International Alphabets

    Niina Hakala”Dear international student, this is my survival guide for you. Read this and you’ll be a lot wiser when it comes to conquering Tampere.”





    Accommodation – If you’re still without a home, ensure you’ve listed as an applicant for a student house at TOAS. Another good place to look for a home is the notice board at Opiskelijan Tampere. You can also take a look at the private markets in Vuokraovi.

    Bikes & Buses – You can look for used bikes with decent prices at several online market places, for example Tori. During the winter we usually change bikes to buses, the bus timetables can be found here and you can buy yourself a bus card from here.

    Clothes & Shoes – Most of the department stores and shopping centres are located around Hämeenkatu, where you can also find a variety of other shops. There are also malls in several suburbs, like Duo in Hervanta or Veska in Pirkkala. If you’re in for a bargain hunting, there’s also several flea markets around Tampere. The most popular ones are said to be Radiokirppis in Laukontori and Bonuskirppis in Itsenäisyydenkatu.

    Driving – If you’re an European Union citizen, you’re allowed to drive a car here just like you are back home. Drivers from outside EU have to contact the police to clear out the formalities and possible payments before driving.

    Economy: keeping your eye on that money – You might want to open a Finnish bank account while staying here – there are plenty of banks and account options to choose from. Take a stroll around Hämeenkatu and go negotiate yourself the best possible deal, most of the biggest banks have got branches there.

    Free time? – Wanna see a movie? Plevna and Cine Atlas provide you with the latest premiers, Niagara surprises with older treasures too.

    Tampere city centre
    The main market square of Tampere is called Keskustori. This is a common meeting place between friends, in the middle of the city. Image: Wikimedia commons.

    Groceries to fill you up – There’s hardly a place in Tampere where you wouldn’t find a grocery store or a corner shop. Usually grocery stores are open from 7am until 9pm but some of them can be open until 11pm -or even 24 hours a day. If you’re looking for something more ethnic, there are a few ethnic food shops in the city centre.

    Healthcare – University student’s own healthcare is YTHS located next to library building Linna. If you’re in need of first aid, Tampere ER is called Acuta. There are also plenty of private practices around the town if you’re not hesitating to pay for the treatment.

    Internet connection, what more could you need? – TOAS offers its tenants internet connection automatically but some of you might need to make the internet contracts yourself. You can choose from portable online device to traditional broadband – internet connection is offered to you by the same companies who sell you SIM cards for your phones. You might want to take a look at Elisa, Sonera or DNA.

    Jogging, running, walking: getting that ass moving! – Tampere has several beautiful outside hiking and running trails where you can enjoy the fresh air or get soaking wet while running. Two popular hiking areas are Pyynikki and Kauppi.

    Kisses or handshakes? – We Finns are used to shaking hands or hugging when seeing friends – a kiss on the cheeks may cause an uncomfortable situation with a Finnish friend. However, we have adopted new habits from foreigners before so why not try to convince your Finnish friends about the utter importance of kissing when seeing each other 😀

    Libraries – Looking for the scientific stuff? Go to Linna, our university library. Or are you up for something more entertaining? The main library Metso and several other side branches can be used for borrowing that lighter reading.

    Medicines – In Finland you can buy medicines only from the pharmacies. You can find pharmacies around the city centre, the nearest ones to the University are located beside the railway station and in Itsenäisyydenkatu.

    Nightlife – Most of the clubs and pubs are located around Hämeenkatu -you need to do a bit of research to find your favourites. Student parties are usually held during the week, for us Thursday is the new Saturday! But no need to keep it quiet over the weekend either, there’s plenty of nightlife to dance around then too, if you’re up for it.

    Phone – Most of the international students decide to get themselves prepaid phone connections because those are the easiest to get. You can buy a prepaid SIM card from e.g. R-Kiosks.

    Questions? Where to ask? – Tamy, our student union trains tutor students to help new international students to get in terms with Tampere. Whatever your questions is, your tutor can probably help you -if not, they can at least get you talk to someone who can. Also the University’s international office is here to be at your assistance 🙂

    Recycling in Tampere – Finnish households usually recycle household waste, biodegradable waste, paper and cardboard. Most of the buildings offer recycling containers for them. Batteries and glass can be brought to special collecting containers, plastic bottles and cans should be returned to grocery stores  – and the give you money back for that.

    Sport – Our university has its own sports society, UtaSport that runs several different sports clubs. At the main campus there’s also Atalpa, university students’ own gym.

    Tooth ache? No worries! – YTHS takes care of student’ teeth too. If you’re in a sudden pain and YTHS is closed, you can go to Acuta.

    University’s students union – Our student union is called Tamy. Tamy’s main office is located in Kauppakatu 10, 2nd floor.

    Vacuum cleaner, sheets, furniture. The list is endless? – Where to get all that little stuff that you need for living? Well, in addition to online marketplaces like Tori, there’s also a number of stores where you can buy all those things. Ikea is located a 15 minutes bus ride away from the city centre, in the centre stores like Vapaa Valinta or Anttila sell a variety of everyday nicknacks.

    Working while studying – Although a lot of the employees require some level of spoken Finnish, it is possible to find a job in English too. is an online service listing free vacancies, boht full and part-time. You can always also print out your CV and walk directly into the place you want to work in and ask for a job – most of the employers appreciate that.

    Xmas and other holidays – You can find this year’s academic calendar here.

    You need more information? – If this blog entry is definitely not enough for you, SITR website offers you all this and even more! Go and see

    Zero worries? – Good! That’s just what I wished for. Or hopefully at least some of your questions have been answered 🙂






        2 comments for “International Alphabets

      1. Outi
        17.9.2012 at 11.30

        There’s a pharmacy in Tullintori shopping centre, as well. According to my personal experience, it’s closest to the university.

      2. Niina
        17.9.2012 at 15.57

        Right you are, I had forgotten that one 🙂

        Also the letter O is missing from the list, here it is:
        Obligatory or voluntary?
        In the Finnish university education there’s a common phrase called ”academic freedom”, which gives students free hands to plan their studies. While most of the lectures aren’t compulsory, the responsibility or your own studies lies on your shoulders. To put this one short: decide to sleep really late on a Monday morning and you’ll have to do the work done on the Monday-morning lecture on your own time.


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