What to Bring with You

In general, the adage about bringing more money and less luggage also applies to Fulbrighters in Finland: almost everything you need can be acquired locally and will then meet local customs and standards. One common piece of advice offered by Fulbright alumni is to pack simple and purchase items in Finland as required.

Books and bulky items, such as winter clothing, may exceed your airline luggage capacity. We recommend that you mail these items by insured parcel post (through U.S. Postal Service) about 2-3 months before your departure, in care of the housing address supplied by your host department. You may also want to check the university library online before bringing a large quantity of books with you. There are large libraries in Finland with extensive English resource materials.

Almost anything that can be bought in the U.S. can also be bought in Finland, but quite often at a considerably higher price. Some American specialties cannot be found in Finland.

We recommend bringing along the following:

  • a laptop (with a currency converter)
  • some winter clothing (esp. shoes and/or boots)
  • important documents such as marriage certificate and children’s birth certificates, incl. notary seal and an apostille (if you are bringing your family)
  • a recommendation letter from your US bank - sometimes asked when opening an account with Finnish bank (customer in good standing)
  • some "business" clothes for official meetings (a suit)
  • books, academic material needed for lecturing, etc. if not available in libraries. More info on page Academic Material to be Brought Along.
  • some small gifts for social occasions
  • vitamins (according to Fulbright alumni, vitamins are cheaper and stronger in the U.S.), prescription medicine and the prescription itself (N.B. you are allowed to bring maximum of 3 months supply into Finland), please see further information on the Customs website and Kanta services as well as the Fulbright Finland Guide
  • same for contact lenses (according to Fulbright alumni, they are more expensive in Finland)
  • American food specialties you cannot live without!

Bring (or buy) a warm, rainproof jacket that has a hood on it. Wool coats are great for the cold, but in the rainy/snowy winter months, they aren't very practical.

For students applying for degree programs, it is a good idea to bring a copy of their transcripts and coursework for review with advisers when determining how many supplemental credits are required. In my case, the basis for my initial rejection was due to a misunderstanding that I would require more than 60 supplemental credits. After the meeting with my adviser, it was reduced to a book exam and 8 credits of coursework.

-U.S. Fulbright Student Grantee 2015-2016

We do not recommend bringing to Finland:

  • Personal checks. Checks are not used in Finland, and cashing them is expensive. eBanking is largely used in Finland.
  • Too many clothes. Many former grantees have discovered that second hand shopping can be a valid and inexpensive option, especially for winter wear.
  • A car. Some grantees have brought cars, or purchased a new car for subsequent import to the United States. This may enable you to choose from a greater variety of housing since you will be less dependent on public transportation. However, you should be aware of the tremendous expenses if you are thinking of using your own car, and most of Finland has well functioning public transport. And if you need a car, you can always rent one.
  • Electronic equipment, unless it can be switched using the European 220v voltage. Finland uses the standard European 220-volt/50-Hz electrical current rather than the U.S. 110/60. Your electronic equipment must be compatible with 220/50 in order to operate properly.
  • Pets. It can be done, but since you might be traveling a lot while staying in Finland (and in Europe), arranging someone to take care of your pets might provide a challenge and distraction.

Photo: VisitFinland