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Host Family vs. Independent Living – Which is Best?

One of the biggest questions you have about moving to Finland to study is… “Where am I going to live?!”

As you’re preparing to study in Finland, the school which you will soon be attending will help you find a place to live. There are two different types of accommodation that you might be offered, depending on which part of Finland you’ll be living in. The first option is to live with a host family, and the second option is to live independently. So what’s the difference?

What is a host family?

A host family is exactly what it sounds like – a family who hosts you while you study in Finland! You’ll be living with a family in their own home. The great thing about living with a host family is that they can give you an extra helping hand with getting settled into life in Finland. They are locals, after all! Living with locals will also allow you to practice your Finnish language skills every day.

Another great reason to choose to live with a host family is that it can be free of charge! A family might ask you for a small contribution towards food, but you won’t have to worry about paying rent and bills on your own.

Just like when you go to stay at any of your friends’ or relatives’ homes, you have to follow their rules. Some students find that they struggle to fit into the family schedule. Host families might have set meal times or a set time that you have to turn your lights off and keep the noise down at nighttime. You might think that they’re being strict, but they just want to keep you safe!

It’s a great choice if you like being around other people and would like the added support that comes with living with a local family, but it might not be a good fit for you if you crave independence!

What is independent living?

Independent living means being fully responsible for yourself. If you choose independent living, your school will provide you with a list of accommodations – usually apartments – and you sign an agreement to live there while you’re studying in Finland. If you’ve already made friends and want to live together, you can choose to do that, too!

The downside with living independently is that you have lots of things to take care of while you’re studying at the same time. Some students might feel a little bit lonely, especially if they’re used to living around lots of people or part of a big family. It’s also a lot more expensive – rent, bills, food, and all other living expenses usually total up to around 400-500 euros per month.

Independent living can seem scary at first. You’ll have lots of responsibilities and things to take care of on your own – like paying your bills, cooking for yourself, and keeping your home clean and tidy. Once you’ve worked all of that out, you’ll have no problems. With the help of your landlord, guardians, friends and teachers you’ll be able to work it all out.

They’re also great skills that you’ll need to prepare for adult life, and will be especially useful if you’re planning to study at a university away from home! Plus – you can make your own rules and routines with total privacy.

Which should I choose?

Some cities in Finland don’t have the option of living with a host family, so you’ll have to choose independent living. If you’d prefer to live with a host family, you should check what accommodation options your school can offer you in advance.

If you’re unsure, make sure to keep an eye out for our student webinars where you can ask Finest Future students currently living and studying in Finland about their experiences!