Erasmus Forum Finland.
Everything about Erasmus in Finland.
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Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:23 pm

Erasmus information - Finland general information

by FinlandBoy » Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:53 pm

Living in Finland
Currency and Banking Issues

Even though students spend only a short period of time in Finland, it is practical to have a bank account here. The banks (pankki) will advise on the best forms of account. It is easy to manage current payments from a normal deposit account. A bank card can be obtained for an account enabling its holder to make withdrawals from cash dispensers (marked with the yellow sign “Otto”), found in most towns and even villages, and to pay for e.g. groceries in the stores. Foreign currency may be converted to euros at banks or in currency exchanging machines.

Once the students arrive in Jyväskylä, the tutors will help them with banking issues. There are a number of different banking groups e.g. Nordea, Sampo and Osuuspankki. The services they offer are quite similar and they have branches throughout the country. You can deposit, withdraw or pay bills at any other office of the bank you are using nation-wide. You can also deposit money into other accounts as well as into your own account at any branch of a bank of any banking group in the country. Apart from that, there are bank machines. The banks are open on weekdays from 9.30–16.30. Money can also be exchanged at practically every bank in Finland. There is a special foreign currency exchange section (valuutanvaihto).

The electric current in Finland is 220 V (230 V) / 50 Hz. The plugs conform to European standards.
Grocery Shopping & Dining Out

You can do most of your grocery shopping at supermarkets, such as Prisma, City-Market, Anttila, Mini-Mani, City-Sokos, Lidl etc. City-Sokos is probably the most expensive one of these, although it does have a wide selection of goods. Anttila, Mini-Mani and Lidl are quite economical. Stores are generally open six days a week. Typical hours of operation for large supermarkets are Mon – Fri 9.00 – 21.00, and Saturdays 9.00 – 18.00 (during the Christmas and summer time also on Sundays 12.00 – 21.00). Smaller stores and shops usually close a couple of hours earlier than the larger ones. There is a marketplace in town, at the corner of Väinönkatu and Yliopistonkatu, which is worth visiting and buying fresh fruits and vegetables in the summer.

If you are accustomed to spicy food, Finnish food (ruoka) may seem bland. But there are spices available in the supermarkets that would suit your palate. Lunch is usually served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. With the main course you can have salad (salaatti), bread (leipä) and a glass of milk (maito), water (vesi) or Finnish home beer (kotikalja) if you wish. Jyväskylä has several fast food restaurants, e.g. McDonald’s and Hesburger, as well as ethnic restaurants and a number of pizzerias, some of which offer home delivery service.

Every Finnish municipality or city has one or more public libraries (kirjasto) from which all the inhabitants (including citizens of foreign countries) can borrow material (books, periodicals, audio-visual material, ADP and CD-ROM discs, video tapes, and DVDs). In most cases, borrowing books is free of charge, but if an item is not returned by the due date, a fine will be charged. The collections include materials in English and several other languages. Jyväskylä City Library (kaupunginkirjasto/ maakuntakirjasto) is located at Vapaudenkatu 39–41. There are also several branch libraries (sivukirjasto) in various parts of Jyväskylä.

When you visit a library for the first time, take some form of personal identification along with you. The library will issue you a library card that you can use to borrow the material you want. The lending period for books is generally one month.

The Main Library of JAMK is situated on the Main Campus at Rajakatu 35. Each school of the University of Applied Sciences has its own library facilities. Through the Information Network of JAMK, all the individual libraries are connected to the FUNET network providing the students with numerous domestic and foreign connections to universities and universities of applied sciences. The students also have access to the catalogues at the local libraries, and to a great number of domestic and foreign CD-ROM and other databases. All the libraries have workstations for information retrieval and for personal work.

The students of JAMK, including our exchange students, may also borrow books at the Main Library of the University of Jyväskylä - Jyväskylä University Library (Yliopiston pääkirjasto) on the Seminaarinmäki campus in Seminaarinkatu 15.
Postal Services

You will find post offices (posti) or their outlets even in very small towns (e.g. at R-kioskis), as well as in most suburbs in Finland. The hours of operation for the offices may vary, but normally they are Mon – Fri from 9.00 to 18.00 and for the outlets the opening times of the place in charge. The main post office in Jyväskylä is located at Vapaudenkatu 61 and it’s operating hours are 8.00 – 20.00. There are also orange-coloured post-boxes in most parts of the town. Stamps (postimerkki) can also be purchased from some kiosks (kioski) and department stores.
Religious Life

In Jyväskylä, there are many different churches and denominations represented. The majority of Finns are Lutheran. You will find the addresses and telephone numbers for the Lutheran churches in the telephone directory under Jyväskylän kaupunkiseurakunta, seurakuntakeskukset (tel. +358 (0)14 636 611) or under Jyväskylän maaseurakunta (tel. +358 (0)14 338 7300).

There are other churches in and around Jyväskylä as well, such as (but not limited to):

Orthodox Church, Rajakatu 39, tel. +358 (0)20 610 0210
Roman Catholic Church, Yrjönkatu 36, tel. +358 (0)14 612 659
Pentecostal Church, Lyseonkatu 3, tel. +358 (0)14 338 6700
Evangelical Free Church Puutarhakatu 16, tel. + 358 (0)14 614 026
Islamic Community of Central Finland, Vaasankatu 4 A, tel. +358 (0)40 535 2010

The Right of Public Access

In Finland everyone is allowed to roam freely throughout the countryside. This is referred to as the right of public access (jokamiehen oikeus). This means that you can walk around and pick forest berries and mushrooms, go boating and swimming, etc. on what is actually private land or water. The exceptions to this law should be carefully observed. They are:

Do not light a fire without the landowner’s permission or if there is any risk of the fire spreading.
Do not set up a tent or shelter without the landowner’s permission.
Beware of picking rare and endangered species of plants.
Do not damage live trees or any parts of them.
Do not steal birds’ eggs or nests.
A fishing licence is always needed and can be purchased, for example, at a post office.
Observe the privacy zone close to people’s homes and private jetties.

Please remember the special rules and restrictions in the national parks and other protected areas.
Smoking – Alcohol – Drugs

Finland has one of the world’s strictest regulations against smoking. Smoking is not allowed e.g. in public buildings, and it is often indicated with the sign ”Tupakointi kielletty / Rökning förbjuden”. In nightclubs, dance restaurants, bars and pubs, smoking is prohibited. At JAMK, smoking is allowed only within areas specifically allocated for smokers (the Act relating to smoking 1.3.1995).

Alcoholic beverages are heavily taxed in Finland and are sold in special stores called Alko. Beer and other mild alcoholic beverages are sold in supermarkets and grocery stores. To buy beer and mild wines you have to be at least 18 years old and able to prove it with official personal identification. Stronger forms of alcoholic beverages, such as spirits and wines, are available only at Alko (state liquor store), and sale is not permissible to persons under the age of 20. Alcoholic beverages are forbidden within the premises of JAMK.

In Finland it is forbidden to possess, use, sell or in any other way be part of dealing with drugs (Chapter 50 of the Criminal Act, Finnish Law).

Students violating these laws and thereby causing damage are themselves solely responsible for the consequences.
Sorting Waste

Special attention is paid to sorting waste in Finland. Organic waste has to be put in a separate container. You will find these containers, as well as others for glass, metal, paper/ cardboard, burnable material, general scrap waste, etc. in waste disposal/ recycling areas.

The area code of Jyväskylä and its region is 014. When making local calls on a fixed connection, leave out the area code. In order to phone or fax from abroad to Finland, you need to omit the first number of the area code, i.e. 0.

For international calls, dial the international prefix e.g. 990 (Sonera) or 996 (Finnet) or 999 (Elisa), then the country code, area code and telephone number. For example, to make a call to the University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK dial 990 (or 996) 44 1772 201 201.

Detailed call-related information is available e.g. on the Fonecta website.

In some of the few public phone boxes which are still available, you can use coins to make calls, but card phones are more common today. Phone cards may be acquired in Jyväskylä from R-kiosks, for example. Please note that there are different companies that provide card phone services. Their phone cards can be used only in the phone boxes of the particular phone company.

Mobile phone subscriptions already outnumber fixed connections in Finland. If you want to get a mobile phone of your own, please ask for further information from the telephone companies DNA, Sonera, Elisa, to name only a few.

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