Fall 2020 FAQ for Aalto international students

We compiled a collection of information of the most frequently asked questions and themes this fall 2020 for Aalto University's international students. A new semester is about to start and while it is quite different this time, we hope that we can ensure that everyone gets a good start.
 
General info and guidance from Aalto University:

When arriving to Finland:

  • Restrictions and recommendations regarding travelling keep changing constantly. You can follow the up-to-date instructions here (Finnish Government) & here (THL, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare).
  • Those who are travelling to Finland in the near future, check the current guidelines for border traffic here (Finnish Border Guard) and see if you need to stay in quarantine for two weeks after the arrival in Finland.
  • Note that Aalto University expects everyone coming from any country to stay off campus for two weeks after arrival, not just from the countries excluded from THL's safe travel list above.
  • Remember to make the official travel notification according to the instructions of your own home country, if applicable.
  • Make sure that you have a valid health insurance! EU-citizens must have a European Health Insurance Card with them (from the home country) and are recommended to have a private insurance too.
  • If you arrive at the airport and need to get to your hotel or home, we recommend taking a taxi if it's an affordable option to you. Many airport taxis have a glass between the backseat and the driver, and the drivers are aware that you are coming from a flight. Remember to disinfect your hands and use a mask during the trip.
  • Please inform your study coordinators about your arrival.

Quarantine:

  • Please note that you must be quarantined even if you have been tested for COVID-19 and have received a negative result. This is because the test result indicates the situation at the time of the test: it measures infection, not exposure. A negative test result does not exclude getting infected after testing or being pre-symptomatic. So, quarantine needs to last for 14 days regardless of testing results. More information here (THL).
  • Please visit the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL)'s website for more precise instructions on the self-quarantine (link above) and please also follow the instructions given by the authorities at the airport.

Face masks are recommended:

  • The Finnish government has issued a recommendation on using face mask in public transport and we also recommend that you use one if you have an urgent reason to spend time outside your home during quarantine.
  • Aalto University will provide the face masks needed for work and study purposes if safe distances cannot be ensured otherwise.

Housing and picking up the keys:

Living arrangements:

  • Please remember that usually apartments are unfurnished, and housing providers don’t provide e.g. bedlinen
  • Check out options to rent and buy furniture and necessary home items in Otaniemi: Reuse & Rescue for ordering rental packages online for homeware, kitchen equipment, home textiles and bedding, Teekkarikylän markkinat on Facebook and Aalto Sharetribe for exchanging and buying stuff, Recycling Centers in the Helsinki Capital Region as well as these Telegram groups: Giving away free stuff and Otaniemi buy and sell
  • Remember to wash your hands thoroughly and often, cough or sneeze to a tissue or your sleeve, keep safe distance to others and get yourself tested if you think you might have the virus. Talk with your roommates to organize daily living in the apartment during quarantine.
  • For food and groceries, you can order e.g. from k-ruoka.fi, foodie.fi and wolt.com. Most of these services are mainly in Finnish, but at least K-Ruoka has informed us that they can be contacted in English in the chat or by calling them.
  • For public transport, you can update your HSL card to get a student discount at pop up service points at Otakaari 1 Lobby until 4 September 12noon-4.15pm (payment by card). You can also buy a new HSL card and top up your card with a season ticket and value at these points. For the HSL discount, you need to be registered to a home municipality (exchange students can get a discount form signed and stamped by the Study Services of your Aalto school; read more on into.aalto.fi).

 Enrolment, user account & student card:

  • If you haven't yet enrolled and/or activated your Aalto user account, please do so as soon as possible (but no later than 4 September). New students should have received instructions on this earlier by e-mail.
  • As an AYY member you can download a digital student card Frank to your smartphone to access several student discounts. You can also order a plastic student card (€25 + delivery fee). Read more about the student card on AYY's website.

Orientation & teaching:

  • Most orientation activities will be held online. You are recommended to through the preorientation material on MyCourses, if you haven’t done that yet.
  • Teaching will continue mainly remotely. Teaching that cannot be organised remotely without significantly compromising the learning outcomes or quality of teaching will be organised on campus with safety measures. Check your own courses for more information.
  • As regards teaching offered on campus, priority will be given to first-year students. 

Wellbeing and sports info:

  • Wellbeing resources at Aalto on into.aalto.fi
  • MIELI ry (Mental Health Finland) has a Crisis Helpline in English, Arabic, Swedish and Finnish. 
  • Check out the 100+ associations operating within the student union to find if there's something for you.
  • For excercise and affordable student sport options (e.g. group training, ball sports, gym) in the capital region, check out Unisport

Income and tuition fees for continuing students:

  • You can check if you qualify for financial assistance from Kela by booking an appointment here.
  • ▪️ Note that students liable to tuition fees can apply for the Additional Semester Scholarship in case their graduation will be delayed by measures taken by the university to contain the coronavirus outbreak. If granted, the scholarship will cover 100% of the tuition fee for one additional semester.
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