A post-pandemic educational revival in Oulu

The COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on the education systems worldwide. It created a general sense of panic, anxiety, and stress among students. I too was caught up in these emotions while deciding on a university after completing high school in India. But I took the right decision by applying to the University of Oulu. All my worries went away when I first arrived here!
A forest

Why I chose University of Oulu

Finland as a country always interested me. The University of Oulu provided me with great funding opportunities that have made it extremely worthwhile to come study here. Although I have a background in humanities, I can study an engineering degree with ease as the quality of education outperforms itself in Finland.

After arriving in this country, I was taken aback by a well-maintained education system that seemed untouched by the pandemic. That is not true though. Not long ago, Finland had put up restrictions and the University of Oulu campus was closed. The revival was speedy and noteworthy. On my arrival, I saw campus life was thriving, and all facilities were ready to use. Most of the courses were held on campus.

Orientation for DICE students

The courses for the Digitalisation, Computing and Electronics (DICE) programme students in their first few periods, regardless of the specialisation, are the same. The first period consisted of a course in Calculus, a course on Devices and Data Networks, one in Programming basics, another one to boot up your Finnish skills, and lastly, a course that surprised me very much.

The course that stood out the most to me was Orientation for DICE students. In the normal context, orientation usually lasts a week. Here at the university, it becomes a part of your studies. In this course, each student is taken through steps that help them settle in Oulu, things like accommodation and diet, sorting out legal stuff, and setting up a bank account, among other important aspects of life.

They even go through topics such as time management and leisure activities. There is an emphasis on work-life balance like in any field in Finland. Students are encouraged to investigate the research opportunities at the university as well as get familiar with hobby groups. You also get to attend workshops as a part of this course where you learn to use IoT (Internet of Things) devices.

The most important aspect of this course seemed to be the method in which this is delivered. Topics are discussed in class along with fellow students, and individual experiences or tips are always encouraged. This really helps in gaining different perspectives and most of all, feeling a sense of involvement. It builds a feeling of amicability among students and makes you feel at home.

Deep dive into the subjects

All the courses are quite extensive in their scope. At the end of each course, you can be sure to have mastered the concepts well. The practical aspect of all courses is considered. For instance, at the end of the Elementary Programming course, you learn to programme an interactive Minesweeper simulator on Python for your course project.

The classrooms are modern and well-maintained. The small class size and the enthusiastic faculty that is always ready to listen to your doubts, add a personal touch to your studies here. The student tutors (kummit) are there to help you out with any problems you face during your studies.

Despite the on-campus nature of most courses, more importance is given to independent studies. The courses include a lot of individual assignments. Students are encouraged to study alone or in groups outside of class hours. There are plenty of facilities provided for this. Students can reserve rooms that have whiteboards, projectors, and innovatively designed seating arrangements. We also have access to study rooms with state-of-the-art workstations and there are plenty of quiet spaces throughout the campus. Students can even access these outside working hours with a 24/7 campus card.

A University that cares for its students

Taking all of these into consideration makes me realize that, despite the pandemic, the University of Oulu has left no stone unturned when it comes to revamping the campus and providing quality education to all students. It is evident that this institution really cares about the students that come here to study and wants to make it a remarkable experience for them.

About the author

Niranjan Sreegith is a first-year student in the Digitalisation, Computing and Electronics bachelor's programme specializing in Computer Science and Engineering. He comes from the southern part of India. He has come to Oulu to escape the humid heat of the tropics and to understand what snow is. He loves to bike around Oulu and he enjoys Finnish nature.