Alex Odiyo University of Oulu Alumni Ambassador

Bearing up with cold and putting on heavy jackets

Alex Odiyo
Magnetic Resonance in Materials
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My entire stay in the University of Oulu has been full of surprises. In my view, this is a unique and professional university. Firstly, the teaching staff are well vested with what it takes to transform students to well trained experts in their various disciplines. The material lectured in class and assignments complement each other so that every time I would be in touch with my academic life. Secondly, as an international student, I am proud to say that the level organization of the university is of very high standard. The university has up to date equipment to match the current and future societal needs. Lastly, the level of support here at Oulu is immense. I can recall my first internship was facilitated by my department. The type of venture I undertook as researcher has contributed immeasurably to my field of study.

Other than my academic life, the students of the university are very helpful. Before I got to the university, I already had a contact student (Kummi) to give me information on what to expect and how to manage myself when I got to Finland. She provided me with additional contact information of student groups that have been useful to date. Although the websites are good places to learn about Oulu, my Kummi was even better and thorough.

Life Outside Studies
During my fresh days at the university, the student body was always willing to help regarding issues relating to the university and Oulu city. This was not a mask, but it is a consistent practice that continues to this very day at the university. The student body also organizes plenty of activities on a weekly basis while others on an irregular basis. I have managed to participate in a number activities, and more than once have I participated in a NISO basketball session, Gaming Club, Café Lingua and Suomi Klubi just to name a few. Through these events I have met both local and international students and have learned quite a lot about their cultures. This has helped me to be an open-minded person and eliminate a lot of stereotypical cultural information that I had before.

The most memorable moment in the city of Oulu would be the day I rode on sledges pulled by reindeer. Though the experience lasted only for some few minutes, the excitement, crowd and fun was far beyond any description that can be formulated in words. The Finnish summer holidays are one of a kind. I had plenty of time to tour around the city. The best place of all was the Nallikari beach. Other activities such as outdoor grilling and sun basking were also part of my weekend activities in summer. Summer was the busiest non-academic period of my entire stay in Oulu.  Actually, in summer alone the number of people and friends I met and made respectively tripled!

Survival Finnish, Surviving Winter
There are few things that I must point out that I rather found to be challenging. Firstly, Finnish language is very difficult to learn even if it is necessary for complete interaction both inside and outside the school environment. The university offers a survival Finnish course. As the name suggest it helped me dearly. I can recall more than one occasion my limited Finnish language skills have earned me a lot of help. In addition, participating in Café Lingua landed me on the right footing to learning about Finnish culture.

The second thing which I found most challenging was the winter. Having my roots in an equatorial state, my first autumn was too cold and winter was a nightmare. I can admit that balancing between bearing up with cold and putting on heavy jackets was a unique experience of a life time. However, with time, I managed to adjust.
I like University of Oulu and Oulu city as a whole and I consider it my very home. It always has much more to offer than what one would imagine!

Last updated: 5.1.2017