When I first arrived in Finland, I stayed in a three-shared apartment in Hallinen area. After six months or so, Hallinen area went through a renovation, so I moved to Student Village West – where I am living now. Since then, I have been living in a single-room, and sharing the common kitchen with 11 other tenants. After experiencing both living situations, there are certain times I miss having roommates. Certainly, living in a shared apartment can be a very rewarding and memorable episode in your college journey.
The joy of having housemates’ companionships
While it’s true that living with other people can be a source of stress and difficulty, there are plenty of benefits when sharing an apartment with someone else. Having their great company when you first move to the city and not knowing anyone can be one of the best things. Moving to a new city, or a new country, can be quite scary and exciting at the same time.
In my case, I arrived in Turku airport at mid-night, weary after a long journey. It was a rainy night, and there weren’t many people on the street. Even though it was autumn still, the weather was already cold and the roads were icy. I remembered then that my room was unfurnished, and I would have to spend the night on a cold hard floor. Everything was different, and missing my cozy, familiar room back home just made it worse. Gathering myself together, I opened the door, and welcomed me was my housemate and my first friend in Finland. Fortunately, my first night in a new country went peacefully. My housemate lent me a mattress, a pillow and a blanket so I didn’t have to spend the night on the floor. She showed me around the apartment, and I felt a lot like home after awhile.
The pros of living with others
Almost three years later, I couldn’t imagine how differently things would go for my first night in Finland without the company of a housemate. It would certainly be less fun and memorable. Thanks to her, I didn’t have to spend my first week sleeping on the floor, not knowing how the shower, the oven or the stoves work, where the trashes go or even where the laundry could be done. There were many other things I wouldn’t have known, or it might have taken me a lot longer to know, without her help. More importantly, it is the feeling when you come home at the end of the day. Having someone to share your experiences with, or just simply saying hellos every morning, is pure joy.
Few weeks later, my second housemate moved in. It was a delight to meet and get to know her too. Even though our time sharing the apartment was quite short, and we didn’t get to do a lot of ”housemate stuff” together, yet it was still an unforgettable time for me. Having housemates means that you won’t be alone when you’re sick, there are always someone to share your housework with, and cleaning together could be a very fun activity. In my case, I also had a chance to learn about their fields and studying experiences. Later on when I live by myself, there were mornings I realised how nice it was to have someone to share the coffee with, or just simply talked about random, nonsense things and laughed with.
With that being said, there is no way to guarantee that you would have just fun-fun joy-joy moments with your housemates. There might be cases when your personalities clash, misunderstandings, even culture-shocks. There are certain ways to limit the potential troubles, however. One thing I learnt is that clear and straightforward communication is very important in all kinds of relationships. This is especially more essential when you live with someone from a different country. Spend sometime to talk to your housemates, get to know them, and together establish some common rules. Be clear of your expectation, and communicate your needs. Don’t assume your housemates to just ”know what to do” since they might have no clue.
Be mindful and respectful when there are some conflicts. Approach your housemates with clear communication of what bother you: is that the dirty dishes or they forget to change the toilet rolls again? Living in a shared-apartment can be very valuable for you when it comes to communication and compromise. It will even prepare you for the future when you share your life with a ”permanent” roommate – aka your life-partner ;).
Student Village West in a beautiful spring day
Sharing a home with others can be a very fun and memorable experience in your college life. Make the best out of it, because they might become your life-long friends , who ”survive” those collage years with you.
Hello blog readers! Thank you for stopping by. I am a Vietnamese student at UTU majoring in Education, loving and living life here in Turku , Finland. I’m gonna write about the exciting life of an international student who’s trying to complete her degrees while learning to appreciate the Finnish weathers <3.