More Than the Degree

The nuances of Aalto University's campus and student services

Hey there, I’m Labiba, a master’s student studying economics at Aalto and a part of the Aalto Squad! Starting your studies in university means a flurry of different questions running through your head, such as “How do I make sure I’m not eating frozen pizza every day?” and “Where do I cram an entire course's worth of material in one night?”, and many more. You’re in luck; this blog post delves into the intricacies of our campus, the services you have access to as a student, and overall how to make the most out of your time here as an Aalto student. 

Labiba having lunch with friends.

Let’s start with probably the most important aspect above all as a student: food. It’s easy to spiral into the alluring chaos of cheap ramen noodles, but luckily, Aalto University has other plans for you. On campus, we have a whopping ELEVEN campus restaurants to pick from! Other than a couple that offer more premium meals for when you feel like treating yourself, most of the campus restaurants guarantee you a hot meal, side salad, and a drink at a student-friendly price. As of writing this blog post, the price is at roughly three euros, (though readers from the far future should take this number with a grain of salt!). The campus restaurants offer different varieties of delicious foods from different cuisines, with one of them even being fully vegan. Hence, the options are endless, and the most exhausting part of my daily life is arguing with friends about where to eat on campus…

One thing that Aalto is never short on is study spaces. With an access card/token (which can be registered separately once you start your studies), you have the entirety of the campus at your fingertips. Through our very own Aalto Space app, you’re able to easily book study spaces and conference rooms within all of the campus buildings. The app is also great at getting you on your feet by providing directions for those classrooms that are trickier to find! A handful of buildings house a ‘study hub’ which has everything required for a productive study session; you can find students cramming for exams all night long at these study hubs, which really sets the mood for exam week. Additionally, the campus boasts state-of-the-art research infrastructure and workshop facilities, including a Low Temperature Laboratory which holds several world records for the lowest temperatures ever recorded. For further reference and an illustrative dive into the campus itself, I recommend the virtual campus tour which you can access through the university website!

The campus itself is situated under 15 minutes away from the heart of Helsinki and sees not only a direct metro stop, but also numerous connecting buses and a newly working tram system providing efficient lateral transportation throughout the metropolitan area. As a student, the price of a travel card (which covers all modes of transportation) is offered at nearly half of the original price, which is quite the steal if I may say so myself! With the metro station being directly connected to our designated shopping center, all essentials including a pharmacy, hair salon, cafes, and grocery stores can all be accessed in just one trip. If you need to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, the campus area is surrounded by lush forestry and even a beach, which means a nature getaway is only a couple of steps away! I remember once chatting with a mutual on campus, and he told me he had never actually purchased a travel card during the two years of his studies at the university, as everything he had ever needed, including his entire social circle and necessities, were all just a walking distance away. To say I was shocked is an understatement…

Being a student means sometimes, even if not purposefully, neglecting your health, whether it be mental or physical. It’s a little too easy to do, especially if every other responsibility or issue takes up most of your energy. At Aalto, students are encouraged to prioritize their overall well-being and are provided the necessary facilities to do so. For example, if you feel like studies are getting a bit too overwhelming and you need someone to reach out to, Aalto’s ‘Starting Point of Wellbeing’ provides both individual counseling and support groups to get you through the tougher times. The threshold to receive this support is extremely low, and I can attest to this as a pandemic student who found her first year of studies a little more isolated than expected! In terms of physical health, our campus has a Unisport gym which offers strikingly low gym memberships for students, as well as an outdoor sports field. Students also have access to the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) which provides general and oral healthcare through an annual fee which is roughly the same enrollment fee when starting your studies. As an Aalto student, I’ve noticed that the following is heavily emphasized: studies are important, but never at the cost of your well-being!

While I could go on and on about all the lovely things our campus has to offer, there’s only so much I can visualize through a blog post. Experiencing it firsthand is the only way to truly grasp its uniqueness! The Aalto Squad hopes to see you on campus in 2024 :)

- Labiba

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