Coming to Finland

This post continues from last post where I talked about my motivation for studying at JYU and how I went about the application process. 
One fine day in April, just as I finished my lunch break at work, I got an email from the SIM programme at JYU congratulating me for being admitted to the study program for the session starting September 2014. The initial feeling was one of elation for sure. For all your efforts to culminate in something fruitful is always a feeling to be cherished. 
But there was little time to celebrate. Over the next few days, a lot of things needed to be done within a tight schedule. The first major thing was obviously to get my paperwork in place for securing a residence permit to Finland. The specific information related to exact application requirements for the Finnish residence permit as a Master's degree student can be found on the website of your nearest Finnish embassy, where you are mostly likely going to apply. But as a thumb rule, you should be ready with your letter of admission to the specific programme, a six month financial statement showing the required funds (6720 €) in your personal bank account and a health insurance from one of the providers approved by the European Union. There can be some formalities concerning finer details, for e.g. the officer that I was dealing with at the Finnish embassy in New Delhi, India wanted me to have an NOC from the person who had transferred a major amount to my account in the last few months. Of course you want your residence permit with the minimum of fuss so it's better to comply with any requirements that you are presented with. Once you apply for your residence permit, you are notified about the same being ready (or not) within a month of your application.
I got mine well in time, about 2 months in advance so I could plan for the next important thing - packing! Here's the deal - you are going to a foreign country which is supposedly remote and has a high cost of living so you want to pack everything that you think you are ever going to need for the next year or so, in that suitcase. Right? Not really, to be honest. First things first, you are allowed to carry just about 23 kgs of luggage on most international flights and that is not a lot. Also, most of your winter clothes and accessories, if you have any, are useless in the Finnish winter. On the bright side, Finland has this awesome habit of recycling as part of it's culture and there are a lot of second hand shops and facebook pages like this around Jyväskylä where you can find most of the things (clothes, accessories, bedding, kitchenware - you name it). Of course there's no dearth of regular shops as well. As far as food items go, apart from the regular shops, Jyväskylä has a few Asian and other foreign food shops where you can buy typical food from your countries.
Just in case your mother or grandmother has some secret recipe for a dish that the world doesn't yet know about, it's always good to pack that in your luggage. But the basic mantra to travelling as a student is to only carry that stuff which you are highly unlikely to find in Finland or Jyväskylä for that matter. And yes, stack up on the good wishes and besties from the near and dear ones, because try as you may, you are still going to miss them.


Bon Voyage!

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