“Dinner time with Finnish food was the best. The atmosphere was so warm that I felt like at home.”
Welcome to take part in the Friend Family Programme of Oulu University of Applied Sciences and Student Union OSAKO. Friend families introduce international students to local life and Finnish culture and in return, the students share their own culture and interests with their friend families.
Friend Family Programme is intended for international degree students of Oulu UAS. Unfortunately exchange students cannot apply for the programme.
The programme aims at
- helping international degree students to settle in Oulu by offering a chance to get to know local life and Finnish culture outside their study environment
- offering local families an opportunity to cheer up their everyday life and get to know new cultures and internationals living in Oulu
- developing Oulu UAS as an international and open-minded community
The next round of Friend Family Programme begins in November 2018 and lasts until August 2019. The next application period will begin on the 3rd of September, 2018. The application period closes on the 14th of October, 2018.
Specialist in communications and international affairs Elli Tervo
Student Union OSAKO
+358 50 317 4935
Who Can Take Part?
Friend Family Programme is intended for first and second-year international degree students of Oulu UAS. Unfortunately exchange students are not able to participate in the programme. Students are not expected to speak Finnish. However, this is an excellent chance to practice your Finnish skills.
Students are selected and matched with a family on the basis of their applications. Special attention is paid to common hobbies and interests. Wishes concerning the family will be taken into consideration, but all wishes cannot necessarily be met. Furthermore, all students cannot be guaranteed a friend family.
It is good to notice that not all families are traditional nuclear families. There are no specific criteria concerning family size or shape. Couples, singles, families with and without children, single parents and pensioners can all be friend families.
What Can Students and Friend Families Do Together?
Every family is different and not all students are going to do the same things with their friend families. Families are not required to organize trips or other big-scale activities. Many times the ordinary, simple things of everyday life are the ones that can teach you most about local life and Finnish culture. It is also good to think in advance what things you could share with the family.
There is not one right way for the families and students to go about spending time together. Discuss what sort of things you all are interested in and how often you are prepared to meet. The most important thing is that both the student and the family are genuinely interested in getting to know each other, and respect the shared time by sticking to agreed plans and by being on time. Friends or anyone else cannot be invited to join the activities unless separately agreed with the family.
Please note that your friend family doesn’t necessarily know that much about your culture or, for example, about your religion. It is good to discuss things openly in advance to avoid any possible problems. Mutual learning is, after all, one of the greatest benefits of the programme.
Selected students will be invited to an introductory meeting to discuss the practicalities and good practices of Friend Family Programme. Students are also encouraged to read the instructions given to families.
Experiences by Students
“The best thing was dinner time with Finnish food. The atmosphere was so warm that I felt like at home.”
”What I liked the most is when we had lunch and talked together like a family. A real family. That means a lot to a foreign student like me.”
“Best was having new friends and understanding Finnish culture better.”
Experiences by Families
”The best thing was learning about new culture and getting to know the student. Out student liked our kids, so our kids were eagerly waiting for her to visit as well.”
”We recommend taking more than one student as your programme students. They are there for each other and maybe they won’t be so nervous.”
”I really liked our conversations about cultural differences. I also likes their politeness and thankfulness.”
”We talked, cooked and baked. One of my students went to sauna and the other one played with my kid.”
”The best thing was to get to know other culture and the different world our international student came from. We liked hiking together. He also liked our kids a lot and the feeling that he was a part of a “normal” Finnish family.”
Join the Programme
First and second-year international degree students can apply for the Friend Family Programme. Students are expected to commit to the programme until August 2019.
Families and students are matched based on their applications. Remember to fill in your application carefully as this helps us to find the best possible family for you. Your wishes concerning the family will be taken into consideration as well as possible, but all wishes cannot necessarily be met. It cannot be guaranteed that every applicant will be offered a friend family.
Please read the Principles of the Friend Family Programme below carefully before submitting your application.
Application period begins on the 3rd of September and ends on the 14th of October, 2018. You can apply via an online application form here. The new round of Friend Family Programme starts in November 2018 with an introductory meeting. The programme ends in August 2019. Families and students will be matched right after the application period ends, and the coordinator will contact everyone personally in the beginning of December.
Questions can be sent to OSAKO’s specialist in communications and international affairs Elli Tervo, elli.tervo#osakoweb.fi (korvaa # -> @) +358 50 317 4935.
Principles of the Friend Family Programme
Friend Family Programme is coordinated by Oulu University of Applied Sciences (Oulu UAS) and Student Union of Oulu UAS (OSAKO). The programme is meant for international degree students of Oulu UAS and for families living in or nearby Oulu. The purpose of these principles is to ensure that everyone understands their role in the Friend Family Programme.
Families and international degree students are matched on the basis of their applications. Wishes, hobbies and other interests are taken into consideration. All wishes cannot necessarily be met, and all students cannot be guaranteed a friend family. Families and students selected to the programme are invited to an introductory meeting, after which they continue the programme independently.
Oulu UAS and OSAKO are not responsible for the families or students participating in the Friend Family Programme. All activities are considered as free-time and the participants are not insured by Oulu UAS or OSAKO. Both families and students must make sure that no one is injured or harmed in any way. The well-being, safety and cultural differences of both parties must be considered in all activities.
Families and students plan and agree together how often they will meet and what they will do together. Active participation and genuine interest towards each other and each other’s cultures is expected from both parties.
Families are not in any way financially responsible for the students. Families are not responsible for covering any expenses students might have due to taking part in the programme. However, families should be aware that students might not be able to invest in the programme financially.
It is not the families' responsibility to arrange students’ housing, banking, residence permit or other similar matters. Students do not have a responsibility to work for their friend family (e.g. babysitting, house work).
Families and students are expected to commit to the Friend Family Programme until August 2019. However, the programme is based on voluntary participation. If a family or student wants to leave the programme or encounters problems, the programme coordinator should be informed immediately. Oulu UAS and OSAKO have the right to remove a family or a student from the Friend Family Programme.
Families and students are encouraged to openly discuss their expectations and possibilities concerning the programme.