Turku is a city of 40,000 students and six institutions of higher education, with events and activities offered every day. The year follows a cycle of student events. These events give you the opportunity to get to know other students and the city, in addition to helping you find hobbies and make unforgettable memories.

Events and activities create sense of belonging

Student unions organize services like tutoring as well as free-time activities like sports events, cultural excursions and academic and leisure activities for students.

During the academic year you may find a lot of students gathering together on streets of Turku wearing colorful overalls. Overalls are an unique part of the Finnish student culture and each student organization has their own color. The overalls are usually worn at student parties, excursions and events.

Annual student events in Turku


Anniversaries are a valuable part of the festive traditions of student unions and organisations. In Turku, anniversaries are not celebrated by newly founded organisations but by time-honoured ones, including Åbo Akademis studentkår (ÅAS), which is celebrating its 99th anniversary this year, and the Student Union of the University of Turku (TYY), which will hold its 96th anniversary celebration in the autumn. The celebrations usually involve formal wear, as the events include a cocktail reception, dinner, a dance party, an afterparty and a ‘herring breakfast’.


Sitsit, i.e. an academic dinner party, is an important part of student culture. Each higher education institution and student organisation has their own sitsit traditions, but the parties are always notable events, with their own songbooks, etiquette and themes. Last autumn, Turku hosted the first Grand Sitsit event for both students and residents of Turku at Turku Market Square. The event will be held again this year, though in a different place.

May Day

May Day, or vappu in Finnish, is the highlight of the spring in Turku after a long winter. May Day often takes place in the middle of a multi-day cluster of celebrations, with the traditions varying between different student organisations. On Walpurgis Night, students and other residents of the city gather together to put on their student caps. TYY holds the annual TYYlikäs vappu event at Turku Art Museum, turning the entire Aurakatu into a sea of white caps when the call ‘students, put on your caps!’ rings out at six o’clock. For many of the city’s residents, this moment marks the official start to spring. This ‘capping’ ceremony is held in Swedish in Vartiovuorenmäki and broadcast across the nation. On May Day, the entire student city gathers in Vartiovuorenpuisto in large numbers for a picnic.

Lost is Turku

LOST IN TURKU- mystery orienteering path is great way to get to know the cultural- and everyday life services by the City of Turku as well as associations and organizations in Turku. Lost in Turku takes place in spring.

Riverside pub crawl event AATU

AATU, or Aurajokilaivuritutkinto (lit. Aura River skipper’s degree), is a springtime event that attracts busloads of students to Turku from across Finland. The banks of the Aura River become filled with students who come to enjoy the end of the academic year by taking a tour of the riverboats, which earns them a mock degree. The event also includes a public declaration of peace for the summer holidays for all students in Finland.

Study in Turku fair

Held at the start of the academic year, this fair familiarises new students with the city’s services and recreational opportunities. The fair introduces the students to the services of the City of Turku, local companies, associations and student organisations. The programme traditionally includes a sightseeing tour that takes the students to see the most important services and sights in Turku.  

Welcome parties and initiation ceremonies

Student organisations welcome exchange students and new degree students by holding welcome parties as well as initiation ceremonies, or ‘baptisms’, which can be seen in the street scene of Turku in September.


TurkuGether events are intended to introduce international students to the cultural and recreational opportunities available in Turku.

Student Christmas

In a student city, you can also spend Christmas with friends. Student Christmas is especially intended for international students residing in the city.


Shrovetide, or laskiainen in Finnish, is a traditional winter celebration that gathers students together. Held in Puolalanpuisto, Pikkulaskiainen is one of the largest student events in Finland. Fastlaskiainen is an event organised by TYY, TUO, ÅAS and Novium that is held in Vartiovuorenmäki on Shrove Tuesday. The programme includes a sledging competition and a traditional competition of tug of war between student unions and organisations.

And everything else!

The student unions in Turku have hundreds of subject- and discipline-specific sub-organisations and recreational organisations. Each week, they hold an enormous number of events and  recreational and other activities, ranging from sports facility bookings to game nights, Nintendo clubs, choirs, photography and anime. You will never run out of activities and things to do. You will definitely find like-minded people. International students also have their own student organisations to help them feel at home in Turku. See you in the student city of Turku!

Read more about the student city: student unios, freetime activities and affordable for students