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Harjun kenttä ilmasta kuvattuna ja taustalla Jyväskylä. Image Suomen ilmakuva Oy
They say that first impressions are important. There are all kinds of first impressions of Jyväskylä, some might be more rosy than others. What they all have in common, however, is that this is a good city for students.

City size: appropriate

When students in Jyväskylä are asked about their first impressions of Jyväskylä, many of them mention the size of the city in one way or another.

"It's a nice size. Of course, I was born and raised in Säynätsalo, 16 kilometres from the centre of Jyväskylä, but during my student life, when I think of the city, the first thing that comes to mind is the size of the place. It's a nice place to live," says a student of information system science.

But what exactly is the right size? The answer is not straightforward and minds can change over the years.

"I remember that Jyväskylä seemed compact at first: it was easy and convenient to go around the city. However, over time, Jyväskylä started to feel rather small than compact, which made me want to move away. Now I'm trying to fall in love with Jyväskylä again, as I still have a few years of studies left and I want to enjoy my time here," says a fourth year teacher student.

"Being a small city is an advantage, though. For example when you're leaving Time, the local Freetime nightclub, in the middle of the night. You can get home quickly," reminds the guy next to.

Hills, hills, hills 

"Hilly. At first it felt like there was a hill in between every trip. Fortunately, after a while you got used to the hills and now they are part of the Jyväskylä experience," says the business and administration student.

The hills of Jyväskylä are a concept, and every student probably has some degree of love-hate relationship with them. Another city landmark also leaves a lasting first impression on many.

Kuokkalan silta valaistuna kesäillassa. Image Touho Häkkinen

"Kuokkala Bridge. No matter which way you ride your bike across the bridge, it always feels like there is a headwind. Especially when you are late for a lecture or coming home from a bar in the middle of night," laughs a communications student.

Although the hills of the city or the Kuokkala Bridge can sometimes make your forehead ache when cycling, in the end it is these things that create a unique experience in Jyväskylä that unites students over generations.