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Erasmus Experience in Turku, Finland by Nathaël

Why did you choose to go to Turku, Finland?

To discover a Nordic country and this was my only option.

How long is your scholarship? How much financial aid do you receive?

8 months, in total I receive around €2900.

How is student life in Turku?

Very quiet, the lessons are relatively simple and often in auditoriums, for everything else I go out quite often in in the city on nights out, I avoid going to restaurants as it’s quite expensive but I can enjoy myself without straining my budget too much.

Would you recommend the city and the university of Turku to other students?

Yes and no, it depends on what the student is looking for. Turku is a small city which offers quite a limited cultural heritage. Winter is harsh (like everywhere in Finland), however the surrounding areas are magnificent and there are many walking routes. In terms of student nights out, there are a lot of them but you have to enjoy nightclubs as there are many of them.


How is the food in this country?

As I said earlier, I almost never eat at restaurants so for traditional dishes there's very little I can help you with. For things you can find in the shops, it’s quite a similar selection to what you can find in France, except for red meat and chicken which are expensive and often poor quality. Conversely, I recommend that you make do with fish, which is well-priced and excellent quality.

Did you have any difficulties finding accommodation in Turku?

No, I went via the organization TYS which offered me an apartment around 1 ½ months before my arrival in the country. Be aware that it is easier to find a flat-share than an apartment alone.

What is the cost of living in Turku?

The rent is €300 per month, €30 euros for the bus and between €150 and €200 for food without depriving yourself. Alongside that, the launderette cost me €1.50 per wash.

Is it easy to learn the language? Did you go to language lessons organized by the university?

No, I didn’t go to lessons organized by the university and I find this language incomprehensible besides a few basic words that I have learned (hello, thank you etc…). Effectively, Finnish is unlike any other language which makes it very difficult to learn. However, here almost everyone speaks English more than adequately, which makes communication much more simple.

What is the most economical way of travelling from your city to Turku?

The bus I think, to get to Turku I first went via Helsinki before taking the train to get to Turku. The train cost me €20 from the airport, whereas the bus costs between €10 and €15 maximum for the same distance.

What places would you recommend for going on a night out in Turku?

There are plenty, the most popular are the nightclubs Bors, saaristobaari (bar/club), as well as Vegas and Marilyn, which I think are the best clubs in the area with the cheapest liter of beer.

And to eat in Turku? What are your favorite places?

I haven’t gone out to eat very often in Turku but I would say that the best place is Turku Market Hall where there’s the biggest variety of food and the atmosphere is very pleasant.

What places of cultural interest should you see?

I wouldn’t say that it’s an absolute must-see in Turku, but my favorite attraction is the castle of Turku, especially if you walk up from the docks, which is the prettiest part of the city in my opinion. Be careful as the wind is quite strong there and it is very cold from the end of October onwards.


Have you got any advice to give to students that are leaving for Turku soon?

If you like to drink, bring your own strong alcohol from France – you won’t regret it as alcohol here is 2 to 3 times more expensive than in France. Otherwise, it is possible to take the ferry to Tallinn to stock up (around €60), especially as the city is very beautiful. Also, you’ll want to download an app to follow the Aurora Borealis, it’s possible to see it a dozen times during the year and these apps are very useful for indicating the right evenings to go out. Finally, look for saunas near to where you are (in Varissuo where I live, there’s a public sauna on the edge of a lake – it’s a unique experience). They are often cheap and it's really worth it for the experience.

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