Applying for housing in Helsinki can be stressful as the housing market can be hard to navigate with the high demand and strained housing market. Thankfully as we were notified of our acceptance and embarkation on this exchange early, we were able to plan and apply for student housing such as HOAS early. Most of the Singaporeans we knew on exchange in Finland managed to get designated student housing, possibly due to the fact that we arrive from so far away, as compared to our fellow European exchange students, we also found that a large number of us got placed in the same estate, making it easy to connect and find company and familiar people.

I was placed with 2 fellow Singaporeans, so here are some tips when sharing an apartment with others.

  1. Create a Splitwise sharing account for expense calculation. You are likely to share items such as laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, or even ingredients such as onions or garlic, thus an expense sharing app will be useful for calculating the shared expenses of the apartment.
  2. Try to hang out in common spaces or keep your room door open when you are home. This allows for more opportunities to bond with your apartment mates and creates more chances to communicate.
  3. Share about your day and organise activities together. Simple activities such as preparing meals together or exploring the city together can be great for bonding and relationship building.
    A meal my roommates and I cooked and enjoyed together.
  4. Be considerate and ensure the livability of the space. Everyone has their own tolerance towards things such as cleanliness or noise, so it is best to clarify often if your roommates are bothered by your actions and offer to make changes. Communicating is the easiest way to avoid conflict.

Most apartment buildings or estates in Finland will have saunas as a common facility for the residents. So don’t forget to bring along a swimming costume for those sauna events!

Photos from my neighbourhood:

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