Student Culture

The Academic Quarter: classes at the University of Helsinki generally begin 15 minutes after the time on the schedule and end 15 minutes earlier (i.e. 1215-1345 rather than 1200-1400). You might want to go to the first course early just in case, but don’t stress if your instructor or classmates don’t arrive on time!


Exams: Whether written or via essay, evaluations in Finland are much less stressful and the focus is on learning the material completely. It’s often a possibility to arrange for another sitting if you are not satisfied with your grade. Regardless, it’s important to communicate with your instructors and take care of your own mental health!


What’s with these overalls? Based on a Swedish tradition that came to Finland around 30 years ago, many university students buy and wear overalls in the color of their discipline. You can purchase them from your faculty (if you’re in the social sciences, CISSI will advertise the sale to its members) and decorate them with patches from different organizations and events. One key rule: never ever wash your overalls!


Keep your Facebook notifications on: Many student groups (including CISSI) and other informal events are advertised and organized through Facebook. Even apartment complexes have their own pages. If you’d like to be more involved make sure to check events happening near you or follow organizations you are interested in😊


Vappu (Valborg): the largest student festivity falls on April 30 and May 1 every year. It celebrates the national holiday, Labour Day. University students typically wear their overalls and white graduation caps to the central park. Make sure you are in town!


More: If you’d like to learn more about Finnish university life, here’s a fun video featuring both overalls and white caps