A complete change of life

19.1.2017 :: Author: Marjo Sormunen  Photo: Anne Aho

Robert Barker, a 24 year old from America did something wild. He moved to Finland with his family because he wanted to change his life and have a new career. The former police officer is now studying information technology at Oulu UAS.

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– Working as a police officer in southern California was a good profession, but I knew that it was not the career path I wanted. I have always been interested in technology, so I decided to finish my education and move to Europe.

Robert had never been to Europe before. He chose Finland because of the good reputation of its education system.

– I did not know much about Finland until I got here. I only knew it was cold, he laughs – and for a good reason. In southern California, summers are definitely much warmer and longer.

Robert did some research on the Internet and found out that Oulu UAS offers good education in IT.

– Technology is one of the biggest industries in the world right now. The number of jobs is growing constantly. I think that my studies offer me great opportunities in life. After I graduate, I will be qualified to work in almost any field of industry.

Stepping out of comfort zone

Robert is a first year student. He likes classes because they are challenging push him to expand his boundaries.

– I noticed that classes are gearing us to be effective in the workplace. We study materials that will give us an advantage once we graduate. We learn by doing, such as we would in real working life. The professors assign us a task and we have to utilize all of our resources in order to complete it. Many times classmates work together as a team and if we cannot resolve the issue then it is very easy to reach out to the teachers.

Robert says that teachers are more than happy to meet you after classes and help you.

– The best thing about studying abroad is that you meet new people, learn about different cultures and make new friends. Now, I have made close friends from many countries and I have been able to gain new perspectives based on our interactions. We have all stepped out of our comfort zones moving to a foreign country and that gives us something to bond over.

Robert and his wife feel happy in Oulu. They have a two-year-old daughter and they are expecting a baby boy in spring.

– It is so safe and clean here. The environment really caters to families. The only problem is the Finnish language – it is probably one of the hardest languages in the world.

Robert and his wife have not yet decided on the country they will settle down in. They love to travel and make new experiences.

However, before graduating, Robert would like to study in Game LAB which Oulu UAS offers for its students. Game LAB focuses on creating multidisciplinary teams to build prototypes, products and then start-ups targeting the global games industry.

– I enjoy video games and it would be a great experience to be able to design and play my own game.

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