Opportunities for international students to participate actively in student life

Are you wondering what kind of activities student life can offer you at the University of Turku? I have gathered different ways for you to get experience in something you are interested in and improve your skills. Moreover, these activities will give you the possibility to add nice-looking lines to your CV and find new friends!


You can apply to become one of the UTU Ambassadors. You will write blogs or make videos, participate in marketing shootings for the University, and create content for International Mondays on @uniturku Instagram account. In addition to that, ambassadors communicate with prospective students to give insights into student life in Turku.

UTU Ambassadors participate in the training. Besides, ambassadors represent The University in different events, such as webinars and education fairs. All these activities improve your content creation, networking, and marketing skills. You will also find friends from different faculties through the ambassador programme! The application period usually starts in the Autumn.

International UTU Ambassadors 2020-2021
UTU Ambassadors 2020-2021

Language and Culture Tandem

Even though it is a course in the Centre for Language and Communication Studies, I think it is also a great student life activity. The course connects two students: one Finn and one foreigner. The pair learns languages together. The international student learns Finnish while the local student learns your language.

The pair itself determine when to meet, how much, and what topics to learn. Throughout my studies, I had three tandem panthers. It is an amazing opportunity to find a new Finnish friend, practice the language as well as find out more about Finnish culture. At the same time, it is a special experience to share your own culture and language with a foreigner who is truly interested in that!

Friendship Programme

The Friendship Programme is organized by the Study in Turku network. It gives an opportunity for international students and local citizens to find each other and become friends. The programme pairs a foreign student with a local person. Through that, you can get to know life in Finland better from a perspective of a local. The pair can do different activities and explore Turku together. Sometimes common events for all pairs are organized. It is an efficient way of cultural exchange. You can read more about the Friendship Programme experience in Polychronis´ blog post.

Ad of the Friendship Programme organized by Study in Turku
The Friendship Programme. Source: Study in Turku

Student organisations

You can join your subject organization and hobby organizations. Student Union TYY has more than one hundred different organisations. In the subject-specific organisation of your degree programme, you can meet students from your faculty. You can participate in different events of the organisation, meet like-minded students, and find activities of your interest. I study Futures Studies, and my subject organisation is Black Swans – Futures Studies Students of Turku. It has organized board game evenings, social gatherings, and online writing sessions.

Erasmus Student Network regularly organises different events, trips, and excursions for international students. ESN focuses more on exchange students; however, all students are welcome to join the activities.

TYY Wings

You can become a member of one of the TYY Wings. Wings are volunteer organisations that implement the values of the Student Union. There are four wings: Development Cooperation, Environmental, Equality, and International. It is a great opportunity to become closer to the activities of the Student Union. Moreover, you can learn more about things you are interested in and influence their development at the University.

You will also organize free time activities for students. For example, Equality Wing organized a Book Club in the Spring semester of 2022. International Wing invited students to beginner meditation classes. Environmental Wing offered a board game evening and a plogging event for students. The Wings together organized the Wings Sitsit party in English. Sitsit party is a traditional part of Finnish student life.

TYY Equality Wing's Book Club invitation
Source: Instagram @TYYnSiivet

TYY Executive Board

TYY Executive Board manages the daily affairs of the Students Union. Board members work under the guidance of the specialist and implement different interesting projects within the TYY’s plan of action. TYY Executive Board consists of the Chair and 5 to 7 members.

As a board member responsible for international affairs and development cooperation in 2021, I organized different events, online info sessions and a campus tour for international students. I also participated in the organisations of the orientation week for new international students, international tutor training sessions, post-exchange orientation and many other different things. In addition to that, I was answering a variety of questions from the students. I got to work also with the university’s administration and Study in Turku network representatives.

This activity requires more commitment and daily presence. However, you also learn a lot and develop yourself. Some Finnish skills would be beneficial. The application period is usually in the Autumn. The board term is for one year. The new board always starts in January and is active until December.

TYY Executive Board members 2021 with rainbow flag. TYY is an important factor for active student life in Turku.
TYY Executive Board members 2021. Source: Instagram @StudentUnionTYY

Student Union Council

Student Union Council consists of 41 members. The members are elected by the students through voting. The next elections will be held in the Autumn of 2023. Student Union Council has a high level of decision-making power. It decides what the Student Union will do during the year and what it should especially focus on. Also, it approves the annual budget of the Student Union. The Executive Board implements the plan approved by the Student Union Council.

I have provided you with an overview of different opportunities for international students to participate more actively in student life. Think of your own interest and goals. According to them, you can choose activities that are the most exciting and suitable for you. Being an active student is beneficial for your future career and gives excellent networking opportunities!

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Last updated: 29 July 2022

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