Orientation for New International Students

How does it feel to be in the New International Students' Orientation for 20 years - twice every year?!

A typical international student joins the orientation once, maybe twice if they first come as an exchange student and later become a degree student. I have been in the orientation about 40 times. And I still like it!

Long time ago - must have been in the 90's  - we noticed that Finland is a challenge. Not a problem, but a challenge.The language is weird, the people are quiet, the winter is cold and the summer short. We decided to do something about that. Since we were unable to change Finland into a laid-back sub-tropical paradise with eight months of sunshine, we decided to do a better orientation. We wanted the arrival of the new international students to be a little less challenging.

The orientation and arrival service has changed over the years. I personally collected most of the exchange students from the railway station way back in 1995. We had about 60 arriving for the autumn term. Now have about 500 exchange students and 500 international degree seeking students. 

I think the best service we have is offered by the students. We have an extensive network of University of Oulu students lending a huge helping hand in organising the arrival of new students. Our UO Orientation starts before the students even arrive. We strive to ensure that all arriving new students have a UO student to help them out at the beginning. 

The Orientation itself offers the new students an easy way to do all the beginning routines at one place. The various academic study programmes’ introductions are also coordinated so that the orientation week covers all the needs of the new students.

To bridge the gap between students' home and new home in Oulu we have paid a lot of attention to housing, internet connections and cultural preparation. We are able to provide almost 100% of the new international students housing through the inexpensive services of the Student Housing Foundation. Student housing has an internet connection and the University of Oulu campuses have free WiFi.

One of my most pleasant duties is to give the interactive introduction to "How to live like a Finn and Maximise Your Academic and Social Success in Oulu?" I am only half-joking with the tittle… It will be my 41st orientation next January… And I still like it!

And then the term starts. Our Schools, programmes and student clubs organize many get-togethers for new students to meet older students and to get useful information about your studies and the life in Oulu. Don’t forget to check out what NISO – the Network of International Students in Oulu – or ESN (Erasmus Student Network) have on offer.

One of the great traditions of the Orientation programme are the Rectors' Welcome for new degree students and the City of Oulu Reception for new Exchange Students. We provide these in cooperation with the Oulu University of Applied Sciences and the City of Oulu.

Hope to meet you at one or the other reception next autumn!

Kimmo Kuortti
Director, Recruitment, Admissions and International Services

Last updated: 21.10.2015

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