Beatriz Rocha, 25, came here to do her master’s degree in Learning, Education and Technology. Currently, she works as a Marketing Trainee at BusinessOulu.
Moi! My name is Beatriz Rocha, I am 25 years old and I am originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
I have been living in Oulu since August 2021, when I arrived here to do my master’s degree in Learning, Education and Technology at the University of Oulu. I currently work as a Marketing and Communications Trainee for OuluHealth, at BusinessOulu.
Ever since a young age, I wanted to have the experience of living abroad, meeting new people, and getting to know different cultures. That was how I ended up in Portugal, where I got my bachelor’s degree in Education. While I was there, I discovered the Erasmus+ programme, and I knew that I couldn’t waste the opportunity of exploring yet another country.
Being an Education student, it was not hard to choose Finland as my destination. I decided to embark on a new journey and moved to Joensuu for a semester. It was January 2020 when arrived in Finland for the first time – and I quickly fell in love with the country. My experience was so good that I started to think about possibly coming back to study in Finland for a longer period.
But then, the COVID-19 pandemic happened – and little did I know, but that would ultimately bring me to Oulu. At the time, I got extremely interested in studying the intersection of Education and Technology more deeply. I immediately started searching for master’s programmes in Finland that focused on this – and I found just the right match at the University of Oulu.
Before deciding to apply for the University of Oulu, I had heard very little about the city – I basically just knew it was very up north, and that it is a big ICT hub. But as soon as I applied for my master’s, I got excited and started doing a lot of research on the city. I did already know quite a bit about how life in Finland could be, due to my previous experience, but I still ended up diving into websites such as Study in Finland, This is Finland, and many, many blogs.
I was incredibly excited to reach my new city, but still a bit nervous about embarking on a new life – this time, for at least two whole years! Although this was my third time moving cities, it still felt a bit scary. Many questions went through my mind – “what if I don’t adapt well to being that far north?”, “what if I can’t make any friends?”, “what if I don’t feel welcome?”, and the list goes on.
I was gladly surprised to see how receptive the people were, and how the university was equipped to welcome the new international students. This was something that surprised me very positively about both the cities where I lived in Finland: the universities were very well prepared to make foreign students a part of their community. Where I had studied previously, I often felt like an outcast just for being a foreigner. Here, I got to meet people from all over the world and see how Oulu became their new home.
The City of Oulu also offers good support to newcomers – lately, for example, I have been taking part in Villa Victor language courses, which are free of charge. I intend to continue taking Finnish courses, as the language is a key aspect in integration, but it was good to see that those who have just arrived in the country can receive support and access services easily and extensively in English, too.
The reception I had and my interactions with both the local and international communities were very encouraging and played an important role in my adaptation, and I gradually started to feel like it was awesome to call Oulu my home, too!
In June 2023, I graduated from my master’s degree. But my career path in Oulu started about a year before that: still during my studies, I had the opportunity to complete an internship within the Marketing, Communications, and Public Relations Team at the University of Oulu. After a few months of actively job searching, I ended up landing my current role as a Marketing and Communications Trainee at BusinessOulu.
The combination of my studies and my work experience has been an interesting one – I had not planned to end up in the field of Marketing and Communications, but I am glad that I did! I have been learning a lot, and I think it is safe to say that I have become a more flexible, adaptable, and confident professional. I am very grateful to the teams that allowed me to start paving my career in Oulu with such enriching experiences.
”The thing I like the most about working in Finland is the work-life balance.”
The thing I like the most about working in Finland is the work-life balance. I feel like this fosters a very healthy daily life, in which I also have time to focus on activities that I enjoy doing. This makes my working life have a significant equilibrium, which consequently makes my work better and more productive.
The flat hierarchies in Finland are also something I really like – even as an intern, I have always felt very respected by the people I worked with, and like I was an important, valued part of the team.
I have also highly enjoyed the pleasure of working in places where I can constantly interact with both Finns and internationals. It is great to be surrounded by people with different perspectives and to feel like I add to that with my very own views and contributions.
Overall, my experience in Oulu and Finland has been very positive, and it is why I decided to stay and search for more professional growth here. I have been able to build good professional and personal networks, and I hope to land a new opportunity soon.
When people ask me for advice about coming to Oulu, my answers are always the same: do a lot of research about the city and do not be scared of the cold!
As someone coming from a tropical country, I understand that the change in scenarios can be quite extreme for some of us, but it is not as bad as it may seem. I have come to love winter, and especially autumn, here.
The change in seasons is actually one of my favourite things about Finland. I love how each one of them brings unique things to appreciate, and I feel like I always have something to look forward to. I believe this makes everything more enjoyable and easier, even dealing with the winter that I once feared, but now makes me excited – after all, during which other time of the year could you look at the sky and just see a beautiful Northern Lights show?