Is Turku a good place for foreign students?

Vieraskynä / Visiting author | 30.8.2020

Do you ever wonder what newcomers think about the City of Turku or its inhabitants? To answer all your questions, Ambre - an exchange student herself -, met Darya, Anna and Marie. They are exchange students, who arrived in Turku in January 2020. Due to COVID-19 they had to return back home early, yet they still have fond memories of the city and want to share their tips for new exchange students.

Don't trust your first impression

My first impression was “Wow it is such an industrial city”, tells Darya from Russia.

When I arrived (to Turku), I was a bit shocked. My plane landed late, and I got from the taxi to a hostel located in the city center and the hostel was not in the nicest part of the city.” -Anna from Germany.

Tiredness and their arrival in the middle of the night did not help our exchange students to appreciate the city from the first sight. Nevertheless, they all agree that this first impression quickly faded. Finnish magic happened!

Now that it has been nearly two months that I have been living here I can say that I really like the city.”, says Marie from France.

Beautiful Turku Cathedral in Turku, Finland
Turku Cathedral, the most symbolic monument of the city according to the exchange students. © Ambre/CYF

What made the international students appreciate the city most were the proximity to nature, the fact that the city is small and that everything can be done by foot, and the presence of many cafes and restaurants.

I like the fact that Turku is a small city and you can walk everywhere. You can also go outside for example to an island really quickly which is pretty nice.”, tells Anna from Germany.

Turku is a very nice city, very quiet”, says Darya from Russia.

Another advantage is that the city is really made for students. For example, you have a lot of universities, you have restaurants, you have sports halls…just for students. That's big advantage.”, explains Marie from France.

Colorful building at Vähätori square in Turku
The Linnankatu street with many cafés. Students like to hang out in these hoods. © Ambre/CYF

Living comfortably in the Student Village

Like many students in Turku, Darya, Anna and Marie are housed in the Student Village. They find the neighborhood pleasant and enjoy its location. Its proximity to the city centre, to universities and to supermarkets allows them to do everything on foot or by bike.

There are also some supermarkets close to the student Village but the one at the end of the street is quite expensive. You can also go to the city centre which is only a 20-minute walk.”, remarks Marie from France.

The Student Village has a very good location because I just have to walk 20 minutes to be at the university. It is very convenient for me. The city centre is also near which is really good.”, chirps Darya from Russia.

Bicycles in front of a building in Student Village in Turku
Most of the students are going around the city by bike. Just remember to carefully lock your bike! © Ambre/CYF

They all agree that living in the Student Village is a great opportunity to get and meet friends. Sharing the kitchen with other students helps to create strong relationships and not being stuck lonely inside four walls all day (unfortunately this we have gotten quite used to during the previous months!).

I think that the Student Village is a great combination between living alone and living with people because you have your own room with bathroom and fridge, but if you want to meet people you can go in the kitchen. That is really nice!”, explains Anna from Germany.

Note! Some apartments in Student village have shared kitchen and studio apartments include also the private kitchen.

Red colored apartment building and lush trees in Student Village, Turku
Sunny day at Student Village, Turku. © CYF

The only cloud on the horizon: the cost of living

Despite all positive points mentioned, there is still a shadow in the picture: the price of living. Compared to many other European countries it is much higher in Finland.

It is more expensive than Berlin”, says Anna from Germany.

Prices here are higher than in my country. For example, I bought a cup of coffee for 5€ which is very expensive!”, Darya from Russia points out.

Nevertheless, full of resources, our exchange students have developed techniques to spend less money. Here are some of their tips:

I will recommend Lidl (Eerikinkatu 4) because this supermarket is really cheap compared to others. It is really useful for students.”, advises Marie from France.

I will recommend to attend the “Eat week” (Syö Turku - some restaurants serve 10€ dishes during this week). That is really cheap.”, Anna from Germany points out.

Do not hesitate to make an ESN student card to have special discounts. It is really worth it!”, encourages Darya from Russia.

Tips to thrive in Turku

I will just suggest that you should go out of your bedroom to meet people and to discover new places. Do not hesitate to go in the city without any plans to discover new places. Also, don't be shy and try to talk to Finnish people even if sometimes it's quite complicated but do not hesitate to ask your student tutor for Finnish tips and yeah just enjoy Finland!”, says Marie from France encouragingly.

View to Aura River in Turku in winter
We all love summer time, but the winter in Finland is also an experience worth trying! © Ambre / CYF

-Ambre (an exchange student from TUAS & intern in Know Your Hoods)

P.S. You can get familiar with the neighborhoods of Turku region with the help of our free search engine! Check out also our guide to local transport in Turku and tips for sport and outdoor activities.


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