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The Student Union of Ă…bo Akademi University

Information Guide for International Degree Students

Publications by The Student Union of Ă…bo Akademi University 6/2010


Contents The Student Union of Åbo Akademi University - your Student Union 3 The Organisation 5 Who is who at Kåren? 6 The Student Union fee 7 What benefits do members of the Student Union get? 8 Sectors within the Student Union 10 Where can I find information in English? 12 Finland-Swedish student life and traditions 14 Ecological living in Finland 16 Good to know 17 Important telephone numbers 18

Publisher: The Student Union of Åbo Akademi University Editor: Petra Lindblad, in cooperation with the staff and board members of the Student Union Illustrations: Paul Söderholm (Gnurf’s)


The Student Union of Åbo Akademi University – your Student Union According to Finnish law, all students studying at a university must join a student union. Being a member is in your own interests as the student unions are interest groups and service organisations for students. To join the Student Union of Åbo Akademi University (known as ÅAS or Kåren in Swedish) you have to pay the membership fee, which is currently 106 euros per academic year. ÅAS has about 5000 members, of which 1 500 study in Vasa and Jakobstad. The Student Union of Åbo Akademi University is governed by the same principles as the municipalities and the state. Elections for Student Union Parliament are arranged every year in November. It is important that you vote for someone you think will do a good job and who has similar opinions as you do. The parliament appoints the Student Union Board, whose members can be removed if the parliament no longer has confidence in them. The board holds the executive power. The parliament has different committees that are open to all student union members. Each committee has a specific area of responsibility and by joining one you can, for example, influence what activities the Student Union undertakes and help arrange all kinds of events. The Student Union offers you many kinds of services. It is the Student Union that administers the student cards, with which you receive many discounts. Kåren owns several student cafeterias, which serve food at a reasonable price. Various cultural events are arranged by the Student Union and in the Kåren building you will find the well equipped gym called Roddis. The Kåren Building Kåren is not only the shorter Swedish name for the Student Union of Åbo Akademi University, it is also the name of the Student Union’s own building that is located at Tavastgatan 22. The Student Union office is situated on the third floor and is open on weekdays (Monday-Friday) between 12-15. It is here you will pick up your student card (Lyyra). You can also buy merchandise. At the office you can find brochures with useful information regarding your studies. You can also use the photocopier and the fax machine. If you have questions about your studies or the student life, the staff at the Student Union office is more than happy to help you. On the second floor you will find Café Kåren, which is one of the cafeterias that the Student Union owns. It is open weekdays between 11-15. On the second floor is also the main hall, where concerts and parties are arranged,as well as many annual balls. Participation at various parties at Kåren is a good way to meet people from other departments. Pub Kåren is located on the first floor of the building. Kåren is the home of more than 40 students, who live in Tavasthem. There are shared kitchens and bathrooms on all floors, but the lodgers have their own rooms. In the basement you’ll find Roddis, the Student Union’s very own gym. There you can work out for a reasonable price. If you need any advice on how to use the equipment, the instructors will help you out. You need a hid key to enter Roddis. There is also a sauna at Kåren, which can be booked via the Office Secretary, kskaren@abo.fi. Kåren was designed by the architect Erik Bryggman and is protected by the National Board of Antiquities, as it is considered to be architecturally valuable. The students themselves started the building work by digging the foundations. Sponsors supported the project financially and they were honoured when the building was ready and its rooms named. For example, Argentinasalen, (the “Argentina Room”) is called so because 12 million old Finnish marks were raised by selling coffee from Argentina, donated by a former Åbo Akademi University student in Buenos Aires.




What does the Student Union do? The Student Union tries to make sure that the conditions for your studies are as good as they can be. This is done by influencing the decision-making bodies of Åbo Akademi University at all levels (including department levels). Student representatives, elected by the students, are members of all these bodies. The Student Union also tries to influence decision-making through statements and delivering opinions on current propositions. Another important area of work is social affairs that are particularly important for students, e.g. housing, health care, student discounts, and most importantly, financial aid for students. There is considerable cooperation with the other student unions in Åbo; the Student Union of the University of Turku (TYY) and the Student Union of Turku University of Applied Sciences, as well as the National Union of University Students in Finland (FSF in Swedish, SYL in Finnish). The Student Union also tries to offer students at Åbo Akademi University leisure time activities by arranging e.g. subsidised cultural events. Moreover, ÅAS supports the different student associations financially.

Organisational chart for the Student Union




The organisation The Student Union Parliament is the highest decision-making body of ÅAS. It has 31 members, who are elected by the student union members every November for a one-year mandate period. The parliament elects a chairperson and two vice chairpersons among its members. They constitute the presidium that draws up the agenda for the (usually) monthly meetings of the parliament. These meetings are open to all student union members, although some matters may be discussed behind closed doors. Everyone can ask for permission to speak, but naturally the parliament members are the only ones allowed to vote. Being the highest decision making body, the parliament has to approve of all important appointments (e.g. the election of the Student Union Board and the Business Sector Board) and statements. At the December meeting, the activity plan and budget for the coming year are approved. The committees are open for all student union members, so you do not have to be a member of the parliament in order to participate. You do not even have to know anything about the subject area of the committee. It is enough to be interested in it, and possess the will to actually do something together with other interested people. You can find more information about the committees at our homepage: www.abo.fi/karen/en The Student Union Executive Board is appointed by and needs to hold the confidence of the student parliament at all times. If not, the parliament can fire the board members. The board has one chairman and five members. Each member has his or her own area of responsibility. The board’s activities are continuous; there is a meeting every week. The business sector has its own board consisting of three student representatives (including the chairman) and three other members. There is also a managing director, Lena Backman, who is in charge of executing the decisions that the board has made and who manages the renting of the Tavasthem rooms and other premises. Remember that YOU can influence the decisions of The Student Union of Åbo Akademi University by voting in the student union elections, which are held every year in November. YOU elect the members of the parliament, who then nominate the two boards and appoint the secretary general. The Student Union Board appoints the other secretaries. The Business Sector Board appoints the managing director, who in turn appoints the rest of the personnel.




Who Is Who at Kåren? The people you will meet when you come up to the the student union office in Kåren and e.g. when you pick up your student card are these: The Secretariat The Board is assisted by the Secretariat. The Secretary General is the chief of the staff, prepares proposals by the Boars and the Student Union Parliament, participates in interest group activities and is responsible for financial affairs. gs-karen@abo.fi +358(0)2 215 4652 The Secretary of Educational Affairs is responsible for academic affairs, higher education policy and the protection of student´s rights. hs-karen@abo.fi +358 (0)2 215 4139. The Secretary of Social and International Affairs works with issues related to student housing, health care, equality, student’s general well being and exchange students and is also the contact person for disabled students and for students subjected to different kinds of harassments. ssu-karen@abo.fi +358 (0)2 215 4653 The Secretary of Information is in charge of the webpage and the weekly news bulletin Bullen. He is also responsible for the weekly information mails. Additionally he works as ombudsman in the event of harassments together with the Secretary of Social and International Affairs. is-karen@abo.fi +358 (0)2 215 4656 The Office Secretary takes care of most of the administration at the Student Union Office and the Office Secretary is the one you will meet first when you come to the office in Åbo. ks-karen@abo.fi +358 (0)2 215 4650. The Student Union Executive Board The student union executive board consists of a chairman and five board members. Two of the Board members work in Vasa. Each board member has a specific responsibility area. Every member has also a subsidiary area of responsibility. You can contact any of these persons in issues or questions relating to their task. The main responsibility areas are: President: so-karen@abo.fi Social Affairs in Vasa: sav-karen@abo.fi Social Affairs in Åbo: saa-karen@abo.fi Educational Affairs in Vasa: hav-karen@abo.fi Educational Affairs in Åbo: haa-karen@abo.fi Internal Affairs and Student Activities: stua-karen@abo.fi




The Student Union fee The student union membership fee is currently 106 euros per academic year and 53 euros per half-a-year. There is a separate sports fee (20 euro) that you have to pay if you want to take part in the sports activities that are arranged by Ă…bo Akademi Univeristy. The student union card The National Union of Finnish Students (SYL/FSF) issues the Student Union membership card, also known as the student card Lyyra, opiskelijakortti (in Finnish) or studentkort (in Swedish). In order to obtain your student card you have to pay the student union fee (save the receipt!) and register at Ă…bo Akademi University. After that, the Lyyra card can be ordered and paid at: www.lyyra.fi. The charge for the card is 16,60 euro and you will need a digital photo for it. You will be informed when the card is ready. You can then collect your card at the Student Union office. When you do that, you have to show your receipt of paying the membership fee. he membership fee has to be paid every year, and you also have to validate your student card every year. This is done by getting a new sticker for the card. The card is not valid without the annual sticker. The student card works as a student identification card and you are entitled to certain benefits with it. The card is also a library card at the university libraries.




What benefits do members of the Student Union get? Finnish Student Health Service The Student Health Service provides low cost health care for Student Union members all over Finland. A visit to a doctor or a nurse is free. A dental check-up costs 4,50 euro and a visit to a specialist is 6 euro. For more information, see the student healthcare website at www.fshs.fi Health Center in Åbo Kyrkovägen 13, 20541 Åbo Open Mon-Fri 8-16.00 Appointments: General practitioners and specialists 046 710 1050, 8-15.00 Dentists 046 710 1047, 8-15.00 Mental health services 046 710 1045, 9-11.00 Discounted travel You get 50% off rail travel and coach travel (for journeys of over 80 km), by showing your student card when you buy the ticket in advance. For more information on trains, see: www.vr.fi, and for coaches, www.matkahuolto.fi. You can also get discount travel cards for local buses in Åbo with your student card or an official student certificate from the university. The place to buy these cards in Åbo is the public transport office at Eriksgatan 10. See: www.bussit.turku.fi. Student restaurants and student lunch At student restaurants you can eat cheap student lunches if you show your student card. The cost for a student lunch is around 2.60 euro. The Student Union of Åbo Akademi University is the owner of six student restaurants and one student café in Åbo: Café Arken, Biskopsgatan in Åbo . Lunch Mon-Thu 11-15.30, Fri 11-15 Café Fänriken in the ASA building, Fänriksgatan 3 in Åbo. Lunch Mo-Thu 11-15, Fri 11-14.30 Café Kåren, Tavastgatan 22, 2nd floor in Åbo. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-15 Café Gadolinia, Porthansgatan 3, 2nd floor in Åbo. Lunch Mon-Thu 11-16, Fri 11-15 Café Hanken, Henriksgatan 7 in Åbo. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-14.30 Café Sydväst, Nunnegatan 4 in Åbo. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-14 Bibbacafé in the main library in Åbo, Domkyrkogatan 2-4. Open Mon-Fri 14.45-18.30 You will find weekly menus etc. at the address: www.abo.fi/karen/lunch There are also other student restaurants located all around the university area. General discounts With your student card you can get discounts at most youth hostels in Finland. Ask for a discount when booking. You can also get discounts on everything from takeaway pizza to haircuts by showing your student card. It’s always worth asking! Kårkalendern Kårkalendern is the Student Union calendar which follows the academic year. The calendar is pocker-sized and helps you organise your life. It’s mainly in Swedish, but contains e.g. dates for the biggest Finnish student events. Studentbladet This is a Swedish-language student newspaper that comes out every second week during the academic year to all Student Union members including international students. Legal advice As a Student Union member you are entitled to legal advice. You can turn to the legal counsellors in matters of inheritance, housing (e.g. tenancy agreement), taxation, employment etc. Please notice that writing or 


making contracts don’t belong to the counsellors work description, but they can give you useful legal advice. You can visit or call the legal counsellors every Tuesday and Thursday 18-19. Address: Student Union of the University of Turku (TYY), Yo-talo, Rektorsåkersgatan 4, ground floor (02 276 9614). Both counsellors speak fluently English and the service is free of charge. Student priest Peter Gustavson is the Student Union’s own priest in Åbo. If you want to talk about issues concerning religion or life in general, you can always contact Peter. He is at the Student Union office (Tavastgatan 22, 3rd floor) every Tuesday 12-14. You can also call (+358 2 215 4139 / +358 40 341 7296) or e-mail him: peter.gustavson@evl.fi Kåren’s gym – Roddis The Student Union has its own gym in Åbo, located in the cellar at Kåren (Tavastgatan 22). The price for getting your key programmed to the gym is 40 euro for half a year and 70 euro for the whole year. Pay this amount to: Nordea 228418-125636, recipient Åbo Akademis Studentkår. Include your name, matriculation number and the period of time you wish to pay for in the message. Take the receipt to the Student Union office and we will activate your hid key. If you don’t have a hid key, you can get one from the Åbo Akademi Main Building at Domkyrkotorget 3 in Åbo. Before you start to use it, you can come and check it out - just come to the Student Union office at Kåren and ask one of the board members to show it to you. Note: you don’t have to pay the ÅA sports fee to get access to Roddis. Sports at Åbo Akademi University The sports fee for the academic year is 20 euros for students. Information about sports at Åbo Akademi University can be found on the university’s homepages: www.abo.fi/student/Content/Topic/topic/motion/?setlanguage=en. ÅA sports has a lot to offer to all of you who like sports. Volleyball, aerobics, spinning, bailatino dancing, wall climbing... you name it! There are sports just for the sake of exercise, as well as competitions. There are also many courses, giving you a chance to try a new sport and maybe find the perfect sport for you. Sports at Åbo Akademi University are not supposed to be deadly serious. First and foremost it should be fun, and everybody that wants to can take part. The sports activities are coordinated by the Sports Secretary Carl (Calle) Myrberg, who you will find in Domus (Biskopsgatan 10) during office hours. Questions about ÅA sports? Contact Sports Secretary Calle Myrberg (cmyrberg@abo.fi, 02 215 4654). There are also several student associations who organize sports events, see www.abo.fi/karen/en




Sectors within the Student Union Educational affairs Studying at a university entails great freedom. You are free to plan your own schedule and to study what interests you the most. It also entails great responsibility. You have to make sure that you learn useful things, receive guidance and support, get an education that is valuable on the labour market, and actually graduate. The Student Union not only takes part in discussions about education within Åbo Akademi University, but also on a national and international level. We follow the current issues and look after students’ interests. In practice, this means joining working groups, writing statements, taking part in seminars and discussions, keeping in touch with student representatives from different bodies, informing students about what is going on and sometimes even arranging demonstrations. International Affairs The Student Union’s international affairs are in the hands of all board members and both political secretaries. International affairs are mainly about keeping in touch with our international students and being up-todate with current international educational issues. There are more than 500 international students at Åbo Akademi University. They are exchange, undergraduate or postgraduate students. The majority of the international degree students are from the other Nordic countries, whereas most exchange students come from Spain, Italy, Germany and France. ESN (Erasmus Student Network) plans and realises activities for international students. Its activities are also open to Finnish students; the idea is to provide a meeting place for different cultures and to help integrate international students into Finnish student life. For all international degree students studying in Åbo there is also ISTU (International Students of Turku Univerisities) which is an organisation that provides opportunities for both master’s and doctoral degree students to meet each other and enjoy social activities. The social policy sector The social policy sector is divided into two main parts: looking after students’ interests at a national and a local level, and practical action within the framework of Åbo Akademi University. The most important issues are students’ income, health care and housing. On the national level, interests are mainly looked after through cooperation with the other student unions within the National Union of University Students in Finland (FSF in Swedish, SYL in Finnish). On a local level, there is cooperation with the student union of the University of Turku. Much of the work consists of following and taking part in the general discussion on issues concerning the activities of e.g. the Ministry of Education, the Finnish Student Health Service and the Turku Student Village Foundation. We try to make sure that the situation is as good as possible for students! Equality Discrimination is prohibited by Finnish law. A person must not be treated differently from others on the grounds of his or her sex, age, origin, language, religion, beliefs, opinions, state of health or disability, or any other reason. The Student Union of Åbo Akademi University works to ensure that the law is followed. If you feel that you are being discriminated, do not hesitate to contact the Student Union for help. You can see the ombudsmen for harassment at the Student Union office on weekdays, or contact them by e-mail ssu-karen@abo.fi or is-karen@abo.fi. Phone 02 215 4653 or 02 215 4656

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Sexual harassment Sexual harassment is any unwanted one-sided physical or verbal behaviour that has negative consequences for the person that is subjected to it. This behavior includes: • Gestures or expressions that are sexually suggestive • Comments on a person’s body, choice of clothes or private life • Pornographic material, sexually suggestive letters, phone calls or e-mail • Physical or sexual contact, or proposals or demands for sexual intercourse • Rape, or attempted rape According to Finnish law, employers are obliged to make sure that nobody gets sexually harassed at work. The university is also responsible for its students. If you feel that you are being sexually harassed, it is important that you address the matter, however difficult you find it. If you do not want to confront the harasser yourself, or if the harassment continues even after you have told the harasser to stop, you can contact either the harasser’s superior (if the harasser is an employee at the university) or the ombudsmen for harassment at the Student Union. You can see the ombudsmen for harassment at the Student Union office on weekdays, or contact them by e-mail ssu-karen@abo.fi or is-karen@abo.fi. Phone 02 215 4653 or +358 (0)2 215 4656 You can talk to them freely about any issues, since they are obliged to treat them as confidential. It is her duty to help you by listening and taking necessary action. Remember, nobody has to put up with sexual harassment, and it can only come to an end if you do something! Students with special needs Many of Åbo Akademi University’s buildings are old and have high stairs and doorsteps. In case of any problems, Regina Shariatmadari at the Office for Academic and Student Affairs in Gripen should first be contacted, +358 (0)2 215 4169, studinfo@abo.fi. She will help contacting the people who are able to actuate in these matters. Of course, you can also contact the Student Union if you have any questions.

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Where can I find information in English? The main source of information about what is going on is e-mail. In Åbo international students receive information through the Nuntii e-mailing list. ‘Nuntii’ is the Latin word for ‘news’. On this list you will find information both about courses and social events, as well as other things that are important to know. The International Office, ESN and the Student Union all use this e-mail list for sending information. You will automatically receive e-mails to your abo.fi e-mail address. The Student Union news bulletin is called Bullen, and it is released every Tuesday. You can find it on the tables of all student restaurants and in the Student Union buildings. Most of the information is in Swedish, but on the last page you will always find “Bullen in English” which is aimed for you, the international students. It is also a good idea to check out notice boards around campus for information about events in the near future. Information is also spread through the Student Unions fan page on Facebook. Search for: Åbo Akademis Studentkår - ÅAS The Student Unions home page: www.abo.fi/karen/en The degreestudents list The Student Union also maintains a mailing list which is only meant for foreign degree students. This list is called “Degreestudents” and you can register by sending a request to hs-karen@abo.fi. International Students of Turku Universities ISTU ry ISTU is an organisation intended primarily for international degree students at the University of Turku, Åbo Akademi. ISTU provides opportunities for both master’s and doctoral degree students to meet each other and enjoy social activities, and hopes to raise the profile of international degree students at all levels of the university and student union. ISTU holds regularly scheduled pub nights. Past events have included a theater excursion to Helsinki, a soccer match, a May Day picnic, a welcome evening for new arriving degree students and a cruise to Stockholm. Stay up to date with current events and in touch with other international degree students in Turku by signing up for the istu-mailing list under: https://lists.utu.fi/mailman/listinfo/istu The Computing Centre Information Technology is today an integrated part of the daily work at the various units and institutions of our University. A continuously growing part of the communication takes place over the data network.Every employee and student is entitled to a user account for the access to the IT-resources at Åbo Akademi University.The Computing Centre (“Datacentralen” or simply “DC”) is responsible for the IT-infrastructure at the University, including user´s accounts, e-mail, work stations, server computers and user support. Some of our software agreements cover the home user´s computer as well. The central point of contact is the Help Desk, or Oraklet (the Oracle). The Help Desk in Åbo is located in the ASA building on Fänriksgatan 3B. Open at office days 8:00 - 16:00, Phone: 02-215 4777 (internally 4777), email: oraklet@abo.fi. The Computing Centre provides computer labs and public computers. Most computer labs are Windows labs, in Turku there are also some Linux labs available. The Aeon Computer lab in Gripen, Hämeenkatu 13, 2:nd floor (16 computers) The Aeon Computer room in Gripen, Hämeenkatu 13, 2:nd floor (11 computers) The Arken Computer lab in Arken, Tehtaankatu 2, 1:st floor, entrance from Piispankatu (28 computers) The ASA Computer lab in the ASA house, Vänrikinkatu 3B, 1:st floor (13 computers) The Axelia Computer lab in Axelia, Piispankatu 8, 1:st floor (21 computers) 12


The Axelia Computer room in Axelia, Piispankatu 8, 1:st floor (24 computers) The Hanken Computer lab in Hanken, Henrikinkau 7, 2:nd floor (15 computers) The ICT Computer lab in the ICT house, Joukahaisenkatu 3-5, 3:rd floor (9+3 computers) Mimers Brunn in the ASA house, Vänrikinkatu 3, available through the Computing Centre Helpdesk. The room is intended for multimedia projects (4 comuters with special equipment) The Penguin Farm in the ICT house, room A3028. 18 Linux computers, video projector. The Shelf in the machine hall in Axelia, 13 computers, mostly Linux but also Windows XP for some applications. The Biocity library in Biocity, Tykistökatu 6 (12 computers) Computer etiquette The key concept here is consideration for others. Remember that many people use the computer rooms for studying. People who are trying to write their Master’s thesis need peace and quiet! Also, if you have an urgent essay that needs printing, it can be quite frustrating to have to queue for hours because so many people are just surfing the net. In fact, students who need the computers for writing papers and doing other things related to studying can ask people who are only surfing the net to leave. The computer rooms can be very busy in the early afternoon so it would be advisable for you to do your e-mailing or surfing at other times of the day.

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Finland-Swedish student life and traditions Like every country, Finland has its own cultural traditions that vary regionally. In addition, student life brings its own traditions to the part of Finnish culture, which you will see during your stay here. Here is a presentation of the highlights of the year: Gulnäbbsintagning As an initiation process, the student associations and faculties organise a humorous race with small competitions for the new students. Students compete in teams, and if you want to you can join the event. You will recognize the event from the black plastic bags that the students wear, as well as from their noses which are painted yellow. This is because a new student is called “gulnäbb”, Swedish for “yellow beak”. Gulnäbbsakademin (Fresher’s Fair) The Fresher’s Fair, arranged in September is an opportunity for student associations to present their activities and recruit new members. Some companies are also present at this fair. This is also a chance for international students to find a student association, so do not hesitate to come. Lilla Wappen Lilla Wappen marks the end of the summer. Back in the day, when being a student was highly reputed in society, students used to wear their student caps all summer and only put them away for the winter. Lilla Wappen is a reminder of that time. Traditionally, there is a party at the end of September, and at midnight everybody takes off their caps and turns them inside out. Glöggrundan Glögg is a hot spiced drink which is drunk around Christmastime. Traditionally on the Friday before Advent, there is a chance to try some, courtesy of the student associations. The event is outdoors on Biskopsgatan in Åbo. December 6th – Independence Day Finland’s Independence Day is a quiet festivity compared to many other countries. Usually people stay at home and eat dinner, and watch the President’s annual independence ball. The student unions of Åbo also have a procession to the cemetery in order to honour the memory of those who died in the wars. Årsfest (Annual Ball) The Student Union and many student associations celebrate their birthday through an annual ball. The dress code is tailcoat or evening dress, and the traditions for the ball are very specific. The Student Union’s annual ball is always on a Saturday in mid-February and alternates between Åbo and Vasa. In 2011 the ball is held in Vasa. Fastlagstisdag/ Fastlaskiainen - Shrove Tuesday Fastlaskiainen is the common celebration among the Finnish- and Swedish Universities in and the name of the event is a combination of the Finnish word Laskiainen and the Swedish word Fastlag. This winter day in February is celebrated through sledge competitions at the hill called Vårdberget. Shrove Tuesday buns are also a must for this day. Trivial Pursuit –tournament In this tournament, pairs can compete for awards in the board game Trivial Pursuit. The event is organised in springtime. Wappen Wappen, also known as Wappu, Vappu or Valborg, is one of the most important student festivities. In Åbo there is a picnic by the river on the last of April, and in the evening all the Swedish speakers of Åbo gather at Vårdberget to hear the speech of the president of the Student Union board, as well as spring songs by the choir Brahe Djäknar. Afterwards there is a dinner at Kåren, and on the First of May, Vårdberget is filled with 14


picnickers – both students and families. Procession of flags An old and dear tradition of the Student Union is the procession of flags. It is a solemn way of celebrating the Independence Day, and it also gives colour to the First of May and Annual Ball festivities. The Finnish flag always leads the procession, and it is followed by the flag of the Student Union as well as the flags of the student associations. The procession is formal and the people walking in it should wear dark clothes and the student cap. Sitzes A sitz party is a traditional student party with its specific rules and style. In short, it is a two-course dinner with a lot of singing, eating and drinking. The singing is led by one or more toastmasters. It is important to respect the toastmasters, who have a big task in setting the style and pace of the evening. Usually people drink schnapps (a shot of vodka) at the sitz, but there is always a non-alcoholic alternative available. Before each schnapps, there is a song. Sitzes are usually arranged by the student associations, and their traditions differ quite a lot from each other. There is often also a specific theme for a sitz, for example Halloween, super heroes, summer or international stereotypes. NB! You never have to drink alcohol if you do not want to, it is always your own choice whether to drink and how much. At sitzes, there are usually people who take a nonalcoholic alternative. Getting blind drunk is not an obligatory part of the sitz culture. Student Associations at ÅAS There are almost 70 student associations within the Student Union. The associations unite people according to for example common subject of study, area of Finland, and interest or hobby. See: www.abo.fi/karen/en Student caps and overalls During your stay in Finland, you can be sure to encounter students dressed in overalls of different colours. The student cap is also worth mentioning, although it is worn more seldom. To give you an idea of what these pieces of clothing are all about, this overview has been written. Student Caps and overalls In Finland, if and when you pass your upper-secondary school leaving certificate, the studentexamen, you can wear the student cap, studentmössa. This is something to be proud of, and the school leaving ceremony, where the cap is worn for the first time, is an important occasion. At university, students wear the student cap on a number of occasions. One of these is 30 April, when Åbo Akademi students gather to celebrate the start of Wappen, the first of May. Another is Finland’s Independence Day, 6 December, during a procession to the graves of war heroes. Have you seen any students wearing mechanics clothes in bright colours? Those are overalls. The colour of the overalls depends on what you study. You customise your overalls as you like, with badges, patches, by letting your friends write on it, and you can exchange parts of your overall with someone else.

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Ecological living in Finland Finland is traditionally called”the Land of the Thousand Lakes”, and in fact, the number of lakes in our country reaches close to 190,000. Most of the towns and cities are built by water – either a lake, a river or by the sea. Sadly, the Baltic Sea is currently very much polluted, and needs actions on both national and international level in order for its underwater life to be restored. Finnish people have through times taken pride in our country’s beautiful nature and diversity through the changing of the seasons. The forests, known as our “green gold”, have played an important part both economically and in shaping a Finnish cultural identity. The silence and peace of the nature is one of the main attractions of faraway people who visit our country, and it is of utter importance to make sure our nature remains undistorted by the human hand. In your every day life, there are a number of things you can keep in mind in order to make sure your ecological footprint stays as small as possible, and through which you can contribute to the wellbeing of Finnish nature. Everyman’s right Finland’s legal concept of everyman’s right gives everyone the chance to enjoy outdoor pursuits, and the freedom of the country’s vast forests and fells, and many lakes and rivers, with few restrictions. http://www.ymparisto.fi/download.asp?contentid=25603&lan=fi Recycling of paper, cartons, metallic tins and glassware Recycling trash is part of sustainable and ecological way of living. In Finland it is common to recycle as much trash as possible. Check outside your apartment to see what is written on the different containers of trash. The words for paper, cartons, metallic tins and glassware in Finnish are paperi, kartonki, metalli and lasi and the name of recycling is “kierrätys”. Newspapers, envelopes and letters go into the container marked ‘paper’. Cartons are for example the boxes containing milk, cereal or cookies. Milk containers as well as metallic tins should be washed before they are put in the container. Glassware should be unbroken, and cups or plates that are ceramic do not qualify. A practical piece of advice is to have small containers (for example paper bags) in your apartment in which you can separate the trash, so that you do not have to go outside for every single piece but empty them once a week for example. Recycling of bottles and beverage cans Bottles and beverage cans are usually marked with the word “pantti” (Finnish) or “pant” (Swedish). This means that when they are empty, you can return them to the super market or grocery store and get some money in return. This custom of recycling has proven to be very effective, and makes a big difference in keeping the nature clean. Printing For students, the internet has become one of the most important sources of information. Libraries do not always have enough copies of course books, and you might have to resort to taking copies of the most important issues. Copy machines have instructions on how to copy on both sides, and most printers offer the same possibility. This is good both for you and for the nature: you get half the amount of paper to carry in your bag, and paper is used to its maximum by not printing one-sided copies. Should you by accident forget to print double-sided, you can use the old print-outs as paper for taking notes.

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Good to know Arbetsforum Arbetsforum is the name of the Career Services. If you need help with job-hunting, or are unsure what to do after graduation, this is the place to go. See www.abo.fi/arbetsforum for more information. Arbetsforum has got a separate e-mail list for international students that you can join. Copying There are photocopiers at many places on campus. You normally have to buy copying cards to use them. Try e.g. the main library. NB that some copiers require different cards than others. At the Student Union office you can take copies without a card, because you can pay in cash. Libraries Åbo Akademi University Library (main library) Domkyrkogatan 2-4, phone 02 215 4180 You can read foreign newspapers at the university’s main library. The Undergraduate Library at Åbo Akademi University (course books) Henriksgatan 9, phone 02 215 4192 See www.abo.fi and click A-Ö and choose “Library” for more information on the libraries of Åbo Akademi University. Turku University Library (located on the university hill) Phone 02 333 51 http://kirjasto.utu.fi/en/ Turku Public Library (the main library, smaller braches exist around the city) Slottsgatan 2, phone 02 330 000 Opening hours: Monday-Friday 10am - 8pm Saturday 10am - 4pm Sunday 12am - 6pm The public library’s newspaper room has also a large selection of foreign newspapers. WikiCompass Information about living and studying in Turku http://www.wikicompass.fi/ Student housing The Student Village Foundation has got flats in many different locations around the city. Check the homepage www.tys.fi or phone 02 275 0200 for more information. Info Bank Basic information for immigrants on the functioning of society and opportunities in Finland. http://www.infopankki.fi/

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Important telephone numbers Åbo Akademi University’s switchboard

(02) 215 31

The Student Union of Åbo Akademi University, Tavastgatan 22 The Office Secretary The Secretary General The Secretary of Educational Affairs The Secretary of Social and International affairs The Student Union Board The Student Union Board Chairman

(02) 215 4650 (02) 215 4652 (02) 215 4139 (02) 215 4653 (02) 215 4655 (02) 215 4651

The student desk, Tavastgatan 13 Reidun Palmu Regina Shariatmadari

(02) 215 4174 (02) 215 4169

The international office, Tavastgatan 13 Harriet Klåvus Monica Nylund Gurli-Maria Gardberg /Inka Lehtinen Annikki Abrahamsson

(02) 215 4510 (02) 215 4790 (02) 215 4891 (02) 215 4836

The Student Village Foundation, Inspektorsgatan 4

(02) 275 0200

The Student Health Centre, Kyrkovägen 13

046 710 1002

Åbo Police Station, Eriksgatan 40-42

071 87 40261

Registry Office, Auragatan 8

071 87 41330

Hostel Turku, Slottsgatan 39

(02) 231 6578

Taxi in Åbo

(02) 100 41

VR (trains) (1 euro/call + per minute price) www.vr.fi

0600 41 900

Matkahuolto (coaches) (1.50 euro/ call + per minute price) www.matkahuolto.fi

0200 4000

Viking Line (ferries) www.vikingline.fi

(02) 333 11

Silja Line (ferries) www.tallinksilja.com

0600 174 552

18


Notes

19


Tavastgatan 22 20500 Ă…bo

www.abo.fi/karen/en 02 215 4650

Information Guide for International Degree Students 2010  

Information Guide for International Degree Students 2010

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