TOKYO’s International Student Guide 2020

Hello and Welcome to Tokyo’s International Student Guide for 2020!

Last Updated on 10.08.2020

This guide is to help you if you get stuck with any part of moving and living in Helsinki/Espoo. This guide is constantly being updated throughout the fall as new questions come up that we have yet to consider!

You must’ve got all the important information regarding the practicalities of where to look for housing, documents needed, social security number etc. from Aalto Into website. If you haven’t gone through the information, you can visit the page at

Here we are going to provide with other important practical information which is beneficial to know when you arrive in Finland. Hopefully, this information helps you to have a hassle-free moving and settling in process.

Before Arrival

Hopefully, you have been able to secure a student housing option from AYY or HOAS. If not, don’t worry! there are still options through which you can get housing.


There is an emergency housing service with AYY if you don’t get something immediately:


Generally, these options may be more expensive than AYY or HOAS as they are not subsidized for students. You can also try to google: ”vuokra asunnot Helsinki or Espoo”

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** Aalto Sharetribe –


These are also an option. A word of caution, some adds might not be genuine, so please do your due diligence before committing any money. Here are some groups you can get started with:

** Any of the Erasmus Helsinki groups, general and Aalto University-specific

** “Helsinki Student’s Apartment Market”

** “Flatmate & apartment Finder. Helsinki/Vantaa/Espoo”

** “Apartments and rooms in Helsinki”

** “Helsinki International Students 2019 | Exchange & Erasmus”

** “Rooms/apartments for rent in Helsinki”


For those who have got a housing contract from either HOAS or AYY, keep in mind that the opening hours of the offices of AYY and HOAS have specific opening times, outside of which it will not be possible to get your house keys.

AYY Opening hours: Weekdays 12:00–16:00 (10:00–16:00 on the first weekday of every month)

HOAS Opening hours ( :

On Thursday 27 August from 12pm to 4pm, on Friday 28 August from 10am to 4pm and on Monday 31 August from 10am to 6pm: check beforehand that your keys are already available.

On Tuesday 1st September from 10am to 6pm and on Wednesday 2 September from 12pm to 4pm.

If you have respiratory tract symptoms or suspect you might have contracted the coronavirus, please authorise another person to pick up the keys on your behalf.

If you are not able to contact your tutor due to some reason, feel free to contact :

Natalia Ruiz Roman

Internationality Responsible, TOKYO

[email protected]

TG @natulips


Most houses in AYY and HOAS offer internet as part of the rent. These are basically LAN RJ45 ports in the house, so get a router to get a WiFi connection.

After Arrival

Now that you are in Helsinki, and have found a place to stay, there are a couple of the most important stuff to do before you start your studies.

Some of these steps need to be completed in a certain order. The information here is presented in the order in which they should be completed.


It is recommended to get a Finnish phone number as soon as you arrive in Finland. Though it is not an obligatory requirement, there is wifi in most of the public places like the metro, and Aalto campus area. There are 3 main service providers in Finland: Elisa, Telia, and DNA.

You will need a valid ID to get a sim-card from any phone operator.


You can find the latest pricing for DNA here :

DNA sim cards are available in their stores around Helsinki and Espoo malls. Recharging data  packs can be done at any R-Kioski, DNA store or supermarket in the city.

The following prepaid SIM cards are available:

1) DNA Rajaton Prepaid SIM: voice, SMS, MMS and data – EUR4.90 (Can be discounted to EUR3.90, so shop around). This SIM card is charged per day and will reset itself at midnight. Unlimited domestic voice, SMS and 4G data is charged at EUR0.89 per day. There’s a cap of 5GB per month.

2) DNA Super Prepaid SIM: voice, SMS, MMS and data – EUR4.90 (often discounted) and includes EUR7 credit. The standard default data rate is charged at EUR1.525 per MB with a maximum.

3) DNA Dataprepaid Tablet SIM: data-only SIM card for laptops or tablets – unlimited data for 30 days charged at EUR24.90, sometimes discounted to EUR19.90. Check stores for deals and promotions. Packs with either 1GB or 10GB of data can also be purchased, valid for 180 days and are on sale for EUR9.90 and EUR24.90.

Elisa or Saunalahti

Saunalahti is run by Elisa and has the fastest speed and best coverage in Finland. 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services are available. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores or approved resellers and can be activated by showing your passport or any form of ID to the retailer. Credit can be purchased from the same stores or at most supermarkets and newsagents across the country.

SIM cards can be purchased for EUR5.90, and include EUR6 of credit. Nano, standard or micro SIMs can be purchased. The standard default data rate is EUR0.066 per MB with a daily maximum of EUR0.99. The following voice, text and data packs are also available:

  • Rajoitukseton 3G: EUR24.90, unlimited domestic calls, 5000 domestic texts and unlimited data – valid for 30 days.
  • Rajoitukseton 4G: EUR29.90, unlimited domestic calls, 5000 domestic texts and unlimited data – valid for 30 days.


Telia is the largest operator in Finland with the biggest market share. It offers customers good 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services. Credit can be purchased in the following denominations: EUR10, EUR20, EUR30, EUR40 and EUR50.

Telia’s starter pack can be purchased for EUR 5.90, which comes with EUR 7 of credit. However, make sure you shop around because there are often deals and promotions available. R-kioski sometimes sells Telia products at huge discounts, and they currently offer the starter pack for EUR3.90. SIM cards are available in standard, nano or micro sizes.

Telia also offers a data-only SIM for modems, tablets and routers. Ask the retailer for the “Telia Prepaid Netti” and they will know what to give you.

NOTE: It’s important to note here that the Telia prepaid SIM card can only be used in Finland.

Paying the Student Union membership at AYY

It is mandatory to pay the Student Union fee at AYY. You can become a member by paying the membership fee at either online before coming to Finland or can pay directly at AYY office after coming here. The instructions and member benefits are mentioned in detail in AYY website, here:

You can also pay for memberships of TOKYO as well as your department associations like NuDe, DADA, KOOMA, AK at AYY along with the AYY membership.

AYY is located in Otakaari 1, 02150 Espoo, Finland  See location on map

Paying the student union fee at AYY is a mandatory step to get the enrollment done at the Starting Point, which is the next step.

Enroll as Student attending studies for the academic year 2020-21


You have to enroll as a student attending studies for the academic year 2020-21.

For those who are Enrolling in person, after visiting the AYY office to pay your Student Union Fees, you will need to visit Starting Point located in Otakaari 1. They are also able to help with other administrative things related to your studies. Visiting address: Espoo, Otakaari 1, Undergraduate center, room Y199a. Find them on the map ( ).

More info from Contact “Starting Point” dropdown.

This certificate needs to be shown in Maistraatti for the registration of residence (notification of move).



This page has some more information on how to activate your IT Account with an Activation Code and Mobile Phone via the personal registration link in your activation email:


Further info on location, contact and opening hours of the IT Service Desks can be found here:


Activating your IT account later in August or before Semester begins is ok. The IT Service Desks are very helpful and can get you up and running quickly. There is one located close to the “Starting Point” in the Candidate Centre or Otakaari 1.

Registration of Residence at Maistraatti/ Local Register Office

The first thing to do as soon as you get your accommodation set is to register your residence at Maistraatti. And since, this is a first-time registration, it has to be done at the Maistraatti Office in Helsinki.

Address: Lintulahdenkuja 2, 00530 Helsinki

You will get the notification of confirmation of registration in around 2 weeks by post.

Only after the registration is confirmed, will you be able to apply for a student HSL card.

You need a place of residence to be able to access the services that municipalities provide to their own inhabitants only. You sometimes also need a place of residence to be able to use the services provided by state authorities or to be granted financial benefits or support.

When specific conditions are met, you can have your place of residence and address registered as your permanent home address if you intend to live in Finland for at least one year. Depending on your nationality, the following requirements may also apply:

  • if you are a citizen of the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you must first register your right of residence at the Finnish Immigration Service.
  • if you are a citizen of other than EU or Nordic countries, you must have:
    • a resident permit entitling you to a continuous or permanent residence or in case of temporary visa (which most of you must’ve got as a student) in Finland.
    • You will also need to provide a reason for your stay in Finland by presenting a student certificate according to which your studies in Finland continue for at least two years

Regardless of your nationality, you are entitled to having your place of residence registered, provided that your residence in Finland is lawful, a member of your family has a place of residence in Finland, and you intend to live in Finland for at least one year.

  • the member of the family refers to:
    • your spouse or your registered partner
    • your minor children you have custody of
    • your live-in partner if you have lived in a cohabitation relationship similar to marriage for at least two years, or you have joint custody of a common child.
  • your children of full age are regarded as family members only in the exceptional case that you have been effectively responsible for their welfare and livelihood. The same applies to your parents if you are of age yourself.

If you are a citizen of another Nordic country, for having a place of residence registered it suffices that you intend to live in Finland for at least one year.

Public Transportation and HSL card

You can use any kind of public transport in Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa region using your HSL student card. To get a student card, you can apply by visiting the closest HSL service point. Exchange students have to fill in a separate form for the students HSL card. All forms, as well as details on who is eligible for a student HSL card, are on the HSL website link here:


The HSL area is divided into four zones, identified by the letters A, B, C, and D, spreading out from the center of Helsinki. Ticket prices are based on the distance traveled, i.e. on the distance from the center of Helsinki. The Helsinki airport lies in zone C, Aalto University lies in zone B and the Helsinki city center lies in zone A. All of the other metro stations both in Espoo and Helsinki lie in zones A and B.

HSL cards can be topped up in any R-Kioski in the city.


HSL app is useful for journey planning, buying tickets, timetables of the busses and metros, etc.


Once you have your HSL card you are able to link it to your IT account and get access to some facilities and building. More information on the process here: or by directly visiting:

Furnishing your home

All the student housing options from HOAS and AYY are unfurnished apartments, which means they are not equipped with basic furniture like lamp, bed, chair table etc.

IKEA is always the first place to visit, but Helsinki has many second stores and recycle centers that offer affordable options for almost all household needs ranging from cutlery, beds, carpets to electronics, clothing and some might even have bicycles.

Here are a few recommended listings of recycling centers and second-hand stores :

  • Recycle and Reuse, Otaniemi – This recycle centers is right in the heart of Otaniemi student housing in Servin Maijan Tie 6 D.  It offers furniture and some electronic products like desktop PC’s, LAN cables and routers to take for free as well as kitchen appliances and cutlery for a minimal cost. You can even rent some cutlery from them for a certain time period, this offer is especially helpful for exchange students who are not staying in Finland for a long time. They also have prepared starter packs – kitchen set, bedding set etc. or basic housing starter pack for 2 people, which is available at an affordable price for all the students.
  • Local Facebook market page in Otaniemi – Teekkarikylän Markkinat/ Teekkari Village’s market is a public group on facebook for buying, selling, renting, giving away and exchange in Teekkarikylä.
  • Aalto Sharetribe – On the Aalto University Community Marketplace you can sell, loan and rent things, exchange services, set up a carpool and search for or rent out a flat.
  • Fida, multiple locations – It is a second hand store located in both Helsinki and Espoo, which has almost all kinds of furniture, electronics, home appliances, bedding, mattresses and the list goes on. They also deliver to your place and the cost of delivery depends on which store you buy from and where you want delivered. Cost of delivery from Helsinki store to Espoo location – 40€. You can check the location of the store closest to your apartment here:
  • UFF, multiple locations – Another second-hand store mostly for clothing, shoes etc. Incase you want to go looking for coats and jackets, this is the place to go to. UFF Finland runs 12 stores in Helsinki, two in Tampere, one in Espoo, and Vantaa. You can find the location of UFF shops on map.
  • Kontti, Red-Cross second-hand store, Espoo, Helsinki – Kontti is a Second Hand Department Store operated by the Finnish Red Cross that sells donated items in good condition. At Kontti, you can shop affordably and also give away good items that you no longer need. You can also find seasonal sports equipment and popular clothes brands affordably!

Kontti EspooNimismiehenpelto 6, 02770 Espoo; Opening hours Mon-Fri 9am-8pm, Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12pm – 5pm

Kontti Helsinki Visbynkuja 2, 00930 Helsinki; Opening hours Mon-Fri 9am-8pm, Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12pm-5pm

Location: HELSINKI

Kyläsaari – Kyläsaarenkatu 8, 00580 Helsinki

Itäkeskus – Kauppakartanonkatu 12, 00930 Helsinki

Kontula – Keinulaudankuja 4, 00940 Helsinki

Oulunkylä – Ogeli shopping centre, Kylänvanhimmantie 64, 00640 Helsinki

Location: ESPOO

Nihtisilta – Kutojantie 3, 02630 Espoo

Suomenoja – Luoteisrinne 1, 02270 Espoo (postal address Rusthollarinkatu 1)

Getting a Finnish Bank Account

If you are studying in Finland for a long time it is advisable to open a Finnish bank account. For banking services – such as for opening an account or granting a card or student loan – foreign citizens need to show generally accepted and valid documents. Please take with you:

  • Your passport
  • Residence permit card (if applicable)
  • Certificate of student status at the Aalto University

Also, be prepared to provide the following information to the bank official by answering their questions as every bank has an obligation to know its customers:

  • Address in Finland (registered at the Local Register Office, Maistraatti)
  • Personal ID code (should you have one e.g. on your residence permit card)
  • Nationality
  • Whether you are in a prominent public function in a foreign country (and are thus a Politically Exposed Person, PEP) or a member of the family or close business partner of such a person
  • Your occupational status which describes your financial position (= student)
  • Whether you will use the bank as your main bank
  • Origin or source of your funds and regular payment transactions or cash flows (address and the source bank)
  • Estimated amounts of your regular payment transfers (= certificate of scholarship)
  • Estimated amounts of your foreign payments and reasons for them

The practice of opening a bank account varies according to the bank and branch in Finland. Each case is decided individually by the bank.  However, every bank has a statutory obligation to open basic payment account services to anyone who has a legal residence in an EEA member state.

In many banks you can get your account number immediately, but getting a Visa Electron bank card will take longer and access to internet banking even two to four months after the account has been opened.

The largest of all banks in Finland are Osuuspankki (OP Bank), Nordea, Danske Bank.

Nordea Bank

As a student customer, your monthly fee for a current account, access codes and Nordea Electron is 0,00 €/month and Nordea Gold for the first five years is 0,00 €/month (normal price 6,25 €/month). After five years, the price of the Nordea Gold -card will be determined according to your customer relationship at the time.

Opening an account in Nordea does not charge, but they deduct 4 €/month from the account for daily services including mobile app.

For basic account in Nordea as a student, you should be :

  • you are 18-35 year old
  • you are currently studying in a university (university or university of applied sciences)***
  • you will complete your whole degree in Finland.

** Nordea reserves the right to modify its offering, content and criteria for student customers.

*** You can be a student customer for a maximum of 7 years. After that your customer relationship will be determined according to your circumstances at the time.

NOTE : Not all Nordea bank branches can open a bank account, only select branches can. And some branches like the one in Helsinki city center can have long queues, so keep in mind the bank opening times before going there. Most branches close by 4 pm, with some branches as exceptions which close at 6 pm.

Danske Bank

Danske Study

The benefits of Danske Study are for students aged 18–32. Register as a student in eBanking.

  • Danske Silver daily service package 0 €.
  • Our customer service will take your call on business evenings until 8 PM
  • You can agree on an appointment with a specialist at the office or online, also for an evening
  • Competitive interest for Target and Safety Accounts and bonus for continuous saving
  • Increased insurance compensation for Mandatum Life’s Loan Insurance
  • Considerable discounts and benefits for Fennia insurance policies

Prices – Danske Study

The service fee for the Danske Platinum Plus package is €8/month

The service fee for the Danske Gold package is €1.80/month

The service fee for the Danske Silver package is €0/month

Mastercard Debit student card

You can order a Frank student card with the Mastercard Debit payment feature provided by Danske Bank. It is free of charge for all university students.

You will also become a Danske Bank customer and have the Silver service package without a monthly charge regardless of your age as long as you have a Mastercard Debit student card issued by Frank, and up to the age of 28 after graduation.

The Silver service package includes the card, a current account, eBanking bank identifiers and other services and applications from Danske Bank that make managing your daily finances easier

NOTE: Before going to the bank for opening an account, it is advisable to book an appointment beforehand. They usually give an appointment within a week or two.

OP Bank 

Bank account for daily use

It pays to channel regular income to a current account, such as salary and wages or pension benefits.

  • You will pay your bills, for purchases and loan repayments conveniently from your account.
  • You can conveniently transfer funds from your current account for saving purposes for example to a Growth Return Account.
  • You can attach a card and electronic services, such as an online bank statement and eBill, to your current account.
  • You can track all your account transactions easily on OP eServices, OP-mobile or Pivo.
  • Account agreements opened online are stored in an electronic archive where they remain available for reading and printing

Frank Student Card & Mobile App

Frank App is a student service from which you can find the digital student card as well as hundreds of student discounts around Finland.

The free digital student card acts as an official student ID everywhere in Finland, and you can identify yourself as a student easily from your phone.

From Frank App, you can find student discounts near you and get access to discount codes to online stores. Find student discounts from well-known brands (i.e. Adidas, Nextory, Burger King, ASOS, Fitnesstukku, JD Sports, etc. With the digital student card, you will also be eligible for benefits such as cheaper student lunches and public transport.

Frank student card can be ordered in different options:

  • An International Student Card with Payment Feature + Frank’s digital student card

You can get this option if you decide to opt for Danske Bank for opening your account.

  • Digital student card €0

Additional feature:

International digital ISIC student ID €4 / year

You get student discounts and benefits abroad: over 150,000 benefits in over 130 countries. With ISIC you are eligible to many  airlines’ student-priced plane tickets (NB! Check the age limit from each airline’s website).

  • A Plastic Student Card (€16.10 + delivery fee)

The card will be delivered to your home address in Finland in 2–3 weeks. You can also add the INternational Student card with the plastic Frank student card with an additional cost of €16 as well as delivery fee of €1

Requirements for getting a student card: 

  • You have enrolled for the upcoming semester
  • You are a member of your student union and have paid the membership fee
  • You have a square-shaped digital photo of yourself

How to order a student card on your phone:

  1. Register into Frank app. You can do it here.
  2. Go to card order page to start with.
  3. Check out the range of different cards and choose the option that suits you best.
  4. Order the card according to the instructions.
  5. Enjoy your student discounts.

NOTE: You can get a sticker from AYY which you can use on your plastic student cards (which you will get if you choose to get physical student card from Frank). If you have an online student card from Frank, then it is not necessary to get that sticker from AYY. The sticker just says that the card is valid for the new academic year.

Mobile Pay

Mobile Pay is a convenient way to share payments with friends or make mobile payments. You can also connect Mobile Pay with your Frank app and use it to pay for food at student restaurants in Dipoli, Otakaari 1 and Abloc.



Each program has different language requirements. This means that you need to take a certain amount of credits (or ECTS) in one Language-based course. This might be in Finnish, Swedish, or English (there are thesis writing courses that may fulfill the language requirement). These requirements are unique to each program and student, please check during orientation week and when you have a more formal introduction from your program and how to complete your individual study plans.


Register for a Course using webOodi – While this will be covered in greater detail during orientation week, for those interested in taking Survival Finnish before the year begins you can read through this old guide from early 2018. WebOodi has since been updated a little bit. You can download the PDF from this link: ( ).[:]