Living in Helsinki

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Shaped by the Baltic, swinging between extremes of dark winters and midsummer sun, and defined by its east-meets-west geography – the Finnish capital is a one-off.
-Lonely Planet, 2016

The price level of Helsinki can be fairly high depending on where you come from, but for example, rent rates do not differ from other European metropolitan cities. Make sure you have enough financial means to pay your rent, personal expenses, transportation costs, meals etc. You should make sure that you make arrangements for adequate funding for your entire period of study before leaving your home country. However, as a student, you have access to several student benefits, which can make your life a little easier!

Cost of living

All students have to pay for their accommodation and living expenses as well as their books and other study materials. The total monthly living expenses of a single student average from 700 to 1000 euros, depending on your spending habits.

The average monthly rent for a single room in a shared student flat ranges from approximately 400€ to 630€ (Unihome oy, 2019). Family flats are also available, but the rent rate (up to 850 € per month) is higher in these non-shared apartments. 

The student status, and especially the Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY) membership, entitles mainly Bachelor and Master’s students to various services at affordable prices as well as to an abundance of student discounts. The discounts for doctoral students are more limited.

Stu­dent Union fee

Student Union membership is voluntary for exchange students. The Student Union membership fee for Bachelor and Master’s students is 100 euros for the 2018-2019 academic year. The right to access the Finnish Student Health Services is included in this fee for Bachelor and Master’s students.

The fee for doctoral students is 45 euros for the 2018-2019 academic year. The fee for doctoral students is smaller because they are not entitled to use the Finnish Student Health Services.

More information on the Student Union membership fee and the benefits and services is available on the Student Union website.

Stu­dent Card

As a member of the Student Union, you will be able to get a Finnish student card which is your means of proving that you're a student in Finland in all situations necessary. You apply for the card on the Frank website; the site guides you through the order process.

You can leave your application as soon as you have been enrolled at the university and you have received your student number. Please note that you have to pay for the student card yourself, the fee for the card is not included in the Student Union membership fee.

Once you have received your Finnish personal identity code, you will be able to download the Frank App and activate a digital student card for free. With the digital student card you are eligible to the same student discounts as with the traditional plastic one.

More information on discounts and benefits available with the student card can be found on the Frank website. For other student discounts, please check directly with the service provider.

Student benefits

Stu­dent lunch

Meals, cafe, refreshments and bakery goods at affordable prices are served in the UniCafe restaurants on campus. Student lunch prices and contact information for the cafeterias can be found on the UniCafe website. Lunch prices for students in 2019 vary between 2,6 - 4,95 €. 

Stu­dent health care

The Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) provides preventive health care, medical care, mental health care, and oral health care for Bachelor and Master’s students at the university. In order for you to have access to the FSHS services, you must be a member of the Student Union (HYY). For more information on the FSHS services, opening hours and possible fees please see theFSHS website.

On the FSHS website there is a lot of useful information on different health topics, e.g. nutrition and exerciseinsomnia and seasonal affective disorder (winter depression).

Dis­counts on pub­lic trans­port

As an exchange student, you are entitled to discounted fares in public transport in the Helsinki metropolitan area as well as in long-distance transport. The discount is only for undergraduate students (Bachelor & Master's).

As a visiting PhD students you can get a travel card meant for local residents by registering your address in Helsinki at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. If you attend the Welcome Fair during the orientation week, you can take care of the registration at their check point. If you are not able to attend the Welcome Fair, you should first pick up the certificate of student status from student services and then visit the Digital and Population Data Services Agency where you can ask for a certificate for temporary place of domicile. Once the place of domicile has been registered, you can visit the HSL office. Please bring with you the certificate of student status, certificate for temporary place of domicile and your passport. Read more about the season ticket prices on the HSL website

Other student benefits

Read more about the Other student benefits

Health care and well-being

Read more under the theme health care and well-being e.g. about the following topics: the student health services, Unisport, mental well-being, prayer rooms and culture schok.

Fin­an­cing of stud­ies

Exchange students can ask their home university about scholarships for outgoing students. Home universities inform students about funding opportunities for their own outgoing exchange students. Erasmus and Nordplus grants are always awarded to students in their home country. Please contact the International Affairs or equivalent at your home institution or your own department for more information on grants and other benefits they may be offering.

Visiting students, who come to study at the University outside the exchange programmes or without any institutional or departmental agreements between their home institution and the University of Helsinki, have to finance their studies themselves.

Work­ing while study­ing

International exchange and degree students are allowed to work during their stay in Finland - with certain restrictions. The restrictions have to do with the nationality (EU/EEA or non-EU/EEA) and the nature of employment. Please also note that when working in Finland, you have to pay taxes on your income.

Read more about working while studying on the instructions for students website.

Helsinki - a city full of life

See what visitFinland or My Helsinki have to say about Helsinki

Finding your way

Here you find information that helps you find your way to downtown Helsinki and to the different campuses upon your arrival to Finland.