Study and play in Turku

  • Are you a handball player?
  • Are you a student?
  • Are you interested in playing handball and studying in a new environment?

Then Finland is the right place for you! We are welcoming new talented handball players to both our ladies’ and men’s teams.

Would you like to get a study opportunity in Turku, Finland and join a team in our handball club?

Contact us, and responsible persons from our teams will help you in your search for places in one of the universities located in Turku, Finland.

Studying in Finland

Why Finland?

Because:

  • Finland has one of the best education systems in the world
  • Finland has four very distinct seasons that provide a wonderful variation in the scenery; the changes in the season also offer a versatile range of leisure-time activities
  • Finland has excellent connections to other European countries
  • most Finnish people speak English

Finland in Europe

Benefits of studying in Finland

Among the European countries, Finland is emerging as the most preferred country to study abroad. Apart from a plethora of educational opportunities the location of Finland also offers apt environment for both local and international students. The safe atmosphere and hospitable natives ensures a student’s well being from every aspect.

The corporations and large blue chip companies offer superior job opportunities to the qualified candidates. Thus, besides providing with unique learning environment Finland paves way to earning after successful completion of studies.

There are excellent research and development facilities that have actually made the country most preferred destination for aspiring students. Here in Finland you will never feel exhausted with the courses. The Finnish universities offer huge opportunities to explore many different extracurricular activities on weekends. Besides, there are plenty of striking locations to explore in weekends in Finland. In fact, Finland is said to be the heaven for those who love to travel. Here you will find five locales which are recognized by UNESCO as world heritage sites.

Since most native Finns are quite familiar with English language, foreign students usually face no problems at all in communicating with the native residents here.

Life in Turku

About Turku

  • Turku is a lively city with an international atmosphere. Whether you are interested in culture or sports, strolling in city or wandering in nature, you can find it all in Turku. As a home to nearly 40,000 students, Turku provides infinite possibilities both for studying and leisure time
  • Turku is a nationally remarkable harbor, trade and fair city
  • Turku it is situated in a unique and beautiful archipelago, which is one of the largest in the world with 20,000 islands stretching out into the sea from the city in the country’s south-west
  • it is very easy to get around the city; Turku has an excellent public transport system
  • other major cities such as Helsinki and Stockholm are within easy reach
  • Turku offers many different types of events round the year
  • Turku hosts the oldest rock festival in Europe, Ruisrock. The rock festival and the downtown city music festival, Down by the Laituri, are both held in Turku in the summertime

Handball club ÅIFK

Handball in Finland

In Finland as in most of the countries in the world handball is not the number one sport. Far away from football or hockey that are the most popular sports in Finland, handball is on of the smaller sports of the country. Handball is mostly played in the southern part of the country and it’s large with the Swedish speaking population. Handball is a non-professional sport and the players of the highest leagues are mainly studying or working in addition to playing and training.

Handball club ÅIFK

ÅIFK established in 1908, is an old and highly regarded multisport club. Most sports have been on the club program during its over 100-year history. Today the club has four sports: handball, football, athletics and bowling.

As of early 2021, ÅIFK handball club includes 200+ juniors and three men’s teams. First team playing in the Finnish handball league, academy team in men’s first division and third team in the second division. Women’s team is playing at the highest national level in Finland at the other local handball club Pargas IF in cooperation with ÅIFK.

Men’s and women’s first teams are playing at the highest national level with players in the Finnish national team. The club has the support of several partners and sponsors, which brings facilities and advantages to the players.

Additional information

Students played in ÅIFK

Alvaro Arenas Leturiaga

Name: Alvaro Arenas Leturiaga
Born: 1991 in Spain
Position: Left back

Why Turku?

I chose Turku because it was a different option for me, I had the opportunity to explore a different culture, in my case, I wanted to improve my English and I have been in the UK many times so this was a good option! Also I really like Turku because it´s a small place where nothing is too far away, but big enough to not get tired in one year.

What are you studying here?

I´m studying International business in the Turku university of applied sciences, which is on 10 minutes biking from my apartment in the student village. I’ve got really impressed with the education system here because it´s very different from what I’ve had in my hometown, Madrid.

For how long have you played handball and where?

I have been playing handball almost my whole life, since I was 9 years old, and my entire career I’ve played in the team of my school in Madrid. If you compare the number of teams and divisions, only in Madrid there are three divisions, and in the highest one in which I played there are 16 teams. That is 7 more than in the top league in Finland. So that´s why I believe that anybody who comes from Spain, France, Germany, etc. and has an acceptable level of handball playing in their hometown, can  contribute in some way in the Finnish league.

What do you think about Åbo IFK?

I am very grateful to the team, and specially to the coach and all the players, because since the first day they were nice with me. They have had patience and they made me feel part of the team in a very short period of time. I believe also that the club is well structured, from the base, because they are aware that handball is formed from the lower categories, so they are focusing on training boys and girls 6,7,8 or 9 years old.

Would you recommend others to come in Turku to study and play?

Of course I would recommend to every other student to do what I’m doing this year. I believe that everybody who played some sports and if they dedicated some time in practices and matches, they have with them this competitive feeling that it´s very difficult to take away. In my case, I was aware that I have to do some sport here, because from October until March, the average of the daylight in Finland is about 7 hours per day, so this could make you feel sleepy and tired. Also I believe that when you are on Erasmus exchange studies, you have much more time than in your hometown and you have to do something else than eating, sleeping and partying. So if you like handball I strongly recommend you to consider this option.


Name: Brieuc Deloire
Born: 1994 in France
Position: Line player

Why Turku?

I really wanted to discover Scandinavian educational system, known in France as the best in the world. And actually my home university had some connections with Finland (not Sweden, Denmark, or Norway). But at the same time I already knew I wouldn’t like to stop playing handball, so that’s why I was searching for some city in Finland where I will be able also to practice. Luckily on the website called “handmercato”, I found an announcement from the ex French coach of Åbo IFK, Thomas Hivert, where was written that it would be possible to “play and study” in Turku. I didn’t hesitate to contact him right away.

What are you studying here?

International Business, a Bachelor’s degree. We study logistics, human resources, marketing, Swedish language, project management, International trade laws, finances.

For how long have you played handball and where?

This is the 12th year that I am playing handball, and it’s the first one away from my home city, Grenoble.

What do you think about Åbo IFK?

I think the whole club seems to be very involved into the work of senior teams. And even if the ranking is not so good this season, the team is very young and has still a lot of things to learn. The environment here is really good to provide the way of reaching the top level.

Would you recommend others to come in Turku to study and play?

Of course I would! In France it was quite hard to find the time to go for more than three practices a week. Here it is much more easy with the school rhythm, because in France we have more hours of school and it’s hard to combine it with handball practices.


Eva Humeau

Name: Eva Humeau
Born: 1993 in France
Position:Left back

Why Turku?

I chose Turku for several reasons. I wanted to improve my English and a lot of courses offered here are taught in English. I also wished to discover a new culture, a country not too close and different from France, in order to really have a new experience. I was interested in northern countries education. Finland is famous for its very good educational system and I made the choice to go in Turku.

What are you studying here?
I am in my fourth year of Law studies. I am studying European Law in Åbo Akademi were I am registered. I also have courses in Turku University.

For how long have you played handball and where?
I discovered handball when I was 9. I used to play at school and in the high school team. I was also playing in a club in Bourgoin-Jallieu in France (called “Portes de l´Isère”).

What do you think about Åbo IFK?
This is a very united team and also very friendly. Players are practicing seriously and they really seem to enjoy playing together. I think that I have learnt a lot with this team and the coach.

Would you recommend others to come in Turku to study and play?
For students who like playing handball and really want to continue to play often and study at the same time in Turku, this “program” is perfect. As we don´t have a lot of hours of courses at the University, it is up to you to organize your schedule. You can play in the evenings at a good level and you still have time to study and of course enjoy Finland!


Name: Lynn Van den Broeck
Born: Belgium
Position: Left back

Why Turku?

I’m an occupational therapy student from Brussels (Belgium) and we are
obligated to do an internship abroad. I’m very happy about that, because
otherwise I wouldn’t be here in Turku.  I chose an Erasmus exchange for the advantages that go with it. Due to this choice I could only go to Zaragoza (Spain), Berlin (Germany), Esbjerg (Denmark) or Turku (Finland).
I think Finland is the most special country on this list. The cold winters and all the snow attracted me. The fact that I could do my internship in English and didn’t have to learn a new language was also a positive thing.

What are you studying here?

I’m doing an internship in Turku as occupational therapist. I also follow three courses, that are especially directed to exchange students. The lessons are always in the evening. This is pity because I often can’t go to the handball practices.

For how long have you played handball and where?

I’m playing handball for 8 years now. In Belgium I played in HC WELTA. In the past I also have played in HC Atomix and HC Leuven.

What do you think about Åbo IFK?

Åbo IFK is a good replacement for my team while I’m here. Everybody is very friendly and I really feel comfortable with the them. The level is a little bit higher than the level of my team in Belgium. This is a good thing, because I want to improve my handball skills.

Would you recommend others to come in Turku to study and play?

I would definitely recommend to other handball-players to combine their exchange studies here with playing in Åbo IFK. It only has advantages: you’re handball skills won’t decrease, you stay in good condition, you meet new people and your spare time is usefully filled.

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