The coastal city of Vaasa is with its population of 68 000 a lively and international centre of culture, education and tourism in western Finland. The Ostrobothnian spirit of entrepreneurship, original culture, bilingualism, international industry and abundant services bring together traditions and the present day in the 400-year-old city. Over 70 percent of the people in Vaasa speak Finnish as their mother tongue and around 25 percent Swedish – languages are switched with ease and you can get by with just one. Due to the two languages everything good is doubled, such as institutions of higher education, theatres and newspapers.
Best of all, the sun is often shining in the sunniest city of Finland.
Enjoy the company
In Vaasa every fifth person you meet on the street is a student of higher education. In proportion to the population Vaasa is in fact the biggest student city in Finland. The 13 000 students of the seven different institutions of higher education guarantee diverse services involved in student activities and free time as well as new circles of friends and new experiences. As the students are so many, there is no lack of student events or nightlife. Recreational activities offer something for sport spectators, athletes as well as cultural consumers. Student discounts are often given on entrance tickets and different kinds of memberships.
Getting fit is easy, when you have an ample choice: sports halls for different kinds of sports, the newly renovated public swimming pool, Tropiclandia Spa for pampering, the skiing centre of Öjberget, the biggest gym in Finland, summer beaches and a 27-hole golf course. Sport events include the Beach Volley league tour and Botniagames in athletics. Vaasa Region Sports Academy attends to the top athletes studying in institutions of higher education.
Refresh your mind
Hiking along the coastline paths, marked trails and excellent cycle tracks is suitable for a student budget. During wintertime you can walk, skate or ski on the sea ice. Sport spectators can join the fans of Sport ice hockey team, VPS football team or Kiisto volleyball team. Numerous clubs, associations and the courses at Vaasa-opisto and Vasa Arbis offer activities ranging from arts and parachute jumping to dancing and crafts.
Cultural events include the Night of the Arts, the literature event Vaasa Littfest Vasa and the international nature film festival Wildlife. Rock and pop festivals, Korsholm Music Festival, Vaasa Choir Festival and the quality programme of Vaasa Opera bring music to one’s ears. Also a lot of smaller music events like symphony and church concerts as well as rock and jazz concerts are arranged. Kuula-opisto provides basic teaching in music and dancing.
Theatre, art, dance and music from rock and pop to classical are on offer for those interested in culture.
Enjoy a night out
Vaasa has night venues ranging from nightclubs to quieter meeting places for friends. You can find restaurants and pubs for all tastes and budgets: there are gourmet restaurants, pizzerias, ethnic diners, numerous cafés, nightclubs and bars. You can also enjoy a night out by glow bowling or in a cinema that has five screens.
Sense your style
The pedestrian streets around the market square are a meeting place for people and services. There are three constantly renewing shopping centres in the city centre. In addition to doing some window shopping you can find great bargains there. Many foreign and especially many Swedish clothing and interior decoration shop chains have trusted the excellent sense of style in Vaasa. Many chains have added momentum to their conquest of Finland from here. Almost every trend shop can be found in Vaasa and you can also improve your sense of style by observing the street scene.
The student accommodation situation in Vaasa is excellent. The biggest renters, VOAS Student Housing Foundation and Pikipruukki, have almost 7 000 apartments. All over Vaasa VOAS has shared apartments, bed-sitting-rooms and family apartments, almost all of which have a data network connection and electricity included in the rent. Laundry and sauna turns are also offered in most apartments. The level of rents on the open market is also reasonable and worth considering.
Get employed in your field
Vaasa has employment for various experts in their field and the employment rate of the region is the second best after the province of Uusimaa. There are particularly enterprises of energy, chemistry, plastic and metal industries. In addition to the industrial sector, the labour market has drive on almost every field, especially in the social and health sector and the business sector. The most significant employers include the city of Vaasa, the government, Wärtsilä, the central hospital of Vaasa, ABB, KWH Group and Vacon. In addition to the government and the city of Vaasa, the numerous business, service and industrial enterprises of the region offer students practical training and summer jobs.
Everything at hand
Vaasa is the busy centre of traffic in its region. Good connections are available from morning until evening. Vaasa has regular links to other parts of Finland by train and bus. The student discount on train tickets is given. A 50 % student discount on bus tickets is also given, when the travel distance is at least 80 kilometres. You can fly to Vaasa from Helsinki or Stockholm in an hour and the trip from the city centre to the airport takes less than 10 minutes. There are also flights to holiday destinations from Vaasa airport.
You can take a local bus to your institution, to work or to your hobbies. Students residing in Vaasa get an almost 25 % discount on the local bus fares. Short distances make Vaasa an easy city to live in; everything essential is within a walking or cycling distance and traffic jams are rare.
The wide avenues in the urban area, the modern pedestrian street in the city centre and the fire lanes between the city blocks make Vaasa spacious – there's room to breathe here.
Learn more: vaasaregion.fi