Your new home town
Your new home town may feel foreign at first, but don’t be afraid to get out there and explore! You can always turn to Google Maps to get to your destination or back home, if necessary. The easiest ways to get about in Turku are by foot, by Föli bus and by Föli city bike. If you want to enjoy the local nature, you should head to Ruissalo, the Halistenkoski rapids or the Katariinanlaakso nature reserve. If the weather is warm and you’re hankering for a swim, you can find public beaches in Hirvensalo, Ruissalo and Uittamo, among other places.
For the freshest – and most affordable – fruit and vegetables in the city, look no further than the vendors at the Market Square. Apart from Lidl, the city’s large grocery shops are located away from the city centre, but close enough to be easily reachable by bike. The K-Citymarket in Kupittaa is open 24/7, making it the perfect choice if you don’t have time to shop during the day.
Tips for getting about
You should always lock your bicycle in Turku. Bikes are frequently stolen or ‘borrowed,’ so the sooner you invest in a u-lock, the better. If you’re looking to get yourself a new bike, the police auction is a reliable place to purchase one. The conditions of the bikes vary. Föli city bikes are also a convenient mode of transport, if your route happens to coincide with the locations of bike stations. The standard fee includes half an hour of continuous cycling. However, you can reset the 30-minute time limit by returning the bike to a station for a moment. A new addition to the streets of Turku are VOI and Tier electric scooters, which are also a convenient way to get from A to B.
Turku features an extensive bus network, with the punctual yellow Föli buses also ferrying passengers to the neighbouring municipalities for the same fare. Bus tickets include a two-hour right of transfer, and students can pick up a student bus card at the Föli office or at the Study in Turku student fair, for example.
The role of tutors
New students are welcomed by tutors at the start of the orientation period in the autumn. The tutors accompany new students for the first few weeks, serving as guides to the student culture and everyday life of students in Turku. You can ask tutors about anything, whether you’re looking for a route to Ikea or the best places to have lunch. In addition to taking advantage of the knowledge of tutors, you can also turn to older students for information and advice.
If you experience or notice any harassment, immediately report it to a tutor or a harassment contact person, for example. There are harassment contact persons in both student organisations and in the university’s staff. Depending on the severity of the harassment, you can also report it to the police.
Student lunch is primarily served during the day between 11:00 and 15:00. Some lunch venues also serve late lunch until 19:00 or even up to 20:00. Most lunch venues are open Mon–Fri, but some also serve student lunches on Saturdays and sometimes also on Sundays. Restaurants announce their opening hours via their own channels. By presenting your student card, or a certificate of student status at the start of the academic year, you can purchase lunch for a student discount price of €2.60, with the exception of Deli and special dishes. The student discount also applies to special diet dishes.
Confusing student slang
At the start of your university studies, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by all the new words. There’s ‘lipasto,’ overalls, AATU, freshman initiation and sittnings, not to mention all the slang words used in each specific field. Don’t worry if you can’t quite keep up at first, you’ll naturally pick up all the new words over time. Student slang is a lot like student overalls: you can read the stories of older students’ lives on their overalls, from relationships to majors and partying styles.
A flood of events
There are interesting events taking place almost every day, from dawn till dusk. The evenings are filled with sittnings, or sitsit (academic seated parties with singing, food and drink), etkot (pre-parties) and bar parties, not forgetting vätkyt (intervening parties). In addition to student events, the city is also full of other activities in the early autumn, until settling down for a moment before Christmas and the spring.
Hobbies and student associations
There are hundreds of different student associations in Turku, and nearly an equal number of other organisations through which you can enjoy a wide variety of hobbies. As a first-year student, you should take your time and get to know the different associations and their activities. There are associations specialising in all kinds of things, from sports to culture and specific academic subjects. You can take an active role in associations or just participate in events and enjoy the fun. The Study in Turku student fair is the perfect place to meet the local hobby and student associations, and maybe pick up a new hobby. Be sure to visit the fair, which will be held on 29 August from 10:00 to 16:00 at ICT-City (Joukahaisenkatu 3-5).
Turku also offers a wealth of sports and exercise opportunities, from outdoor sports venues to guided exercise. CampusSport is the universities’ shared sports service, which organises things like gym training, guided exercise and time slots for various sports for students in Turku. There is also a wide variety of sports and exercise venues in Turku, from swimming halls to hiking trails. Many venues, such as swimming halls, also offer discounts to student card holders. Turku also has plenty of active sports clubs and associations. There are plenty of opportunities in different sports from casual exercise all the way to serious competitions.
In Turku, students have access to both student health care services (YTHS, Kirkkotie 13) and Turku’s municipal health care services. Students primarily use YTHS’s services (except students of universities of applied sciences). In emergency situations, you should primarily turn to municipal emergency services or TYKS. TYKS’s emergency clinic is located at T-hospital (Savitehtaankatu 1, Turku).
The allure of the riverside or the peace of the parks
The best and most popular recreational venues in Turku include Kupittaa Park, the riverside and Ruissalo. These three places are frequented by many of the city’s residents when the weather is good, and the areas are also popular among joggers all year round. Turku City Library’s Main Library is located at a beautiful spot by the river in the city centre. It is a popular place for reading and studying, with the building itself being a mix of the old and the new. There is also a café in the library.
Cuisine in the best locations in the city
Turku is a veritable treasure trove for food lovers. The city also has a wide variety of cafés both big and small, some of which stay open late into the night. Smaller favourites include Fabbes Cafe, Kirjakahvila, Kembuz Cafe and Cafe Art. In the summer, the Espresso House terrace attracts visitors to the pedestrian street and Coffee House in the corner of Wiklund stays open well into the night. There are constantly new cafés popping up in the city, so don’t be afraid to try out new places.
The most notable classic student pubs are Proffan Kellari and Portti. Beer and cider lovers should also check out Cosmic Comic Cafe, Alvar or Kerttulin kievari. Pub Kuka and Bar Ö are local classics where you can enjoy alternative music in particular. Arguably the best drinks in the city can be found at Cow and Bar 4. Marilyn and Vegas are popular night clubs for student parties. Edison and Fontti add to the pub and bar selection in the city centre. These are just a few highlights; there’s plenty more to discover!
Turku also has a wide variety of restaurants, from fine dining to burgers. Popular eateries include Pub Niska, Blanko, Kuori and Woolshed. Popular ethnic restaurants include Yangtze, Maneerat, VG-Wok and Pho Ngon. As is the case with pubs and cafés, new restaurants are popping up all the time, and the best way to find your favourite is to try them out. Many restaurants also serve lunch, which is an affordable way to sample their offerings.