During spring semester 2015 The Student Union of the University of Turku conducted a survey on living and housing situation of international students in Turku. In total 48 students answered the survey online and gave their opinions. Majority of the answers came from exchange students and most of the respondents lived in TYS’s apartments. 25 countries were represented in the survey, biggest nationality groups being French, Germans, Spanish, Italians and Russians.
Around one of third of the respondents lived first time on their own in Finland. The average rent was 355, 75 euros and around 62 per cent were living in their own studio. The rest lived in shared apartments. Most students found information about housing through University’s or TYS’s website before arriving. 47 out of 48 respondents felt that making a contract was easy and almost everyone had an apartment before arriving in Finland. A bit over half of the students felt that their rent was reasonable compared to high price levels in general while other half thought that living costs were too high. Most complains were given about the condition of the furniture and high rent.
Most of the students are spending 40-60 per cent of their monthly income on rent. A small group, around 8 per cent spends over 80 per cent of their monthly income. Also transportation costs seemed too expensive which many had solved by preferring biking or walking.
Almost 90 per cent of the students thought that their apartments are suitable for studying and living and nearly 80 per cent felt that the apartment is silent enough. 75 per cent felt they have enough privacy. Some students wished for more common spaces and did not like the fact that the Student Village’s common kitchens’ doors were locked during the nights. One clear problem was that half of the students had felt that heating was not good enough in their apartments. Almost half of the students had to contact TYS concerning defects and maintenance during their stay but the service was always quick and problems were solved.
TYY was especially happy to hear that almost all of the students felt that their living conditions in Turku are pleasant and safe. The biggest mentioned issue with safety was bike robbers. Some students mentioned they did not occasionally feel safe in their living area.
The Student Union will use the gathered information in improving international students’ living conditions in Turku. We will spread the information also to our housing partners, the University and the city of Turku. Feedback on specific problems faced by individual respondents will be anonymously directed to our housing partners. Thank you for participating in our survey!