Living in Helsinki

The instruction belongs to the following themes

By selecting a degree programme you are able to see the general content as well as the possible degree programme-specific content. You do not have to select a degree programme to see the Open University's instructions.

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.

Read more about cost of living and financial matters

Stu­dent Union fee

Student Union membership is voluntary for exchange students. Please check the current Student Union membership fee for Bachelor and Master’s students from the Annual registration page. As of January 2021, the right to access the Finnish Student Health Services is no longer included in the membership for exchange students.

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 2021 vary between 2,60 - 4,90 €. Exchange students do not need Student Union membership to receive the lunch discount at UniCafe.


Stu­dent health care

As of January 2021, the right to access the Finnish Student Health Services is no longer available for exchange/visiting students.


Dis­counts on pub­lic trans­port

As an exchange student, you are entitled to discounted fares in public transport in the Helsinki metropolitan area (operated by HSL) as well as in long-distance transport. The discount is only for undergraduate students (Bachelor & Master's). Exchange students do not need Student Union membership to receive the HSL discount.

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. Print out the certificate of student status from Sisu register 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: health services, Unisport, mental well-being, prayer rooms and culture shock. The University of Helsinki is committed to promoting equality and preventing discrimination in all its operations. If you encounter any unappropriate behaviour at the University, you find instructions for action on the aforementioned page under the theme equality, diversity and accessibility. If you have any doubts, you can always contact the International Exchange Services and we will help you to find the support/help you need. 

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.

Student life in Helsinki

Read about the active student life in Helsinki

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.