Studying at the University of Helsinki is so much more than just studies. The Student Union of the University of Helsinki, or HYY, is an exceptionally diverse and active student community. Next to almost anything you can think of, you can find among the 250+ student organisations in HYY: theatre groups, bio diving, martial arts, political and civic activism, classical choirs and headbanging, a kink society, insect gourmet – you name it, we have it.
There are over 27 000 members in the HYY community! Student organisations and events are a great way to become one with Helsinki and the university. You’ll meet and work with new people and make friends, party, network, and learn new skills not available at courses.
All degree students become members of HYY. Exchange students are also more than welcome to join; the student union membership will make your stay in Helsinki all the more enjoyable and memorable.
How to & why join the Student Union HYY
Members are entitled to a vast variety of student discounts and benefits from everything from local and long-distance transport to health care services by the FSHS. The easiest way to prove your student status and get all the student discounts on offer is to order a Student Card. Follow Frank on Facebook to keep up with the latest updates.
Student Union HYY provides its members a wide array of services, such as support with study counselling and legal protection at the university, advice on housing, subsistence and state benefits and free legal counselling by the subject organisation of our law students.
If you face harassment, bullying or inappropriate behaviour of any kind at the university or in student organisation activities, you can contact HYY’s harassment contact persons.
Students are an influential part of Finnish civil society and democracy at the university
Every tenth Helsinkian is a student, and student life and university campuses are prominent parts of the city. The student movement in Finland and in Helsinki is more influential in civil society and politics than probably anywhere else in the world.
Political activity is vivid and colourful within the student movement, in the city of Helsinki and also nationally. See, for instance, political groups in student politics at the university and our various civic issue groups.
Many top politicians, leaders and civil society advocates in Finland are student movement alumni. Being active, volunteering and working within the student union is a great way to build networks and get invaluable hands-on experience in advocacy, policy measures and civil action.
HYY manages and elects hundreds of student representatives to work at the university to look after students’ interests. International students have equal opportunities to work as a student representative, for instance, in their own degree programmes and faculties. Ask more from your tutor or HYY’s specialists Aaro and Heikki.
The biggest and most spectacular student events by HYY
The Freshman Adventure, Flora, Opening Carnival, Anniversary Ball and the B-Day Afterparty Bash. Plus all the countless parties, happenings and festivities both posh and chillaxed our organisations host every week, all year round. To keep up with HYY’s events & culture, go to: Culture & Events or the Facebook group for events & culture.
Where to experience ancient and regional Finnish student traditions and the wackiest and most out-there forms of student culture? In student nations!
There are fifteen regional student nations in the University of Helsinki, many of which are the oldest student organisations in Helsinki – they date back over 100 years. Getting into the nations is a true traditionalist’s choice, or of a fan of homely and cosy student living. Nations are also a place to spend free time, read newspapers, study, watch Netflix or just hang out. In addition to many typical student parties, nations also have their own traditional parties, which express the typical culture of their region. All nations warmly welcome international students; they are great way to dive in the deep end of Finnish student life.
How has life in #hyyhelsinki treated you, Marguerite?
“I come from the middle of nowhere in Virginia, U.S. During my bachelor’s studies there, I completed two best-time-of-my-life exchange semesters in Costa Rica and Sweden, and worked as an au pair in Denmark. Now I’m doing my master’s, and having another best-time-of-my-life at the University of Helsinki.
When you live abroad, you learn that there are many ways of communicating and accomplishing the same goal. New perspectives all add tools to the metaphorical toolbox. If a solution I was taught growing up does not work in a certain context, I have learned alternatives. Learning alternatives and cultural nuances are all the more important in the globalizing workplace and world.
I’m currently active in two international and three Finnish organizations. I looked for Finnish organizations because I wanted to meet Finns, integrate, and learn Finnish. It has been very rewarding in friendships, knowledge, and networks. I have also joined international organizations so that I can also feel like a more integral part and be more involved without the burden of a translation.
Student organizations are vital for bringing international and Finnish students together. At the University of Helsinki I have learned that organizations are what bring new students together. International and Finnish students naturally segregate due to language and common experience, so it takes extra effort on both sides to reach out, but I think it’s worthwhile for both.
Join lots of organizations to find which are the best fit for you! It’s the best way to build relationships and a new home here. When I first came, I had no idea how this university worked. I felt a little lost first, but gradually learned about different student organizations, started attending events, and built my new home.”