Nav­i­gat­ing Oulu through its dif­fer­ent sea­sons: adapt­ing to a new life in the North

Beatriz Rocha

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.

Beatriz Rocha


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.

Beatriz Rocha


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?

Beatriz Rocha