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How will I cope? Support for students

Blog — 9.2.2022

Are you having difficulties with coping in your daily life and studies? Are there any issues you need a hand with, but you don’t know who to contact?

If things are feeling heavy right now, help and support is available. Here we have a list of questions and answers, contact information and other things to take into account.

Have you considered taking a year off from your studies?

National Union of University Students in Finland has written a blog text about things that are good to consider, so we recommend that you read it before making your decision! 

Can I stop studying because of corona? 

Yes, it is possible. Before you decide to cancel your studies, you should think about whether it is smartest to complete a certain course or whole. Check e.g., with a study advisor or your assigned teacher, which is the most important thing to finish if you ever decide to continue studying. It may also make sense to complete a certain number of credits so that your current major can be counted as a short or long minor in an upcoming degree. 

We recommend contacting the study psychologist to discuss everyday student life and what you want to do in the long run. 

If you are suffering from mental illness, we advise you to contact the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS).

Where can you get support for reading and writing difficulties? 

Contact your faculty’s study advisor.  

Is it possible to apply for support or a scholarship for non-study support due to forced closure of courses and internships? 

If the university has not arranged courses due to the pandemic situation, it is an acceptable reason for a slower pace of study and KELA pays the student support as normally if you contact them about the matter. 

How do I get sick leave for depression? 

On KELA’s pages, there is information regarding support during illness. 

Contact and ask what you need to do to pause your studies. 

What can you do if you notice that there is too much work, e.g. halfway into the course? 

It is good to start by contacting your lecturers about the situation and then the study advisor to decide what courses to complete in order to be able to move forward with your studies. During a pandemic, it is perfectly okay to check what is the absolute minimum to get through. 

In what questions can you turn to the Student Union for help? 

There is really no theme you could not turn to us with. We can help find the right person at ÅAU or elsewhere who can help you. 

Does the Student Union have a representative who can help in cases where you need support in KELA issues or info on where to turn in disputes with KELA? 

The Student Union’s Students’ Rights Expert Petra Lindblad is employed by the Student Union and can help students find the right support and information, she can also help with how to solve problems with KELA and everything you discuss is confidential. 

Via you can reach the employees at ÅAU’s student services who can help sort out e.g. what information from ÅAU’s register that KELA needs. 

Who can you contact about discrimination or harassment by lecturers? 

The student union has two harassment contact persons who work with e.g. these issues. Their contact information can be found here

ÅAU’s info for students who are discriminated against or harassed. 

Who can you contact regarding excessive workload (more than what the course officially requires) and which is not remedied after discussion with the lecturer in question? 

After discussions with the lecturer, it is recommended to contact the Head of the Subject. If the situation does not resolve, it is recommended to contact the Dean of the Faculty. The Student Union can also help you find the right person to contact with these issues. 

Are you falling behind on your studies? Information about the project Nystart!

The project Nystart! wants to support students and prevent studies from being delayed or cancelled. There can be many reasons to why energy and motivation are lacking in daily life and the studies. Nystart! does outreach work for students who are in need of support. Here you can contact Nystart! They will help you and redirect you based on what your needs are. If you have any questions about Nystart!, contact project coordinator Kia Ikonen 

Do you need tools and motivation to cope with the everyday study life? Information about the project VERNA

The project VERNA arranges webinars, courses, coffee breaks and student circles. The goal of the project is to strengthen students’ own resources and trust towards their own abilities in the student life. VERNA is a collaboration between Åbo Akademi University and Yrkeshögskolan Novia, as well as the student unions in each of the universities. For more information, contact project leader Dana Björkström-Jung.

Other information that can be good to have 

  • The association for students’ mental health Nyyti arranges chats in English and has very good material on its pages
  • Student health service and appointment booking. It is good to be in contact as soon as you feel that you need care, the queues are long for certain services. 
  • The study psychologists’ page contains many tips for studies. 
  • Financial support from the deacons at the local Evangelical Lutheran Congregations:
    Everybody can ask for help from the deacons at the local congregation, you do not need to be a member. In a crisis, all people living in the city can get help from them, whether you are an atheist or belong to another religion. In addition to financial support, deacons can also give advice on other forms of support and help on how to maintain contact with various authorities.
    In Åbo: On Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9–11 a.m., you can call the number 040 341 7460, or email or anytime. In Vasa; check out this web page.
  • The deacons who are experts on social welfare work can also help with information about help you are eligible for elsewhere. There is, unfortunately, no information in English on the web. If you are unsure about where to ask for help you can always contact our Students’ Rights Expert Petra Lindblad
  • The University Chaplains offer discussion support in difficult situations. More about the University Chaplains in Åbo can be found here. More about the Student Chaplain Hanna Jern in Vasa can be found here (text on the web page only in Swedish).
  • Outreach youth work Åbo 
  • Outreach youth work Vasa