the buses. You can get dishes and forks and most of the things you’ll need for the kitchen, I got plates and bowls for as cheap as 1 euro.

Trust me, IKEA will me your best friend on the first week.


Go to the bank.

As soon as you arrive, please go to the nearest bank and ask for information about what you need to open a bank account. It’s easier to pay the rent from your own Finnish account, rather than making an international transfer, and the rent can’t be paid by cash.

Opening an account may take some time and a few documents, so please, make sure to visit the bank ASAP. In my case, I opened an account in Nordea, since it’s the only bank with all the information in english, pretty useful for those who don’t speak Finnish!!!

If you go to this places as soon as you arrive, you’ll be more than ready to survive in Finland!