Enjoying being surrounded by enthusiastic people and hunting for bargains at flea markets

My name is Quan Do. I am a Master student in Learning, Education and Technology.

I have been living in Oulu for a couple of months now. What I love about Oulu are the forests, the biking routes and the beautiful lakes and people spending time outdoors walking their dogs, running, or biking. Myself, I like to bike to the university or the city center.

Dalat, the city where I was born, is somewhat similar to Oulu with (intervals of) cold weather, pine trees, and fresh air. Ho Chi Minh city, my home town for quite some time, is a lot more crowded and people always seem to be in a hurry. As busy and colorful as life there was, I was always running to keep up with work and life. Oulu has let me slow down and enjoy my life. I have more time to be grateful for what I have, reflect, feel happy, and see how beautiful life is.

On the other hand, I have found life in Oulu also exciting in many ways. I have done so many new things since my arrival: I attended the Future Factory competition for first year students with our team winning tickets to the Startup-Weekend event where, after learning about startups and pitching, my team won first prize. I was also selected to participate in the Alumni Ambassador programme in which I get to share my student experience to support potential applicants.

It is fair to say I like to attend networking events and trainings meeting new, enthusiastic people. I have made friends from all over the world from Peru to Canada, Ghana, Egypt or Scotland. I have learnt to notice and pay attention to cultural hints. I have learnt to express my opinions and speak about my personal experiences. I enjoy the many ways us students communicate with each other, work together or party together. All in all, it has been quite a start.

I study at the vast Linnanmaa campus that allows one to get some walking exercise while studying. I love the colors and architecture of the campus. The red, orange, blue and green colors reflect a campus full of energy. The teachers are kind and empathetic. I feel that they truly care about me. I have sat with teachers and study advisors for as long as I have needed, getting support for planning my studies and future career.

I like to spend time hunting for bargains at local flea markets and second-hand shops. Items range from clothes and kitchen utensils to furniture. The prices are really affordable, and some items you absolutely could not find in the shops. During my second week in Oulu, I went looking for a winter coat and asked for help, and as the winter coats were not yet on display (apparently people start looking for winter stuff only after it gets cold). The shop assistant went to the storeroom and came back with a Canada Goose coat priced at 15 €; I later found out that the retail price for a similar coat is hundreds of euros. Thus, I have made some real finds.

The weather is a lot colder than in Vietnam. I have learnt to select proper clothes for the weather - and continue biking. I soon expect the weather to get much colder. It will be the first time I see snow.

I am looking forward to deepening my knowledge about learning and teaching, the core of my degree programme. I plan to participate in activities and events on the campus, make friends and get ready for my future career; I plan to become a facilitator in training communication skills for adults. I also plan to venture in a startup journey in the field of education.

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Last updated: 18.6.2020