A quick guide to applying for housing through TYS-Student Village Foundation for new students

As an international student, getting an apartment is one of the first steps to getting settled in a new country, no one wants to move from their country to another country without having a place to call home. TYS, the Student Village Foundation provides numerous options for accommodation, where you can turn an apartment into your personal haven.

When and how to apply

TYS is an organization that operates in collaboration with the University of Turku to provide accommodation options for students. Application for accommodation usually opens on the 1st of May for the new academic year that starts in August and the application is done by filling a form. For example, in 2022 when I was coming to Finland, I ensured that I applied for my apartment through TYS on the 1st of May, I was practically waiting for the clock to turn midnight (Finnish time) to apply.  To my surprise the website was slow due to excess traffic which means I wasn’t the only one with the brilliant idea to book my apartment as early as possible. By booking an apartment early you have a better chance of getting accommodation early, so do what you feel is best for you with that little insight.

It is also advisable not to be too picky. Choose numerous options so you have better chances to have a roof over your head when you arrive here. There are chances that the apartment you want the most is not available by the time you arrive, so a different apartment may be assigned to you, please do well to accept the offered apartment first – you can always request for a transfer when you arrive in Finland.

Things to consider before making your choice

The first thing to consider before making your housing choice is how much you have in your account, seriously you don’t want to apply for an apartment that would be difficult for you to pay for in the long run, so have a reasonable budget and specify your budget during the application process. TYS houses are generally cost-friendly so you can have an apartment for as low as 250 euros and as high as 600 euros.

There are various options available based on proximity to the school, so if you were someone that would like to stroll from your apartment to the campus your housing option would be different from someone who would rather spend time enjoying the scenery in a drive (or long walk) before getting to school.

Do you care for a quiet environment or a family friendly environment, then I would suggest areas like Pilvilinna or Kuunsilta. These options are based on my personal observation but there are other options that fit into these criteria as well. However, if a bubbling environment where you will catch a glimpse of a friend if you step out is what you are looking for, then I would suggest areas like Yo-Kyla, both east and west. You can see all the 17 housing areas on the TYS website.

Luxuries that accompany TYS housing

TYS makes accommodation appealing with the various utilities available both in the apartment and the surrounding of the apartment. For example, you are provided with access to the Internet in the apartments. However, let me give you some inside information, if it is possible, get a LAN cable before travelling to minimize your apartment setup cost. There is also the option of getting a furnished apartment if you don’t want to go through the joy of choosing your own furniture, but this option is mostly reserved for exchange students.

There are also amenities such as the sauna where you can heat up yourself with friends or alone. You also get access to a laundry room, some gym facilities, playground for kids and a club room where you can have get togethers with friends. If you have a car, TYS also accommodates that with sufficient parking spaces made available for your use.

What I consider as the best luxury TYS has to offer is the chance to choose your roommates even from your country, as extroverted as I am, I do not enjoy sharing a space with someone I am not familiar with, so this was a delight for me as I was able to choose a shared apartment with my friend before I ever got to Finland. This can be done during the application process, just ensure that all parties involved indicate that they would like to stay together.

Other information

There is a first down payment you must make after being offered an apartment to keep the apartment on a lock down for you and this payment is made only once. You can also get someone to pick up your apartment key for you if you realize you will be arriving late or have someone you trust to furnish your apartment with some basic needs before you arrive.

In the event whereby you don’t want to get an apartment from TYS or you applied late and still on the waiting list to get an apartment then there are other options you can explore to get accommodation like  Facebook groups, Airbnb or general rental markets such as vuokra-asunnot, ovv asuntopalvelut or nordenhomes.

I hope this blog post has been informative to you as regards getting accommodations, you can check out the following blog posts to keep you informed and get you started on your journey to Turku, Tour with Tolga: Video Series for New International Students in Turku , The first few days in Turku – getting about and getting things done (map included!) and Furnishing an Apartment in Finland as a Student.

If you need more information, you can always reach out to UTU Ambassadors.