Short To-Do List in the First Week

Just after the arrival

First week in your host city

  • Register with the local register office (maistraatti)
  • Open a bank account (can be done also in Helsinki during the Fulbright Orientation)
  • Buy a bus pass
  • Set up your phone connection
  • Obtain library cards (university library, public libraries)
  • Send your local contact information to Fulbright Finland (form for contact and bank information)
  • Once you are settled, locate the nearest 24 hr pharmacy and public or private medical clinic, and put the info somewhere easy to locate, in case you need it


Get lost, often. That is the best way to enjoy a new place." -U.S. Grantee



  • Fulbright orientation arranged during the last week in August (may precede the 'first week' activities depending on your arrival date) - this is a great chance to meet the other Fulbright grantees and learn about the things you need to do as part of your Fulbright program. For spring term arrivals the orientation is arranged in early January. When making travel arrangements keep in mind that the Fulbright Finland Orientation seminar dates. You will receive the exact Orientation dates from your Fulbright program coordinator. In addition to providing detailed preparation on living in Finland, it is a seminar full of activities and opportunities to create networks and make connections with fellow grantees and Finnish hosts.
  • If the University arranges an Orientation week for international students (in some cases scholars too), usually in the beginning of September and January, it is a good idea to attend, in order to get to know people and learn the basics.
  • Look into getting a bike - Google the police auctions in your area, or buy one. Most places have great bike paths.
  • When you go to the grocery store, if you buy vegetables and fruits, weigh them and print the price sticker before going to the cashier – just watch what everyone else is doing. And don't be intimidated -- English is the most common second language spoken here.
  • Calling to the U.S. is expensive: remember Skype!


Go to the orientation at the university and become familiar with your international office." -U.S. Grantee