Tampere (Finland) survival student guide: The things we wish we read on a blog before our exchange

Nomad Faces – A student guide based on our experience as Exchange students in Tampere, Finland.

Declared the “happiest country in the world” in 2018 by the World Happiness Report and the country with one of the best educational systems in the world, Finland offers an amazing educational experience for local and international students.
Here are some things we wish we knew before going on exchange to Finland.

First, you have to know there are three high education institutions in Tampere.

  1. TAMK (Tampere University of Applied Sciences)
    • Main Campus
    • Mediapolis
  2. UTA (University of Tampere)
  3. TUT (Tampere University of Technology)

**NOTES: The last two merged to create the new Tampere University on 1 January 2019.
Mediapolis is far from everything so if you’re going to study there, we recommend you to rent a place not further south than the City Center. Otherwise, you’ll have to take more than one bus to get there.
Mediapolis | By: Eva Garro

💎TIP: Unipoli Sport
If you’re into fitness or you like to work out, we strongly recommend to buy this membership. For spring season it is 46€ and for Autumn it is €42. The whole year is only 72€.
You can use three campuses’ services for just one fee! It is totally worth it if you exercise often. They even offer instructed classes like Yoga, Pilates, Boxing, HIIT, etc. Specially during winter, it is a great way to stay warm, entertained, and fit.

IMPORTANT – Only for TAMK students
Student Union (for both campuses) – TAMKO
**NOTE: In order to get access to all the student discounts mentioned on this article, you have to be a member of TAMKO. It is totally worth it!

  • Price: 42€ for one year  (even if you’re staying only 6 months, you’ll have to pay this amount)
  • Discounts: long distance trains and busses, museums, school meals, restaurants, special prices for parties organized by them (they are great), leisure activities, and trips.
  • Access to the TAMKO lounge where you can borrow skates, get free coffee, sauna, board games, meet people, survival kit (discussed later in this article), etc.

Neither of the three universities have student dorms, but they have agreements with student housing companies such as:

  1. TOAS
  2. POAS
  3. Int Housing
  4. Lumo
  5. Sato

They all offer comfortable accommodation at a fair price. All these apartments are located at or close to the city center and the universities (max. 7 km).
***NOTE: on average, you will be paying around 300€ for a shared apartment. Most of them, with basic furniture included.

They have the biggest offer of places, the lowest prices, and the clearest instructions. A very nice plus is that they organize welcome events for the students.

Tampere, Finland
Lukonmäki | By: Eva Garro

Tampere Regional Transport Nysse.
First thing you should do when you arrive, is buy the bus card for students (or youth if you are 24 or less) at the office in “Keskustori” (City Center) or online, here. Prices also depend on the zones, but you should be fine with regular zones 1 and 2, unless you plan to move around much further.

  • Card – 5€ (you just have to buy it once)
  • Single trip with Travel Card (youth or student) – 1.43€
  • 30 day season ticket – 36.50€ unlimited trips
  • 360 day season ticket – 270€ unlimited trips
  • Single trip (if you pay with cash) – 3.50€
  • Nightfare: 3.50€ in cash, 2.60€ with Travel card

**NOTE: The night fare is charged in all zone areas between 00.00- 04.40 a.m. in addition to the normal fare. If the trip is paid before midnight, the fare must be paid together with any transfer made after midnight.
Even when you pay the 30 day season ticket, you can add extra money to your Nysse card in order to get the 2.60€ fare for night bus. DO IT! You’ll use it a lot if you go out partying and you can save some money.

💎TIPS: Download the Nysse app to check schedules. Or you can use Google Maps which is pretty accurate.
BE CAREFUL!!! Some areas don’t even have night busses. Check yours before going somewhere at night. DON’T’ miss it or you’ll have to walk A LOT from another stop.. Yes it happened to us at -16 degrees which was not fun at all.

We strongly recommend to get a bike to use it when there’s no snow. You can find cheap ones or even for FREE from students that are leaving and won’t use them anymore. There are some as cheap as 5€.
Ask your classmates, the school student union and check on Facebook!
Tampere is full of walking/biking paths in the forest with amazing views. DON’T miss them.Tampere Lake | By: Eva Garro

💎TIP: go to Google Maps and just explore the map around you. Set directions to nearby lakes and walk/bike there. You’ll have a great time!

There is no Taxify or Uber in Tampere. Normal taxis are good but quite expensive. You can get around with public transportation perfectly, so it’s not really worth spending so much on Taxi services unless you are 3 or 4 people and you can share the fare. This might save you on party nights when you don’t wanna depend on limited bus schedules.
***NOTE: Tampere lightrail coming in 2021!

There are many shops where you can buy food:

  1. Prisma
  2. K-market
  3. Lidl
  4. S-Market
  5. Tokmanni

many studies have found Lidl to be the cheapest place to buy groceries in Finland. Prisma wins the 2nd place. It is a bit more expensive but also has a larger variety of products.

💎TIP: Share stuff with your roomies/flatmates. It will decrease expenses a lot!

University restaurants:
You can get student discount for complete meals all over Finland for only 2.6€! Very good food even with Vegetarian options in some of the restaurants. Great option to save money and time.

🏆WINNER: Pinni B at UTA
Definitely the best food and it offers the vegetarian option.

💎TIP: Go try different restaurants even if you don’t study there.

There are plenty of cool bars in Tampere. You can get student discounts in some of them. Some examples are Mallashovi, Dog’s Home, Jack The Rooster, Pub Armo.
***NOTE: Some bars have live music.

🏆WINNER: Mallashovi
You won’t any cheaper than this. Beer is only 2.9€ showing your student ID. They have a lot of board games, trivias, table football, and other cool stuff.

Mallashovi Pub Tampere
Mallashovi | By: Eva Garro

💎TIP: Support Local Bands! Check one of our favorites: Joviac.

There are multiple ways to save money on these things. Check these places before you go to IKEA or any other expensive store:

  1. TAMK students only
    • Survival kits: 75€ for TAMKO members | 80€ for others. 50€ of this quantity are a deposit which will be given back to you when you return it as long as the kit is complete.
    • Storage room: TAMK students have access to a storage room on Main Campus where other students donate stuff for exchange students to take for FREE. When you leave, you can give things back, exchange them, keep them, or donate yours.
  2. Second hand shops/flea markets: they have a huge variety of things in very good shape at cheap prices. Some examples are UFF and Radiokirppis.
  3. Facebook groups: you can find microwaves, beds, sofas, hairdryers, bikes, clothes, etc. Some are for all Tampere and others are more for more specific areas.

Don’t worry. Everyone speaks English.
Although Finns really appreciate when a foreigner tries to learn some Finnish (even if it’s only bad words).
Basic words you should learn:

  • Kiitos – Thank you
  • Moi | Moi moi | Moro| Terve | Moikka – Hello
  • Anteeksi – Excuse me or sorry
  • Ei – No
  • Kyllä – Yes

💎TIP: Take Finnish for foreigners at school if you wanna learn more!

Share it with your friends and feel free to contact us if you have any questions! We’ll be happy to help.

Eva & Tautvy

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