Oulu – the City of Work-Life Balance

In this article, we inter­viewed a Brazi­lian – Beat­riz Roc­ha – living in Oulu, Fin­land. We were curious to know what brought her here and ulti­ma­te­ly made her stay.

Oulu is a city loca­ted in Nort­hern Fin­land, graced by the nort­hern lights in win­ter and the mid­night sun in sum­mer. During win­ter, Oulu beco­mes a true win­ter won­der­land, cove­red in snow that glis­tens under the faint sun­light beams, not to for­get the dancing auro­ras at night. In sum­mer, Oulu trans­forms into a per­fect para­di­se, with sun-kis­sed lakes and forests that beco­me everyone’s favo­ri­te place to be.

True that Oulu is a gift of natu­re, but that’s not all. Oulu is a major tech­no­lo­gical hub in Fin­land, and some might even argue that Oulu is the Silicon Val­ley of Nort­hern Scan­di­na­via. It compri­ses 1000-plus com­pa­nies, 25 000 plus high-tech talents, high-tech research cen­ters and as well as the Uni­ver­si­ty of Oulu; the birthplace of 6G wire­less com­mu­nica­tions.

Beat­riz Roc­ha, 25, moved to Oulu in the fall of 2021, when she star­ted her master’s degree in Lear­ning, Educa­tion and Tech­no­lo­gy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Oulu. But befo­re that she had been an exc­han­ge stu­dent in Fin­land during her bachelor’s stu­dies, and she liked the count­ry so much that she deci­ded to come back for furt­her stu­dies. She has comple­ted two interns­hips in the field of mar­ke­ting and com­mu­nica­tions so far, and cur­rent­ly, she is in the inte­gra­tion pro­gram­me for immi­grants aiming to gain bet­ter pro­ficiency in the Fin­nish lan­gua­ge and open more doors in her search for pro­fes­sio­nal oppor­tu­ni­ties.

Coming from Rio de Janei­ro, Brazil, Beat­riz par­ticu­lar­ly enjo­ys the calm­ness of Oulu.

– I come from a very big city, I do apprecia­te the calm­ness that smal­ler or medium cities can pro­vi­de. I belie­ve Oulu is not too small nor too big – it has basical­ly eve­ryt­hing you need for dai­ly life, but you can still enjoy the cal­mer pace of not being in a met­ro­po­lis. Oulu is also a very safe place to live in, which I high­ly value.

Accor­ding to her one of the aspects that makes Oulu stand out is the work-life balance.

– The equi­li­brium between work and free time fos­ters a very healt­hy dai­ly life, and I belie­ve that having time for post-work acti­vi­ties can make people hap­pier and more pro­duc­ti­ve in work. This kind of lifes­ty­le allows you to explo­re new inte­rests and hob­bies, which is very impor­tant for newco­mers who aim to join the com­mu­ni­ty sur­roun­ding them.

– Having the pos­si­bi­li­ty to work in a hybrid mode was great for me, as I could sha­pe my days accor­ding to both the team’s needs and my own. I could also enjoy some flexi­bi­li­ty to sha­pe my wor­king hours, which was somet­hing I real­ly liked. The very flat hie­rarc­hies also made me very com­for­table inte­rac­ting with the who­le team, Beat­riz furt­her says.

Natu­re plays a big role in the Fin­nish cul­tu­re, if not the big­gest. Almost eve­ry Finn has a great con­nec­tion with natu­re. Oulu is also known for its acces­si­bi­li­ty to the near­by forests and lakes, which are reac­hable in just under 10 minu­tes. Sea­so­nal out­door acti­vi­ties are high­ly valued in Fin­land, and Oulu has got eve­ryt­hing cove­red for you!

– I abso­lu­te­ly love see­ing the sea­sons chan­ge, too, and how natu­re can look so dif­fe­rent throug­hout the year. I love spen­ding time out­doors in sum­mer, going for walks and swim­ming in the lake or the beach, but I also love taking a walk during autumn and enjo­ying the crisp air and the beau­ti­ful colors.

– And of cour­se, win­ter has its own par­ticu­la­ri­ties. I love see­ing how beau­ti­ful the sur­roun­dings are after a snow­fall. The win­ter is also the peak time to see the nort­hern lights. In Oulu, it is not that hard to spot them, which is so awe­so­me! I have seen them many times since I moved here, and I still feel in awe eve­ry time I catch a glimp­se of them, Beat­riz says.

“I abso­lu­te­ly love see­ing the sea­sons chan­ge.”

In addi­tion, Oulu has a lot to offer for any­one who is con­si­de­ring moving to Oulu. The ran­ge of ser­vices the city pro­vi­des is com­men­dable. For any­one from the field of ICT and tech­no­lo­gy, Oulu can be a safe haven con­si­de­ring the job secu­ri­ty and other faci­li­ties such as qua­li­ty educa­tion for children and high-qua­li­ty living stan­dards. Beat­riz men­tions why Oulu is a recom­men­ded des­ti­na­tion for foreign talents, especial­ly in the field of ICT.

– I belie­ve that a lot of Brazi­lians who move abroad are loo­king for bet­ter pro­fes­sio­nal oppor­tu­ni­ties, safe­ty, and a more balanced and healt­hier work-life. Oulu sco­res points in all the­se cate­go­ries, with a wide ran­ge of pos­si­bi­li­ties for ICT pro­fes­sio­nals, a very safe envi­ron­ment with a calm and stable lifes­ty­le, and a good and healt­hy lifes­ty­le for pro­fes­sio­nals. To people who make the move with their fami­lies, Oulu can also be a good choice – with, for example, good schools avai­lable for tho­se who move with kids.

As I men­tio­ned, Oulu has the advan­ta­ges of not being eit­her a very big city, nor a small one, making the lifes­ty­le here a good com­pro­mi­se for tho­se who look for a peace­ful place whi­le not mis­sing out on ser­vices and oppor­tu­ni­ties. Oulu can also be affor­dable when com­pa­red to other Euro­pean, and especial­ly Nor­dic, cities.

Last­ly, the oppor­tu­ni­ty to live in such a dif­fe­rent envi­ron­ment is defi­ni­te­ly exci­ting and fun and fos­ters per­so­nal growth along­si­de the pro­fes­sio­nal one.

Final­ly, Beat­riz has got some tips for you who intend to move to Oulu.

Oulu is a city of peace and res­pect diver­si­ty. Oulu always welco­mes skil­led talent with open arms apprecia­ting their cont­ri­bu­tion to the Fin­nish eco­no­my whi­le trying to honour them by offe­ring a high­ly satis­fac­to­ry lifes­ty­le.