Studying in the Silicon Valley of Northern Scandinavia

The high-quality research environment at the University of Oulu on 5G and 6G communications motivated Ranjula Hettiarachchi to pursue a master's in Wireless Communications Engineering.
Ranjula Hettiarachchige ambassador profile picture

My choice - University of Oulu

Ranjula completed his bachelor's in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering at the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. During my bachelor's studies, I had the privilege to do my six-month internship at Singapore University of Technology and Design, which made a massive impact on me to think about higher studies," Ranjula explains.

Upon graduation, Ranjula worked as a software engineer for two years and lectured part-time at a higher education institute. "During that time, I searched and applied for opportunities in different countries and got accepted for many of them. I even got a PhD acceptance," Ranjula comments.

However, his final choice was Finland because it is the happiest country in the world, and he wanted to experience it. Most importantly, the high-quality research carried out in wireless communications on 5G and 6G communications at University of Oulu made me come here.

"I have heard the Oulu is called the Silicon Valley of Northern Scandinavia. So, I wanted to experience it myself how studying with the Arctic Attitude in the Silicon Valley of Northern Scandinavia looks like"

Immense career opportunities

Ranjula has been interested in Wireless Communications since his bachelor's studies. "I did my final year bachelor's project to help blind people to navigate inside a building using Bluetooth beacons," Ranjula adds.

"I believe graduates in my programme help to give birth to 6G communication. That's why my program is special."

Ranjula further mentions that the Wireless Communications Engineering programme offered by the University of Oulu is the best one can find in Europe if someone is interested in the field, because upon graduation it allows the graduate to work in the industry or continue the research.

"I was taking a few extra courses, and I remember there was a week that I had exams and multiple assignments and a project task to complete. I had to stay home all week to complete those. It was overwhelming, but the satisfaction you get after completing everything is out of this world. I will never forget that week," Ranjula comments.

A brand-new chapter

Ranjula is originally from a beautiful seaside village in the western province of Sri Lanka called Negombo, surrounded by the Indian Ocean and a lagoon. "So, it is obvious that the main occupation of the villagers is fishing, and my father is also a fisherman. I have never eaten fish bought from the market because my father brings all kinds of fish daily. My mother is a great chef who brings out delicious dishes from those fish," Ranjula adds.

"It is common in our village that most boys grow up to be fishermen like their fathers. But my parents wanted more than that; they sacrificed everything to help me continue my academics. I did the rest from my side by passing the Advanced Level exam, ranking 12th in the country and getting into the most renowned engineering faculty in the country," Ranjula explains.

"I don't know how to say it, but when my flight landed in Helsinki, I felt "OMG, I am finally here"," Ranjula comments. On his train to Oulu from Helsinki, an old lady helped him find his seat, making him feel that he was welcome in Finland.

"The first impression was great, and Finland continues to amaze me with its beautiful nature, amazing people, and snow."

Ranjula has met many Finnish friends and got the opportunity to see Northern lights a few times, which was on his bucket list. "It is amazing that in Finland, everything you see is photographic," Ranjula adds.

Ranjula has completed most of his courses and is left with the master's thesis. "I am planning to settle here in Oulu. I haven't decided yet whether I'm doing the PhD right away or going to the industry and returning for the PhD. I will make my decision after graduation." Ranjula adds.

"I would say everything exceeded my exceptions, and I am really happy that I made the right decision."

Did you get interested in studying Wireless Communications Engineering?