Being a foreigner in Oulu

3.1.2017 :: Author: Tamás Zsákovics

The Hungarian Tamás Zsákovics, 24, studies International Business at Oulu UAS. You can follow Tamás’s adventures in Oulu on our Facebook pages. In his stories, he sheds some light on what it means to be a foreigner in Finland. On this page, we have collected his stories.

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Being a foreigner in Oulu... (Part 1)

Hey!
My name is Tamás, I'm from Hungary and I study International Business in the Oulu University of Applied Sciences. I'm here to tell you all about my experiences on living in Oulu as person outside of Finland.

Moving from a country to another is never easy. Especially when you are doing it for your studies. Leaving your friends, your family behind only to see them for a week every half a year. Luckily my family lives in Finland too. But how is it, living in a specific place in one of the best countries in the world?

Well Oulu is the technological hub of Finland (maybe possibly the hub of Scandinavia), so a tech geek like me always feels home. Before I actually started International Business in Oulu University of Applied Sciences, I did some time in GameLAB, a part of OAMKLABs. I got to know Oulu thoroughly.

There are so many things to see for the watchful eye, and they are not just the sights (more on those later). But if I wouldn't have tried to look for the experiences, I would've missed a lot.

The people are mostly enthusiastic about meeting with a foreigner. That comes with the fact, that they like to ask the stereotypical questions of one's nationality. Believe me when I say, I got the "Are Finnish and Hungarian related languages?" question more times since I'm here in Oulu than in the rest of my life before it. Of course these are for breaking the ice. Typically Oulu people are really open, and friendly, they are just too shy to talk to foriegners, because they don't want small talk.

More material on my studies and on being just a person in Oulu later. Also I promise to bring some pictures too!

-Tamás Zsákovics

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Being a foreigner in Oulu... (Part 2)

Hey everyone, Tamás here. Last time I have been talking a little bit about the people of Oulu, so I turn my attention to something that Finnish people don't like to talk about, as they consider it small talk: the weather.

Coming from a fairly warm country, and from one which is not somewhere around the arctic circle, the first thing I and many other people face even before really meeting any people, is the climate. Through the year one really face with everything the Earth can throw at them from really warm to really cold. The easiest to talk about is spring and fall; they are usually quite short, a bit rainy, but there's still sunshine and comfortably warm temperature.

Summer is really warm, and people are always outdoors. There is no dark at all here in Oulu at the summer time, which makes the place even more illuminating than ever. If you just want to take a swim in the lake or sea at midnight, you don't have to be afraid of the dark as there is always some light coming from above. Oulu has a beach, Nallikari, where thousands of people go at the summer time every day to pick up some color in the fairly short amount of warmth of Oulu (but then again, who doesn't want summer to last forever?).

But for those who love the cross-country skiing and snowball fights, get your winter gear up and make sure it is warm, as the winter here is long, the days are cold and short, but the snow is endless, so are the possibilites of winter activities. You can ski over frozen lakes, seasides, ride snowmobiles and go sledding with friends, build snowmen or just hike in wonderful snow-covered forests at the winter of Oulu and Northern Finland. Many people travel to from both OAMK and the University of Oulu to Rovaniemi, which is about 200 kilometers away from here to see the real Santa (Joulupukki as they call him here). And as I promised, I delivered a couple pictures of the ice and snow covered streets of Oulu.

I also would like to use this post to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas full of joy.

- Tamás Zsákovics

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Being a foreigner in Oulu... (Part 3)

Hey! Tamás here with some events happening around the city. We don't like to get stuck inside whatever weather comes and the city of Oulu and the University of Applied Sciences offer loads of events round the year.

Being a business student, two events are marked on my calendar. The first is actually the first major event in Oulu's calendar, Polar Bear Pitching. In this awesome event startup companies are pitching to potential investors... from the icy water! Even if it's cold out there, it is loads of fun to go and see some really brave people and get to know them afterwards.

The next event is a major student event called Wappu at the end of April. Mostly major for the University of Oulu students, because the freshmen are getting their traditional colored overalls, which they will have to wear to different student events. Also it is a good opportunity to students of different faculties to get to know each other better.

In May there are two events: First the Game Spring Oulu, organized by Oulu Game Lab, where major gaming faces show and the students of the Game Lab showcase their work. The second event is the other that is always marked on my calendar: Midnight Pitch Fest. Organized on the beautiful beach of Nallikari, major technological companies and startups showcase and present their innovation.

June is the time for Johannus and in the end of July a 2-day festival, QStock takes place for the 15th time in 2017, with many world famous artists on stage.

In the end of August the freshmen start their education and the freshmen orienteering event takes place, where the new students get to know some sights of Oulu in a checkpoint based game.

In the end of September, or early October the Irish Festival of Oulu takes place where a week of workshops, concerts and live jams entertain those, who are interested in the wonderful Irish culture.

To close the year of events, in November the Light Festival illuminates the dark, grey skies of the city.
I wish a Happy New Year to everyone, and see you in 2017!

-Tamás Zsákovics

Being a foreigner in Oulu... (Part 4)

Hey, Tamás here!
I know sometimes we just can't wait to go for the next event, or on the other hand we don't feel like going to festival sometime, so here are some ideas what to do and where to go in our free time.

The city offers many opportunities for us to do and sometimes it is hard to choose where to go.
In the winter time most people get some skis and go cross-country skiing on the fresh snow of the area, or put on a pair of skates and go ice skating or to play ice hockey in one of skating halls halls around the city. But if you don't feel like putting on a pair of skates or not confident enough to wear them, but you like ice hockey, the Oulun Energia Areena is the home for the local Oulun Kärpät ice hockey team. During the season it is one of the best options to go and see a match.

But if there's cold and we don't feel like we are drawn to ice in any way (like me... you should see me on ice, it is hilarious), City Biljard and Snooker Time offers great student discounts on playing pool or snooker. For Bowling fans, Pelixir offers "glow bowling" in the winter time, where the whole room is illuminated by UV light. Tennis and squash players can go to Nallisport in Nallikari in the winter time as it is an inside playing area. Of course if you like to play tennis on open field you have to wait until the spring, there are many public fields around the city.

For football (soccer) players and fans it is definetely advised to go to the Raatti stadium to check out an AC Oulu gameday. American football fans can check out and play with Oulu Northern Lights, but if you are interested in the Irish game of Gaelic Football, Oulu Irish Elks are always looking for able bodies. In the summer time you can also go wakeboarding near the city centre.

If you are into movies, Finnkino and Star always shows the latest titles. Different new age cultural exhibitions are displayed in Valve.

It is hard to get bored when you have so many possibilities!
See you around!

-Tamás Zsákovics