Tervetuloa Ouluun - Welcome to Oulu!

I arrived in Oulu on October 15th, 2021. It was about 10 pm, but the sun was still shining in the sky! That was the first surprise I found in Finland!

How to get home? By taxi? No, thanks!

I had an offer from PSOAS (a student housing firm in Oulu). I took a taxi to come to my apartment. That was when I realized I had to take public transportation more seriously!

Taking a cab for commuting is quite expensive in Finland. But that was not a big deal since I found other alternatives here for transportation; bicycle, scooter, or bus. Do not worry about the ice and snow in winter. You can change the tires to thicker winter tires and enjoy cycling even in winter. There is also a student discount for a bus card if you are more into using the bus for transportation.

This is my bus card.

New Home, Sweet Home!

My apartment is near the city centre, so I have great accessibility to many spots (public places and shopping centres). When I entered the house, my flatmate welcomed me warmly, and she helped me out and lent me some basic living stuff like a mattress and lamps. Yup, PSOAS apartments are entirely empty for international students.

So, keep in mind that if you are a degree student, you have to keep an eye on online shops and second-hand websites before you come to Oulu. But in case you are an exchange student, you are a lucky person because you will get a furnished apartment when you arrive in Oulu.

Based on my personal experience, it is better to order your household and furniture or at least the basic living stuff earlier than your arrival date. There are some Facebook groups, websites, and shops that you can visit to buy second-hand furniture. If you are willing to buy new things, you can directly order them online before your arrival.

PSOAS apartment signs.

Fortunately, I found some friends in the very first days. They helped me find some good places to buy what I needed for my room. Making friends is not rocket science here. People are so friendly and very welcoming, and it is pretty heartwarming how they behave toward you. Also, you can find a community of friends from your home country and strike up friendships.

Bureaucracy is everywhere!

As a non-EU citizen, I had to register my address and announce my presence in Finland to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency (DVV). I had my appointment booked before my arrival. So, finally, after about a couple of weeks, I received the decision of DVV by letter at my door.

That was when I could apply for a Finnish ID card and open my bank account. The whole procedure took me about a month to be registered, get my ID, and open my bank account. Everything was straightforward, and the staff in the offices helped me fill out the forms, and they showed me the next steps I had to take.

This is the first photo I took in Finland at Oulu airport at 10 pm.

I feel at home here with all that has been said (thank god!). There is no pressure and no hurry. In my journey so far in Finland, I have learned how to take things easy! I hope you have a great time here and find it easy to settle down if you think of coming and living here as a student. Fingers crossed! :)

About the author

Elaheh Moallemkolaei from Iran is studying Environmental Engineering at the University of Oulu. On weekends, she spends her time in the nature and explores new places with her friends.