If you ever decide to study abroad, undoubtedly, some difficulties will occur in the beginning. But this shouldn’t let you down! This is very common for every new international student.
Where will I stay? How do I find the accommodation? How do I get to the university? How much does it cost to use the public transportation? How can I get in touch with my new colleagues? How the health services are working in Finland? What papers do I need to bring with me? Will my university provide all the materials for studying or do I need to buy some specific things in advance? These questions may sound familiar.
It is important to take it step by step and not panic! In TAMK there are people whose jobs are to be by your side and guide you along the way, even before you arrive in Finland.
Arriving in Finland
I had a lot of insecurities after I had received my acceptance letter from TAMK. I was very stressed. I had already been studying in France in 2016 as an exchange student and I remembered how tough that time was for me. I felt so lost in the first months there. It was so difficult to find accommodation, to create a bank account, to understand when to go to courses and what are these courses about. It was more or less a mess.
I was expecting that every university has the same long and complicated process. I was very eager to do it right this time. I was prepared. But then, Mirja emailed me. She introduced herself and told me that from now on, she will be my social counsellor, she will guide me and help me.
No matter what type of problem you have – we will find a solution together.” – Mirja
Wow. I was already feeling more relaxed. We started exchanging emails. The most important thing for me was to find a place to stay. The student housing were already full. I was coming with my partner AND a dog. Our flight tickets were already bought. With one week before our departure, we still didn’t have a place to stay. Things were getting serious.
Looking back now, I have no clue what we would have done without Mirja’s help. She was by our side every day. We were looking for apartments together. Mirja was giving phone calls for me and she was talking with all the landlords explaining our situation. We even had some Skype video calls when she went to see some apartments.
*You must be aware of scams! It is good to have someone from Finland helping you with finding your apartment.
It is pretty hard to find a regular accommodation in Finland without being physically there to meet the landlords. There are long queues for the private apartments. Finding rent in Finland takes time and a lot of procedures are required to be done. However, thanks to the student housing companies, students don’t need to bother so much about these issues.
Now I live in a family apartment in Rauhaniemi with my partner and my dog. It is the coolest place I’ve lived so far!”
After a lot of efforts, we finally found a tiny place to stay for the first three months. In that period of time, I was expected to apply for the student housing companies. Now I live in a family apartment in Rauhaniemi with my partner and my dog. It is the coolest place I’ve lived so far! Having a huge forest and a huge lake just 1 min walking distance from my flat it is more like a dream for me!
No matter what, you can always ask Mirja
When I have finally arrived to Tampere, Mirja came with a TAMK van at the bus station. With our huge suitcases, we all headed to our new place. She gave us the key of the apartment, a map with the city and she also explained to me everything I needed to know that time : how to get a bus monthly ticket, how to get to my campus, where is the city centre, etc.
When I moved to Rauhaniemi, it was again Mirja who helped us move all our stuff in the new place. The apartment was completely empty and we were extremely lucky to find out that TAMK has a storage box in the Main Campus. In there, we found almost all the furniture and kitchen objects what we need. There are also Facebook groups (e.g Hervanta Sales) and other websites where people are donating or selling their stuff at very small prices (see the links below).
She gave us the key of the apartment, a map with the city and she also explained to me everything I needed to know that time.”
The entire process was incredibly smooth! It was great to know that no matter what problem I might encounter, my social counsellor will be there for me. From that moment on, all I needed to do was to focus on my studies!
Every time I have a question, I still email Mirja. We arrange a meeting at her office in the Main Campus and we solve the problem.