A glimpse into Finnish student life

What badges and overalls mean to a Finnish student and what is the most important and anticipated event for them?

Hi, I’m Maria, lthough I’m not a full-blooded Finn and because of this it’s hard for me to approach this blog post, I decided to write about student life in Finland.

In universities, we see very strongly the use of different-colored overalls on which we sew different badges. They can be found at various student events, companies, bars, clubs and subject organizations, as well as bought online, and you can also produce your own signs.


My overalls and unstitched and stitched badges (Photo by Maria Niemelä)



The most important and awaited celebration for students is Vappu! It is customary that the previous week or even the entire previous month before May 1st is celebrated with various smaller to larger student events organized by clubs and subject organizations.


The center of Tampere on May Day (Photo by Maria Niemelä)


I dreamed about this event myself since I was a child. Because no one in my family previously had a higher education in Finland. The understanding of what May Day is hasn’t really opened up for me yet. But for it’s like eating Tippaleipä, sit all day in the park, drink Sima with your own cap on, and buy the coolest May Day balloon.


A double secondary degree cap with a professional ribbon (left), an engineer’s cap (right) and a student ID, i.e. overalls (Photo by Maria Niemelä)
Photo by Maria Niemelä
Sitting in the park with wine (not Sima) and other snacks
​(Photo by Maria Niemelä)



I would summarize Finnishness in three adjectives guts, calmness and sense of purpose. Also for me, the first things that come to mind about being Finnish in general are nature, sauna and snow.


Hole in the ice (Photo by Maria Niemelä)





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