Last Updated: March 27, 2022
Study in Turku, Finland
The peaceful city, Turku, is a city beside the Archipelago Sea having the world's most beautiful group of islands. Finland's former capital city, Turku provides a flexible work-life structure to its citizens. This city has a lot to offer to its international students apart from being an acclaimed destination of higher education studies. The city is well known for many things such as the rich historic culture, multilingual society, good transport linkages with other cities, and the student village that makes it a student-friendly city.
Benefits of Studying in Turku
Life can be very difficult when students move to a new city. The core values and culture can be very different from one's own, but Turku is a student-friendly destination. Some of the benefits of studying in Turku are:
- International students who are members of the Student Union can make use of the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) provided by the University of Turku.
- Turku is a city of historical sites, natural landscapes, and contemporary art and craft. It is a popular study destination for many students.
- many events take place throughout the year, to make international students comfortable with the local culture.
- Students, on showing their student cards can have their meal at discounted rates in some selected restaurants.
- The commute cannot be a problem in Turku. Students living within the 8-10 km range can just cycle around to go to the college or workplace. The city is well-connected by local transportation.
Places to Live in Turku
As compared to other countries, most of the universities in Finland do not provide housing facilities, so many housing options have cropped up to provide international students with affordable housing options. Some universities like the Abo Akademi University provide housing at Tavasthem Student Residence, but for other universities, the students will have to look out for accommodation options on their own.
Many students live in apartments that are managed by the Student Village Foundation of Turku. The Student Village Foundation of Turku or TYS provides thousands of apartments in around 20 locations within the city, most of these locations being around the universities. The Student Village is one such establishment that houses roughly 4,000 people. It is the largest student housing complex in entire Finland. It is located close to both, the Abo Akademi University and the University of Turku. The cost of an apartment will depend upon the type of apartment, and if the student is willing to share the space.
Another option would be to look for private housing options, which are hard to come by but an option on the table. There are many websites where property owners list a room or an apartment for rent, for example, Airbnb. This option is relatively more expensive.
Other less popular options include Retrodorm, which is an accommodation option for exchange students.
Cost of Living in Turku
Finland, in general, is a student-friendly country and promotes higher education for international students. International students must register in their university's Student Union. Students get a Student Discount Card upon paying the membership dues. This paid membership provides the students with a horde of discounts and access to free activities, that would otherwise cost them a substantial amount. Some of those benefits include subsidized lunch at various restaurants, discounted transport Foli tickets, and access to sports and other activities. That being said, students can expect to spend an amount of 500-700 EUR/month on basic monthly expenses. In the beginning, students might face difficulties staying up to that budget, as it takes time to adjust to a new place, but after that life in Turku is reasonable.
Accommodation and Utility Expenses
Most of the universities do not have on-campus accommodation, but the Student Union works endlessly to provide affordable housing options to international students. Most of the students choose to live in the apartments provided by TYS for at least the first year and then move on to other options.
The housing options managed by the Student Village Foundation of Turku are affordable and cost around 300 - 600 EUR per month. Almost all of them include internet, water, electricity cost in the rent. Students can apply for accommodation here, even before applying to the universities. This is because there is usually a waitlist of 6 months to 1 year.
Renting from the private market can be a costly affair. Many online websites provide private housing options but they can be expensive and unreliable.
Registering at the Student Union provides students the option to get subsidized meals at a bunch of restaurants. The cost of a subsidized meal is around 2.60 EUR. Students can always get basic grocery items from the local shops if one wants to save money. An estimated price list of some of the basic daily used grocery items are:
- Milk € 0.9-1.00/Liter
- Rice € 2.00/Kg
- Banana € 1.5/Kg
- Onion € 1.45/Kg
- Apple € 2.00-3.00/Kg
- Tomato € 3.00/Kg
- Potato € 1.15/Kg
Traveling using public transportation is cheap in Turku. Bus and water bus transportation, known as Foli is the most popular mode of transportation, and students who live in the Foli municipalities can avail themselves of student discounts while traveling. To get the student discount, they can purchase a re-loadable card for 5 EUR and top it up with the ticket they want to use:
- Single trip of up to 2 hours (day time): € 1.70
- Single trip of up to 2 hours (night time): € 2.70
- 30 day ticket: € 38
- 10 day ticket: € 18
In addition, there is a full day ticket available for 8 EUR for all adults. People can purchase this ticket for up to 7 days. A 7 day ticket costs 26 EUR.
Other popular options include renting bikes, electric scooters, cars, and electric rickshaws called Biketaxi. If students want to go across the Aura River, there is a free ferry service called Fori.
Universities in Turku
There are 2 universities and 4 UAS (Universities of Applied Sciences) in Turku.
University of Turku
With over 20,000 students on-campus, among which almost half of them are enrolled in Bachelor's degree, and over 3,000 staff members, University of Turku provides degree and non-degree courses in 8 different faculties, namely:
- Social Sciences
Various Master's and Doctorate degrees are offered in these faculties, along with Bachelor's degrees offered in Education and Social Sciences.
Abo Akademi University
With over 5,000 students on-campus, among which 4,000 are enrolled in Bachelor's degree, and over 1,000 staff members, Abo Akademi University is the only university outside Sweden that offers all programs exclusively in the Swedish language. All the specialties are broadly broken down into 4 faculties, out of which only 3 are present in the Turku campus, namely:
- Arts, Psychology, And Theology
- Science And Engineering
- Social Sciences, Business, And Economics
There are various language degrees offered as well, for example, Master's in Finnish and German language. The class sizes are very small and the student-to-teacher ratio is much lower compared to other universities, owing to the language restriction.
Turku University of Applied Sciences
With a strong multi-diverse community of over 10,000 students and 700 staff members, Turku University of Applied Sciences provides several Master's and Bachelor's programs in English, but the majority of the programs are offered in Finnish. There is also an option to earn double degree programs in the fields of ICT, business, and engineering. The 3 faculties are:
- Arts Academy
- Engineering and Business
- Health and Well-being
Students can also add to their knowledge and develop working skills through open courses offered by Turku UAS. These are not full-time courses and will not lead to a complete degree but students who wish to gain some extra knowledge can enroll in these programs.
Novia University of Applied Sciences
With over 4,500 students and 300+ staff members, Novia UAS has 4 campuses in the country, one of them being in Turku. This university of applied sciences offers Bachelor's and Master's degree programs in the following faculties:
- Technology and Seafaring
Humak University of Applied Sciences
With over 2,000 students on-campus, this university has 4 campuses. The Turku campus provides degrees in the following faculties:
- Community Educator
- Cultural Manager
All but one course is offered in Finnish which can only be taken by students who are fluent in the language. Only Bachelor of Adventure and Outdoor Education is the course offered in English at the Turku campus.
Diaconia University of Applied Sciences
This university operates on five campuses in Finland- Turku, Oulu, Helsinki, Pori, and Pieksamaki. Health care, Interpreting, Diaconal Work, and Social Work are some of the fields this university provides degrees in. A work-oriented university, Turku campus offers Bachelor's and Master's level programs in Community Interpreting and Sign Language and Interpreting.
Entertainment Options in Turku
A city of many secret picnic spots, Turku has several tourist attractions and historic sites. Students can hang out with friends, cycle, and roam around the pathways of the Aura River. They can plan a day out at the Turku water park, enjoy visiting the beer garden at the brewery and do some adventurous tasks at the adventure park. Students can also avail the benefits of student discounts in sports places, city museums, and theatres and enjoy the lively shopping market and energetic nightlife of the city. In addition, the various Turku events that happen throughout the year prove to be a good entertainment option for students.
Career Events and Support Programs in Turku
Be it the Turku study fair that organizes an orientation program for the new students and introduces them to the career opportunities in Turku or the friendship program that connects the non-native students with the natives of the Turku region, these events help students in finding a suitable career for themselves. There are many virtual events also that are being organized for career-oriented students. All of these events are free of cost and only require the participants to register in advance to secure a spot.
- Study in Turku fair- This annual fair is organized to introduce the new students to the local businesses and organizations. It allows the students to analyze their prospects in the city.
- Welcome to Turku- events for international newcomers- There are a bunch of entertaining events organized throughout the year for internationals to get familiar with the culture of the city.
- RekryExpo- Held twice a year, the RekryExpo is held at Turku Fair Center which is around 5 km from the city downtown. It is a good opportunity for people to meet potential employers and recruiters and learn about the job market. Entry to the event is free and there are over 40 employers looking to network with the job seekers.
- Study and Stay in Turku- Held annually, Study and Stay in Turku is an event where international alumni come and share their experiences while studying in Turku. There is also a recording of each year's past event for students to look at long after the event has taken place.
- Tech Turku Week- Organized by Turku Science Park Ltd., this week-long event showcases ICT-based projects by the students and prominent speakers in the tech field.
- How to become an entrepreneur in Finland- This is a free online business course offered by Humak University of Applied Sciences. International students can present their idea and they are guided during this 3-4 month course into making their idea into fruition.
- The Friendship Programme- Organized by the city of Turku and the educational institutions in the city, this program is held twice a year. The goal is to have the international students become friends with a local. The program aims to partner an international student with a local person or family so that each can benefit from the other and learn about the culture and behaviors of the other's country. It is a great way for internationals to become familiar with the locals while the Turku locals get an insight into the outside world.
Places to Visit in Turku
Turku is well-known for the historic attractions that date back to the 1400 century or earlier. These buildings have been renovated to withstand the test of time. There are also natural attractions that attract people to this beautiful city.
- Ruissalo Island- Turku university’s botanical garden is one of the major contributors to the beauty of the Ruissalo Islands. There are amazing villas, sandy beaches, and natural pathways to the oak forest that can be a summer treat for the students who wish to plan for a one-day trip. The easiest way to access this island is by biking across Ruissalon puistotie bridge.
- Turku Castle- One of the oldest buildings of Turku, Turku castle is the national monument of the Turku city. It played several roles as an administrative center, a palace, a warehouse, among others. There have been numerous events and exhibitions that exhibit the history of the castle. The entrance fee is about 12 EUR/person for adults. There's a museum shop in the castle where one can buy books, textiles, jewelry and, many other things as souvenirs.
- Turku Cathedral- This huge monument holds a distinguished place in the list of best tourist spots of Turku. Lying along the riverbanks of the Aura River, it is not very far from the city's center known as the market square. There's no entry fee for the church but there's a museum also in the cathedral premises speaking a lot about the history behind the construction of the cathedral and so the students will be asked for an entrance charge of 2 EUR/person to visit the museum. They can also enjoy the delicacies of a small cafe located within the premises.
- The Qwensel House- It is the oldest wooden house of Turku, which is why it has been preserved as such, with much of the ancient charm intact. It has been converted to a pharmacy museum after its owner, Josef Gustav Pipping, who was a surgeon.
Things to Do in Turku
For a student, who is new to the city and wants to be familiar with the lifestyle of the Turku locals, and their interests and beliefs, this city offers a wide variety of options.
- There are many cafes and restaurants along the riverside in Turku, so students can pass their time trying out new dishes and cuisines at some of the best restaurants and explore the food culture of Turku.
- Students who love doing outdoor yoga or are interested in taking part in recreational activities can go to the several public parks in Turku.
- A student who is a book lover can never get disappointed because of the large number of public libraries this place has.
- Adventure Park is full of outdoor activities for adults and kids alike.
- multiple music events take place in Turku throughout the year. Students can take part in rock concerts or enjoy listening to live shows.
- Cycling along the beautiful pathways and exploring every corner of this lovely city is another thing a student can do.
- Students can also visit the Turku market hall which is the oldest shopping center of the city having milk shops, fish and meat counters, restaurants and cafes, bakeries providing mouthwatering delicacies, etc.