Embrac­ing the Mag­ic of Oulu: A Jour­ney of Inte­gra­tion and Explo­ration

Sri Lankan woman in Oulu

Ter­ve! My name is Pavani, and I am delight­ed to share my incred­i­ble jour­ney arriv­ing in the enchant­i­ng city of Oulu, Fin­land, in August 2022. Hail­ing from the beau­ti­ful island of Sri Lan­ka,

I embarked on this adven­ture with my hus­band, and we found a warm and vibrant com­mu­ni­ty that has made Oulu feel like home.

Hav­ing a back­ground in Human Resources Man­age­ment and three years of expe­ri­ence as a man­age­ment assis­tant in Sri Lan­ka, I felt well-pre­pared to con­tribute effec­tive­ly to the Finnish work­place. How­ev­er, I rec­og­nized that the lan­guage is the key to inte­gra­tion, there­fore, I embraced the oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn Finnish as a full-time course which is offered by the TE-office.

What I’m doing now?

Learn­ing the Finnish lan­guage has been an essen­tial part of my jour­ney, as it has allowed me to con­nect with the locals and be a part of soci­ety. But the Finnish lan­guage is not easy to learn, espe­cial­ly the gram­mar. But they do not con­sid­er gram­mar errors in spo­ken Finnish, and, there are many dialects around Fin­land.

I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to have two intern­ships relat­ed to our future jobs dur­ing the inte­gra­tion. That is an excel­lent oppor­tu­ni­ty to under­stand the work cul­ture here. More­over, as a Finnish lan­guage stu­dent, I have enjoyed many ben­e­fits, includ­ing dis­counts for gyms, swim­ming pools, and some restau­rants.

As a social per­son, I have found joy in meet­ing and chat­ting with Finns about their cul­ture and tra­di­tions. One of my favourite places is “Val­ota­lo,” locat­ed only in Oulu. You can also vis­it there, meet friends, relax, and take free men­tor­ship. I often vis­it there to vol­un­teer and help peo­ple.

Espe­cial­ly in sum­mer, cycling and walk­ing dur­ing sum­mer evenings are my favourite part of the day while enjoy­ing the mid­night sun.

Sri Lankan woman in Oulu

How I Pre­pared for the Win­ter

As the win­ter approach­es, the city trans­forms dif­fer­ent­ly. It becomes total­ly dark even dur­ing the after­noon, which offers the breath-tak­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty to see the beau­ty of the North­ern Lights. Win­ter brings lots of excit­ing activ­i­ties, like ski­ing and skat­ing. Also, many events are orga­nized by local orga­ni­za­tions freely.

In win­ter, my favourite place is Lap­land which wel­comes vis­i­tors to San­ta Claus Vil­lage, a tru­ly enchant­i­ng expe­ri­ence.

Sri Lankan woman in Oulu

Immi­grant Sup­port

What tru­ly amazed me is Fin­land’s warm wel­come to immi­grants. Some numer­ous cul­tur­al events and pro­grams aim to share infor­ma­tion and fos­ter a sense of belong­ing among immi­grants.

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Oulu has some lan­guage class­es and knit­ting clubs for immi­grants that they can attend. This open­ness has made me feel appre­ci­at­ed and val­ued, fur­ther solid­i­fy­ing my love for this coun­try.

My jour­ney in Oulu has been noth­ing short of mag­i­cal. I am grate­ful for the wel­com­ing com­mu­ni­ty, the oppor­tu­ni­ties to learn and grow, and the chance to expe­ri­ence the unique won­ders of both sum­mer and win­ter in this beau­ti­ful city.

Oulu has tru­ly cap­tured my heart, and I look for­ward to embrac­ing more adven­tures, mak­ing new con­nec­tions, and con­tribut­ing to this thriv­ing com­mu­ni­ty. Kiitos, Oulu! (Thank you, Oulu!)

Sri Lankan woman in Oulu