Vaasa is located on the western coast, 420 km from the capital Helsinki. With 65.000 inhabitants and of those 12.000 students, makes Vaasa the one of the best study cities in the country. Of the inhabitants there is 71 % Finnish speaking and 23 % Swedish speaking people. For you guys who have never heard that Finland has two main languages (Finnish 90% and 5.4% Swedish), I will now inform you, we who speak Swedish we are not from Sweden; we are just as much Finnish as the people who speak Finnish! And just to base this fact on something real, there is a city not far from Vaasa named Korsnäs, which is the most Swedish speaking region in the whole world! (Yes! more Swedish than any place in Sweden, I find that quite cool! :))
Living in Vaasa is nice; you are always near the nature, sea, archipelago and the city center. Renting a studio apartment is about 400€ a month, but you can find cheaper study apartments from VOAS(student housing foundation in Vaasa). Also it’s very normal to live by yourself instead of living in a shared flat.
Even thou Finland is quite expensive, as a student you can get lunch at school for 2,50 € and drink free water from the tap! Macaroni and noodles, also known as “student food” is very cheap if you don’t have money 😉 Drinking a 0,4 l beer in a bar is regularly 5 €, but at student events there can be cheaper ones. Because drinking in a bar is expensive, Finnish people always do pre-party at home before going out, also it’s ok to drink on the streets and when I say this, it’s not allowed by law, but the police don’t say that much about it…
Stereotypical Finnish drinking matters is, if they go out they often drink to get drunk and don’t dance before they are drunk 😉 haha
As I said Vaasa is a very nice study town, because everything is very close in the city center (just as here in Krakow). All the shopping, pubs, clubs and restaurants are situated around the main market square, so it’s very likely to meet people you know in the clubs.
With six big universities in Vaasa, there are a lot of events every week that you can attend! One common event is “Sitz”, an unofficial dinner where you have to follow rules, sing drinking songs and of course drink a lot!
Also there is one big special event in March every year for all the Swedish speaking students, Pampas Nationaldag (National day of Vaasa region). Students from all over Finland gather in Vaasa to party in different kinds of events for a whole week.
Video from Pampas Nationaldag (the both days in the video is recorded in the morning)
In Finland we have a study tradition, every student has an overall. The overall has a color that describes your subject and in which school you are, then you can collect badges that you sew on your overall, these badges you get from almost every student event you attend. So in the end of your studies, you can see on the overall who has been actually studying and who has been partying more 😉
Even though Finland and its people are known for their alcohol-abuse and grumpiness that’s not all that meets the eye (even though the two that is mentioned before are true xD ). We are a loving, friendly and close to nature kind of people that love to just pack our stuff and go on a weekend retreat to our summer cottages. Especially in the summer we spend a lot of time on the weekends out on the sunny beaches on the western coast line. Of course you can do that on the lakes inland as well because let’s face it, we got about 190.000 (onehundrednintythousand )of them 😉 but that’s all about personal preferences.
So what do we do when we go out in the wilderness in the summer? Well that’s an easy question. We drink, barbeque, go fishing, play games (outdoors and drinking games) and go to the Sauna! Did you know that almost every house in Finland has a sauna? Well that is true.
The custom when going to sauna is;
1. Take a few beers with you.
2. Cut a bunch of small branches from a tree and tie them together and take that to the sauna as well.
3. Heat the sauna to about 70-90 degrees Celsius, and start throwing water on the hot rocks.
4. Drink one beer in-between each of these steps.
5. Hit the man/woman next to you with the water soaked branches until he or she can’t take it anymore.
6. Run like a maniac and jump into the sea or lake (in the winter the nearest snow pile or just smash a big hole in the ice and jump in).
7. Repeat all these steps until you pass out (kidding).
And also remember that all of this is done completely naked!!!
you can find Sauna’s everywhere
Europe’s largest archipelago, which is a UNESCO world heritage in Kvarken (Vaasa Achipelago). Did you know that the land is rising 1cm/year here!?
Mia and Markus