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Being International in Oulu

What a fun day at ice fishing I had! Sauna nights, sledging, trips, sports, parties and friends, it truly has been a good year being back in Finland. I came back in Oulu just over a year ago, after living abroad for 2, 5 years. I didn’t know what to expect, would I have a culture shock, would my old friends still have me in their lives after not seeing me for such a long time and how would I survive the dark. Luckily I was full of energy, both happy and busy catching up with family and friends, who turned out to be even more precious and open to have me back that I could have ever wished for. Thanks to them, I didn’t have the time for a shock or misery.

I got back to studying, but before I even attended any lectures I contacted the school and OSAKO to get involved with anything international here in Oulu University of Applied Sciences. I wanted to keep having my life international. I started international tutoring straight away, and that was one of the best things I did the whole year. It brought so much content in to my life by so many means I’m forever grateful about getting the chance to be an international tutor. It made me meet amazing people, beautiful personalities and kind hearts.

International students are a treasure. They are both weak and strong, they bring colour to our Finnish lives by being who they are and introducing us to their cultures. International tutors are another treasure. They take care of the international ones, who, especially the exchange students, literally go through love and hate, events and experiences worth of a decade in just a couple of months. International degree students have taken a step further, they have come here in the cold for years, and they for sure need their tutors for support.

I’m continuing my mission to stay international in Oulu by working on international affairs in OSAKO. I want others to have as good experiences as I did as an International tutor and as a student returning back home after a fair bit of time away. I’d love to see internationals and Finns getting closer together, I know there’s people intrigued by the other!

It can happen. I started off in Oulu knowing nobody but Finns, and I’ve ended up spending my days talking and thinking in English. In my opinion, the best way to internationalize yourself is to sign up to being an international tutor, that’s definitely the number one method. Another one is to join our international events, where you can’t avoid meeting and talking to people from another country to yours. Of course the most renowned way is simply to talk, this can be applied anywhere. International students won’t bite you, and neither do the Finns. Start off with smiling, and after a while you’ll have built up courage to go and have a discussion with one another! And last but not least: OSAKO’s International Team is a perfect place for anyone with even the tiniest bit of interested in international affairs to meet likeminded fellow students and to start working on with improving international Oulu.


I meet a student

rye bread or salmiakki

the first ice breaker

Asta Ojala

Member of the board, international affairs


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