Moving to Finland: vocabulary


In this post I will list some Finnish words which will inevitably form your routine but are vitally important when settling in Finland (based on my experience of moving to live in Finland exactly three years ago). Please remember that each case is unique - in case if any doubt contact responsible authorities/service providers to get details you need. You can easily reach them through online support chat or by e-mail.

Henkilökortti – ID card. If you are not an EU/EEA citizen, you will most likely need this ID card to be able to get online banking that you will need both for payments and identity verification purposes. Another thing is that it confirms your identity generally, even though it is not a travel card. It is safer to carry it our around than your passport, as it may be easier and faster to restore ID card than your passport without restrictions to your international mobility. Read more at official pages of Poliisi (Police). 
Liittymä – sim-card. First, you should remember that if you just moved to Finland, you may need deposit to buy a personalised sim-card, not just anonymised surfing and calling package that you can purchase e.g. in R-kioski. Second, there are certain discounts for students and young people (for instance, for Telia users under 28). Third, some Internet packages are limited inside Finland, whereas others are unlimited. Fourth, packages offer different conditions on the amount of included phone calls, text messages and internet traffic in roaming. Fifth, sometimes promoters in shopping centers actually offer better deals.
Maistraatti – a local register office. For you, it will be a starting place to register your address in Finland. For example, in Helsinki public transport cards come at a discounted price only if you are shown in their system as the capital region (pääkaupunkiseutu) resident. Read more.
Matkakortti – a travel card. Its price may depend on your registration in the city where you are getting it, your student status or another status entitling you to discounted price, travelling zones and period of its validity. For example, in Helsinki, I pay around 53 EUR per month for student travel card, entitling me to unrestricted travelling in Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa, including public transport at night. It also has its own HSL mobile app for route planning (in comparison with GoogleMaps it also shows traffic disruptions and changes in routes).
Oleskelulupa – your residence permit is a confirmation of your right to reside and work in country (with or without restrictions). Make sure you keep your eye on it, as it is the document that allows you to enter the country.
Sähkölaskut  - in student housing, electricity bills are often included in the rent, but not always. In the private market, you should anyway pay it separately. Nobody may remind you about it – you should then conclude the agreement in advance, e.g. 2-3 weeks before moving in or even earlier. Usually it is done over the phone.  I approximately pay 10 EUR for electricity per month (studio apartment). Use online services to compare prices.  
Verkkopankki – online banking. It allows you to make payments online, as well as to have online calls with bank representatives (I tried this functionality this June, was so convenient!). It also acts as an easy identification system to apply for social benefits, change your forgotten university password or log into your Finnish sim-card provider portal to change the mobile package.
Vuokra-asunto – rented housing. It can be student housing or private housing. If it is student housing, it can be yksiö (studio, or one-room apartment), soluasunto (apartment shared with 2-3 another flatmates), perheasunto (family apartment, e.g. can come in form of kaksio – a two-room apartment) or kämppisasunto (friend apartment). Each student apartment block usually has its own group in Facebook, where you can leave questions to your future neighbours in advance. You can search for groups by address of your future appartments. On student housing in Helsinki region, read more at HOAS pages (OAS usually stands for opiskelija-asunto in the abbreviation).

More posts to follow!