The Amazing Jyväskylä!

The Amazing Jyväskylä!
Me at the harbor of Jyväskylä

30 September, 2014

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about living and studying in Jyväskylä (Part 1) - How to start/Living expenses

Click here for Part 2 - Admission

Click here for Part 3 - Admission - English language proficiency

Click here for Part 4 - Grants/Scholarships

I have been receiving lots of questions and inquiries which are very similar to each other about general process of application and admission to the University of Jyväskylä and also studying and living in the city, so I thought I would write an entry for frequently asked questions (FAQ)

But first and foremost, I need to emphasize that I am a student ambassador of the University of Jyväskylä, so I ONLY answer questions relating to applying to or studying in University of Jyväskylä. If your questions or inquiries are not addressed, it could be for this reason or others that you’ll find out below.

1. I want to study in Finland. Please help me. / what should I do? / I want more information about studying in Finland/ I have this degree and that degree, my GPA is … am I qualified? …

First, as a grown-up person, these questions trigger my anger toward the passive attitude expressed from these very lazy requests, which reflects on my judgment toward ones who ask them. These questions show me that the ones who ask them have not done enough research and neither have they had the right attitude toward pursuing studying abroad. I always try my best NOT to be judgmental because I understand every one has a reason for their acts. However, I cannot help it when someone claims to have a bachelor’s degree and still does not know where/how to find information while it is available all over the Internet. It shows laziness – a quality that is not appreciated anywhere in the world. Therefore, it is highly possible that I will ignore these questions because I do not want to waste my time.

Secondly, while giving it some thoughts, I sympathize the confusion of first-timers when they want to study abroad. I was once very confused as well and I didn’t have anyone to turn to but Internet. I guess this blog is also a form of information available on Internet so I’ll write down my advice once and for all as someone who has gone through this process myself.

a.   Please, be SERIOUS about your research on studying in Finland. Invest some time to READ essential information online that is relevant to you. Do not expect someone to tell you what to do from start to end. Only children do that. Finland is an advanced country in technology; hence, all necessary information is made available online for easy access from all over the world as long as you can get a hold on Internet connection. And the important thing is the online information provided is reliable.

b.   Know what field/studies/majors you want to pursue in Finland and look for the courses/programs accordingly. This sounds like common sense but aside from those who have already been accepted into the university, others who ask me to provide information about offered programs do not know what they want to study to at least start with.

c.   The website of my university in and if you want to find out what international Master’s Degrees are offered, you go to Study With Us section:, the available programs should be listed on the column on the left side of the page. When you click on any programs, the link will take you to the page of the faculties/programs with detailed information on the program structures (available to download pdf), required qualifications for candidates and very clear instructions on the application process.

d.  If all Master’s Degree programs offered in my university do not match your desire, go to to look for courses that are suitable for you. I have checked this website myself, its information is precise.

2. Questions which are concerned about accommodation, transportation and living expenses.

Alright, I think this is the question that gets asked the most. And I think it’s fair to think about these matters before hand since Finland is an expensive country after all.

If you’re only in the application stage, don’t worry too much about it. Once you are accepted, my university will send you a package full of brochures of detailed instructions on how to proceed from there. This is one thing I love the most about Finns, though they appear to be cold, they are actually very thoughtful and considerate folks. You’ll find all information you need in these brochures.


For students, there are two choices for cheap accommodation in Jyväskylä:

KOAS – an organization that provides student housing that is supported by the City authority, the University of Jyväskylä and Jyväskylä University of Applied Science. Website: I myself am staying in a KOAS apartment in Roninmäki area and I have no complaint about it. In fact, I have been gradually developing some emotional attachment for the place and now I consider it home. It’s near the supermarkets and located about 4 km to the South West of the city center. Right after you receive the letter of admission, apply for accommodation immediately! About 1 month before you are supposed to come to Finland, KOAS will send you an offer. The earlier you apply, the better chance you have in being offered a room because it’s quite packed during Fall semester with lots of exchange students. KOAS offers furnished rooms in some locations, not all. When you take a furnished room, you’ll pay 15 euros (from January 2015) more every month aside from the rent. Like their Facebook page to check out photos of their apartments

This is where I live, KOAS housing, Roninmäki

Kortepohja, a.k.a. student village, is another choice. I think this is under the management of the university’s student union. Many students I know love living in Kortepohja since it’s a quiet and friendly area where you meet lots of degree students. It’s also located next to a big supermarket. Website: The same rule goes for this, apply right after you are informed that you’re accepted. Kortepohja does not have offer on furnished rooms. However, there is a storage where you can get furniture for free and bring up to your room. Also, there's no guarantee on the availability of furniture in the storage room all the time.

Please note that when it says UNFURNISHED room, it means there is absolutely no furniture inside the room: no bed, no closet, no table, no desk, no chair, etc. It is going to be an empty room.

Both places offer the price that already includes electricity, water, internet, fridge and stoves in the kitchen.

Living expenses

This depends very much on your lifestyle. Of course, if you like to go out to eat and hang out in bars or go to parties often, it’ll cost you a lot. However, you need at least 6,720 euros in your bank account to apply for one-year residence permit in Finland and it is also your minimum living expenses in a year here. I am living off my parents’ money during my study in Jyväskylä so I choose to live cheap. I do not go to bars much, only once in a while when it’s a special occasion like a birthday or a farewell of a good friend. I also do not like noisy places so I do not go to big parties either. Yeah, yeah, I know, it sounds boring. It’s just personality. I enjoy having dinner or tea with some good friends that I’m comfortable with rather than going to a party where I have to continuously introduce myself and answer the same questions over and over again. And of course, I cook for myself. 

So, last year, I would say I spent less than 6,000 euros on basic living expenses such as accommodation, transportation and food. Now, as I am writing down this number, I feel ashamed of not having been able to spend less than that. In some countries in Africa and South Asia, like Nepal where I’m doing my internship now, the GDP per capita is from 500 USD to 700 USD. It means that my living expenses for 1 year in Finland (~7000 USD) equals 1-year income of roughly 10 to 15 people in these parts of the world. How crazy is that??

Anyway, just a word of advice: don’t waste money on alcohol! Why would you spend money on something that kills your liver? If you are someone who needs to eat a lot, then I guess there’s no choice but spending more on food. If that’s your case, I can give you some advice on where to shop and what to cook in order to fill up your stomach, save some money and still stay healthy. But you’ll have to inbox me for that. And feel free to do it: Or, if I have time, I’ll probably write a separate entry for it.

For social butterflies, here’s a monthly get-together for foreigners in Jyväskylä You can get lots of advice from this community of expats and also find your country fellows as well.
The cheapest place to shop for groceries 


This is easy. There are 4 options for you.

Walk – one of my friends from the U.S walks to school, city center, supermarkets … everywhere that is in walking distance even in winter. So, it’s possible to just walk and take the bus occasionally.

Bicycle – this is my option. You can easily get a second-hand bike for 50 euros to 90 euros depending on the quality of the bikes, of course. There’s a Facebook group for selling and buying second-hand items in Jyväskylä here

Bus – with the student status, you can purchase monthly bus card with unlimited uses within the month of purchase. I’m not 100% sure about the price but as of 2013, it was 60 euros/month, the first time purchase will cost you a little bit more for the card. Also, another option is 55-euro bus card for 40 times if you do not take the bus very often. This card is valid up to 6 months from the day of purchase. More information here

Car – if you can ride a car and have your valid driving license with you, great, you can purchase a second-hand car or rent one. I’m not so sure about the price since I have no interest in it. But it’s easy enough to find out once you’re here.

Phew ... that's it for part 1. I'll get to application process in the next part. 


  1. Hello, Phuong! Sorry to interrupt you for a few minutes. I received an admission email from JYU but the result of the other university will be announced on May 6, if I apply for the accommodation in JYU right after then, is it too late?

    Thank you for your time!

    1. Hey, do apply immediately, when you get an offer for an apartment, you can decline or accept it.
      Good luck! :)

  2. Chị ơi, may we chat? Em đang rất phân vân về việc đi du học nên là, muốn hỏi thăm chị đã đi học như thế nào.. nếu chị có thời gian hi vọng mình có thể chat một chút. Em cảm ơn chị :)

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