As we enjoyed the perfect weather on Vappu day, May has brought so much more sunshine to the city and none of the sudden-snow-squalls so far. May is also when the housing application period for the next autumn semester in 2017 starts, and it reminds me of my own experience when applying for the first apartment here in Turku. In this post, I’d address several key points for the future tenants, especially those who come from abroad, as I once went through the exact same experience as you guys.
Which apartment type is suitable for you? Even though this issue really depends on your personal situation, there are several points you can take into consideration while filling out the application. First of all, generally there are 3 types of apartments: single-room/studio, shared-apartment, and family apartment. However, not every single studio or share-apartment is identical to one another. Depending on the certain apartment’s location, area, and the type that the price will be determined. For instance, a single-room in Student Village West can be a bit more expensive if it is included an eat-in kitchenette compared to the same type in the same block. The prices within shared-apartments also vary greatly depending on the locations or other benefits such as: back yards, own french balconies, etc.
If affordable living is your priority, then shared-apartments (especially in Aamurusko,Kuunsilta or Pilvilinna) are the most ideal options. In each and every housing location, you can find essential information, some photos and videos from TYS webpages. Single apartments and studios are a bit more, or a-lot-more expensive, depending on their locations, and how big, modern or well-equipped the offers are.
A friend of my used to stay in Ispuri. The neighborhood is very amazing, full of apple trees, for instance.
For international students, many prefer Yo-talot, Yo-kylä länsi or Yo-kylä itä for their excellent central locations, affordable rents and vibrant atmospheres. Then, other locations such as Ispuri or Ironside offers additional benefits like beautiful nature and quiet neighborhoods. If location is your greatest concern, then you can start from this page to navigate and decide on the area you want to live. One thing to keep in mind is that the local bus system operates very frequently, smoothly, and can take you to nearly every corner of the city.
Furnished or unfurnished?
Even though the majority of TYS apartments are unfurnished, there are a number of furnished apartments. What are included in furnished apartments and rooms? You can find out here. It depends on your length of staying in Turku. For instance, it would be very ideal to get a furnished room if you only stay for a short amount of time. For international students, it would also be greatly convenient to secure a room that already has some basic furniture, especially if you plan to go on an exchange semester abroad afterwards.
Beautiful autumn last year. Picture taken at Ispuri area.
For unfurnished apartments, it is also quite fun to decorate and furnish it yourself. Temporarily, it might take a week or so of sleeping on a borrowed mattress on the floor. Yet, slowly you can decide and purchase household items according to your needs. That what happened to me when I first arrived in Turku. Even if you have to sleep on the floor for one or two nights, the weather in autumn is still fairly warm ;).
In both options, tenants are responsible for their own personal cooking utensils, mattresses & bedding sets, curtains and bathroom sets, fire alarm, etc. So you would still have to slowly adjust and make it your home. Also, even though the rents vary from option to option, all TYS apartments are provided fixed fixtures, wardrobes, and certain kitchen appliances (stoves, oven, own fridge).
I was lucky to have a friend who already stayed in Haliskylä (Hallinen) area for a semester, and she loved it. So I applied for the exact same type of room that she had, and turned out it was a great experience. Hallinen has amazing surrounding nature with nearby forests, fields and especially the lesser known part of Aura River and the Hallinen dam. The building where I lived was right in front of the bus stops, supermarket and restaurants. It’s a bit farther from the city central, but it was still in walking distance to my university. I probably would stayed there if the buildings did not go through a renovation, which finished in 2016.
That, however, was a bit more of a lesson-learnt memory for me, because I did not know about the renovation. In fact, while I was applying for the apartment, I did not do my ”homework” carefully. I was afraid of not having a place to stay, so I hurriedly applied for the room immediately without reading much into details. Therefore, I strongly recommend future tenants to do your research, contact TYS or chat with them via their live chat window whenever you have a concern. Here, I present to you this ”lesson” for free, because moving (in Finland ) is expensive and tiring, which I probably would share in another post.
Another thing I’d like to recommend is to apply early, as soon as even now. I was very fortunate because my friend urged me to apply for housing first thing after I got my acceptance email. It was all …a bit overwhelming and all, since I was from the other side of the world. But it takes sometime like 3-4 weeks for the apartment offer to be made, so by then you’d be already worried about other things.
I accepted my apartment offer immediately, just happy that I finally got a place to stay. But as far as I know, you can be offered maximum 2 house-offers. I was already then assigned a tutor from the university. She was the one who picked up the keys for me thankfully, so that I did not have to spend a night outside. It is totally possible for someone who is already living in Turku to pick up the keys for you. All you have to do is contacting TYS with your situation. They will totally help you out.
Last but not least, take some time and enjoy searching for your future apartment. That was my first time ever applying/searching for a place to stay abroad too, you’d be totally fine.