What to do during winter?

Perhaps the one thing each one of us knows before coming to Finland and, in particular, Oulu is that it is cold. It can be very different, especially if you are used to tropical weather. The days get shorter, and the wind gets colder, but following a few tips can help you deal with winter, even enjoy it.

A few tips to deal with the winters

Layer up

When I first came here, all I could ask anyone and everyone that I met was where I could find good winter jackets and boots. I was scared that the ones I had brought from home were not good enough for Finnish winters. But, finding the right clothes is easier than you can imagine.

Firstly, it is important to layer up, and I know countless people must have already highlighted the same mantra, but it is the key to survival. A thermal layer and light jackets inside your coat can make a big difference. You can find many second-hand shops and outlets that sell these at an affordable rate.

Socialising and Saunas

While it may be tempting to lay in the blankets as the days get shorter, socialising, be it online chatting with friends and family or getting out to meet your classmates, can light up your day. The student union and guilds are always organising exciting activities to meet new people and learn something.

Floating sauna in Oulu.

If you have never been to a sauna before, the experience will change how you look at winters and the cold. Saunas are definitely one of the best ways of dealing with winters and relaxing after a hectic week. Finding saunas is very easy; in fact, most student apartments have access to saunas. Going there alone or with friends is truly an experience.

Active and getting outdoors

Oulu is a very bike-friendly city, and the paths are so good that you forget that you are even walking or biking. There is plenty of nature around, and if you need a bit of a tropical atmosphere, then a walk around the botanical garden is just what you need. You can also find many activities that different clubs and organisations conduct. The sports pass can offer you many activities for indoor and outdoor spaces.

Warm-up with food and hot beverages

Hot chocolate is perhaps the go-to drink for me. It is like a hug in a mug. Coffee and tea are well-loved, and there are a few cafes that even offer student discounts. Having your warm comfort meal to cosy up your winters is crucial. The cafe at the university offers baked goods and hot meals throughout the week.

Winter schools

Another way to be productive during the winters is to sign up for winter schools and courses. There are many online options, and even universities within Finland offer diverse courses for you to engage with a topic of your choice.

Christmas markets and short trips

The holiday spirit is contagious, and as early as November, stores have already started to put Christmas decor. Christmas markets provide you with the holiday cheer that you need.

Santa Clause Village and Arctic Circle, Rovaniemi.

You can also make a short weekend trip to Santa Clause Village itself. A small group of us managed to visit so many places during our short break. It is truly a magical winter wonderland! :)

About the author

Sugandha Vats from India is pursuing her master’s in Education and Globalisation at the University of Oulu. Her favourite thing to do since coming to Finland has been experimenting with food.