Rocking Helsinki: Summer School Style!

So, it was about this time two years ago I got an email accepting me to my course at the University of Helsinki! I remember shaking with shock, excitement and disbelief! There were excited phone calls made and I remember checking out the campus on google street view with a friend.

Shortly after, there came an interesting offer of joining the summer school, there was a Finnish course specifically for new master’s students. I decided it was a good time to find my feet, hopefully make a few friends and learn some language skills, even better was that the credits counted towards my final degree so that was a head start. As a side note, you don’t need Finnish to survive here, English is widely used but it’s nice to have a little understanding and you’ll look like a genius going home and speaking Finnish, even if you only order a coffee.

In short, I had an amazing time! I made lots of friends who are here doing their degree but also I keep in touch with other people I met during the summer school parties and events. Summer school appeals to so many people and has such a wide variety of courses that the social events are not to be missed. The people involved are the most eclectic and interesting bunch to get to know. The first day I attended the grand opening, we were warmly welcomed with fun entertainment, a group photo and a social gathering afterwards. We were given name badges with our course on and it was a good talking point, especially finding someone on the same course.

(Photo: Linda Tammisto)

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Adventures Ahoy!

They say being born in Finland is like winning a lottery. I say studying in Finland is better. No amount of money can beat the amount of new friends, adventures, and experiences studying here will give you. During the summer you will get a letter from your tutor, but I wanted to greet you with a few welcoming words first.

The University of Helsinki is one of the best universities in the world. This is not only my opinion. The university has been several times ranked among the top 100 universities in the world. We are known particularly for the quality and amount of research. At the University of Helsinki, all teachers participate in research. Believe it or not, our best professors can also be our best teachers!

To keep business and pleasure in balance, the University of Helsinki has an active student life. With over 35 000 students, there is always something happening. Running in the forest with a map and a compass, wine tasting with surgeons, bar touring dressed up in overalls, taking a cruise to Sweden with your fellow students… All of this and a lot more is organised by the students of our university. If you get tired of student life, the city of Helsinki has also a variety of sights and attractions to offer. There are plenty of parks, museums, shopping malls, and cafes where you can take a break and have a moment to yourself. And then return to student life.

It is normal to feel nervous before starting studies in a new country. There is a lot to do and to remember in a new city with new people. This is why we have tutors, students at the University of Helsinki who are trained to take care of you and help you with your journey into the academic and student life. All the questions about certificates, documents, course registrations, and campus area are answered by the tutors. They also take you to the best parties and organise hangouts. A tutor is someone whose goal is to make you feel welcome and like home here.

We are all looking forward to meeting you at the end of August. Let the adventure begin!

Supertutor Eeva Leino, Faculty of Medicine

New Student – Make Sure You Come to the Welcome Fair!

Welcome FairIn no time at all it will be the 12th of January and we will be able to greet all our new exchange and visiting students here at the University of Helsinki!

Your exchange experience will begin with a visit to the Welcome Fair on next week’s Thursday, as well as your Faculty orientation. So you need to take part in both! Remember to bring your official ID (passport, ID card) with you – otherwise you won’t be able to get all of the official matters out of the way.

The Welcome Fair is the perfect place to get to know the University and the Campuses as well as to get all the official matters out of the way. The venue for the Welcome Fair in January 2017 is the Language Centre of the University of Helsinki (address: Fabianinkatu 26). Please see our Welcome Fair and orientation week map for locations.

At the Welcome Fair you can among other things:

  • pick up your certificate of attendance and local transport discount certificate,
  • register at the Local Register Office in order to receive a Finnish personal identity code,
  • pick up your user ID for the University computer network,
  • get information on e.g. language courses and on how to register for them,
  • talk to people from the Student Union and student organisations such as the Erasmus Student Network (ESN),
  • and of course meet a lot of new friends!

Those exchange students who have not paid the Student Union fee in advance, should visit the Student Union Customer Service (Mannerheimintie 5 A), where you have the opportunity to pay the Student Union membership fee. You will more information on the website of the Student Union. However we recommend that you pay the fee before your arrival. For payment information please see here. Also remember to bring the receipt with you!

In order for your studies in Helsinki to begin as smoothly as possible, we encourage you to take some time and go through the materials on our New students website. You will find all necessary information on the practicalities there.

The Faculties at the University of Helsinki also arrange Faculty specific orientations. During these you get to know your Faculty and department and get a good start in your studies.

All dates, hours and locations for the different orientations, sessions and the Welcome Fair, are available on the New students website.

We have also created a Facebook event for the Welcome Fair, if you are on Facebook, please join the event and you will see who else is coming:

See you all at the Welcome Fair!

There’s still time to apply for the International Student Grant 2016!

Photo by Veikko Somerpuro

This autumn the University of Helsinki is giving about 50 start-up grants to our international degree students. The International Student Grant, or ISG as we say, is meant for students who are accepted to study in one of the chosen International Master’s Degree Programmes. The amount of each grant will be 1000-1500 euro (paid once) and the application time is open until August 31st 2016 15:00 o´clock (Finnish time GMT +2).

If you are an international degree student moving to Finland from abroad and have already been accepted to the University of Helsinki, you can apply for the grant. You are eligible to apply as soon as you have accepted your placement and registered for studies at the University of Helsinki.

Learn more about the grant and applying for it from the ISG web pages.

Begin your stay in Helsinki with a visit to the Welcome Fair!

Welcome Fair at the University of Helsinki

In no time at all it will be August and we are looking forward to greet all our new international students here at the University of Helsinki.

Your student experience at University of Helsinki will begin with a visit to the Welcome Fair on August 31st or September 1st, 2016, as well as your Faculty orientation. Please note that you will need to take part in both! Remember to bring your official ID (passport, ID card) with you to the Welcome Fair!

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Welcome to learn languages at the Language Centre!

Students at the Language Centre

You can study several languages at the University of Helsinki Language Centre!

The Language Centre offers a wide variety of courses at different levels in 13 languages. You can read more information on course offerings at the Language Centre website. All these language courses are free of charge. Please note that the English courses are intended for degree students only. Regretfully, exchange students do not have a permission to participate in the English language courses.

The Language Centre also offers ALICE (Academic Language and Intercultural Exchange) courses. These tandem language courses provide two language learners who speak different native languages (Finnish/Swedish – Finnish/Spanish/Italian/French/Swedish/German/Russian) an opportunity to learn about each other’s language and culture in an interactive way. Read more about ALICE here.

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Tips for Moving to Helsinki and settling in!

RememberOn arriving at the airport you can take the Finnair bus straight to the town center for around 7€ (…), but the train also leaves from there now as do various buses depending on where you are heading ( And don’t be afraid to ask for help, generally people are very helpful and speak good English here.
The student accommodation can be very plain when you move it so its worth bringing some little touches with you, photos of friends and family, maybe your favourite throw or duvet cover to help you settle in quicker.
The majority of student accommodation is unfurnished, there is the usual suspect of Ikea for cheap furniture but check out the recycling center… There are several of them across the Helsinki area, you can get bigger furniture, linen, pots, pans and dishes etc. They even do a nifty student discount.
And yes winter does get a bit chilly here! If you have a good warm coat and shoes with good grips pack them with you. Things like thermals you can buy pretty cheapily in the supermarket once the colder weather arrives.

And don’t forget your best resources too – the student ambassadors! We have all been in your shoes so please feel free to really ask us anything we are here to help you.

Sara Haapanen, International Student Ambassador

Erasmus in Schools – visit a real Finnish school!

Dear student, Welcome to Finland!

While you are here, would you like to have a possibility to interact easily with Finnish people outside your institution and studies? If so, one option is visiting a real Finnish school where you can experience a Finnish classroom by giving the students lectures as a visiting exchange student.

For exchange- and degree students abroad it is often easier to form contact with fellow exchange students rather than people outside the higher education institution. However, at the end of your exchange period one may notice not having possibilities to meet up with Finns, really experiencing the everyday life of the Finnish people. For this we have a suggestion for you: visiting a Finnish school and its staff & students through Erasmus in Schools –project!

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Welcome Fair – Thank you for visiting and info for exchange students arriving late


The University of Helsinki Welcome Fair for new international students is once again over for this spring term.

A big thank you from all of us at the Student Services and International Exchange Services to you who visited and worked at the fair! Once again, an awesome fair!

All in all almost 300 new international students paid the Welcome Fair a visit. Some photos from the fair can be found on our New Students Facebook page and on the  University of Helsinki Instagram.

Did you miss the Welcome Fair?

In case you missed the Welcome Fair or did not have a chance to get all official things sorted out there, we have gathered a checklist of the things you will need to do after your arrival:

Continue reading “Welcome Fair – Thank you for visiting and info for exchange students arriving late”

Happy holidays from us at the University of Helsinki!

Seasons_Greetings_2015Christmas is just a week away and the activities at the University of Helsinki are quieting down.

Most of the staff is taking a few days off during Christmas and the New Year, so we ask you to be patient if you do not get an answer to your email straight away. Please note that the Faculties are also closed during Christmas and the New Year.

We’ll be back around January 7th and we hope to see all of the new exchange and visiting students at the Welcome Fair on January 14th, 2016! More information on the Welcome Fair and the orientation is available on the Orientation website.

Prepare for your stay in Helsinki!

In order for your studies in Helsinki to begin as smoothly as possible, we encourage you to take some time and go through the materials on our New students website. You will find all necessary information on the practicalities there.

Another great resource is the Orientation Handbook. In it you can find answers to almost all questions that you have regarding your life in Helsinki and studies at UH. Have a look at the PDF version already before your arrival, you will get a hard copy at the Welcome Fair.

Wishing you a peaceful and fun-filled Holiday Season!

International Exchange Services and Student Services