I remembered when I received a student housing offer from Hoas and there was not much information about how a shared apartment looked like. I was worried that it’s going to be my first home in a foreign country and what if the roommates are not nice.
Lucky me, those are unnecessary worries. I liked my room immediately when I first arrived. Windows were 4-meter wide, looking into a small green bush. Two Finnish roommates were friendly. The first roommate I met in the hall wall noticed that I just moved across countries and had nothing but two suitcases, kindly offered me to use all her kitchen stuff.
The only furniture in my room was this big closet. Not even a light bulb. So the first two nights, I had to use the flashlight on my phone. When I woke up at 3am due to jetlag, I opened my eyes to see that the moon was so bright and the wind blew through the bush, I felt so cold, it seemed I was camping in the woods.
Although there’re a lot of places to get second-hand furniture for cheap prices or even for free, I had to buy them all new in the same shop since the new semester already started in Aalto when I arrived. My roommates helped me assemble all my furniture until late at night. I felt so blessed that they have always been kind and lovely since day one.
My room is 16.5 square meters, the whole apartment has 3 single rooms with a shared kitchen, a bathroom, a toilet, and a balcony. The total size is 79 square meters.
There are also a sauna, a laundry room, a drying room, two bicycle storage rooms, and a storage area on the ground floor. All tenants can book the sauna, washing machines and a dryer for free via an app. From time to time, we go to the sauna together.
My roommates and I get along really well. I learned a lot about Finnish culture from them. We celebrated Finnish holidays together and they taught me how to make authentic Finnish holiday food, like baking munkki for Vappu (May Day), building a ginger house for the first time for Christmas. Of course, I made authentic Taiwanese food to share with them. Also, there are countless nights we just sit in the kitchen chatting about our lives or discussing some serious social issues.
I enjoyed living in a HOAS shared apartment with my lovely roommates. It made my life so much easier when I settled down in the beginning. Also, emotional supports from them mean a lot to me when I had bad times. It’s such a lovely home for me.
New students are moving into Espoo or Helsinki to start their first school year at Aalto. Wish all of them a smooth move and a great new chapter in life.
MA of Creative Sustainability