“I know that in Oulu, I can trust people”

Gök­han Depo stu­died in the Educa­tion and Glo­ba­li­sa­tion (EdGlo) mas­ter’s pro­gram­me at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Oulu between 2014 and 2017. Now he works at E2 Research, an inde­pen­dent, mul­ti­discipli­na­ry, research orga­ni­sa­tion.


My name is Gök­han. I’m Tur­kish and in my mid-30s. I stu­died in the Educa­tion and Glo­ba­li­sa­tion (EdGlo) mas­ter’s pro­gram­me at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Oulu between 2014 and 2017. After comple­ting my master´s degree, I went to the Uni­ted Sta­tes to pur­sue a PhD in the Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­ne­so­ta.


I had ini­tial­ly wan­ted to come to Fin­land for a master´s degree because my goal was to stu­dy the best educa­tion sys­tem in the world, and Fin­land had cons­tant­ly been ran­ked as one of the best. Also, I real­ly love the cold weat­her. For me, the cold cli­ma­te was one of the rea­sons for coming up north and choo­sing Oulu.

I genui­ne­ly love Oulu. It’s a big enough city that you can find things to do, but small enough that once you lea­ve your home, wit­hin 5 to 10 minu­tes, you’re in the woods. And that’s lite­ral­ly what I want in life: I can go out on a Fri­day eve­ning and find somet­hing to do, but I can also go for a walk on a Sun­day mor­ning.


Throug­hout my PhD in the Uni­ted Sta­tes, I rea­li­sed how much I love Oulu and Fin­land, so I came back in 2021. I work at E2 Research, an inde­pen­dent research orga­ni­sa­tion based in Hel­sin­ki. The great thing about E2 Research is that my work the­re is somet­hing I’m pas­sio­na­te about. It focuses on inter­na­tio­nal scho­lars living and wor­king in Fin­land and how to impro­ve their socie­tal impact, which is a topic very clo­se to my heart.

The other pro­ject I’m wor­king on is about inter­na­tio­nal talents living in Fin­land – how to att­ract and retain them and how to pro­vi­de solu­tions based on research. The­se two pro­jects are alig­ned with my own life goals and desi­res. So, I’m a very hap­py emplo­yee.


I would say the bicycle cul­tu­re was very surpri­sing for me when I first came to Oulu. When I arri­ved, I couldn’t remem­ber the last time I’d been on a bike since child­hood. Then I came to stu­dy here, and sud­den­ly I was going eve­ryw­he­re by bike. It’s a dif­fe­rent world, and your life comple­te­ly chan­ges when you come to Fin­land.

Other surpri­sing thing, which still gets me to this day, is how we hang our coats at the ent­rance of the uni­ver­si­ty on the coat rack. It is the most shoc­king thing. I still can’t belie­ve it.

You can find the same natu­ral envi­ron­ment in Tur­ku, Hel­sin­ki or Rova­nie­mi, if you want, but the com­bi­na­tion of natu­re with the ame­ni­ties you have in this city is somet­hing I love about Oulu. It’s not just the natu­re itself that’s won­der­ful but being able to be in natu­re so quickly whi­le being able to reach a busi­ness cent­re in the same short time span. That’s what I love in Oulu – eve­ryt­hing is 15 minu­tes away: woods, lake, work, city cent­re. Eve­ryt­hing is clo­se by, and eve­ryt­hing I need is here.


I spend some time in Hel­sin­ki due to my work. Almost twice a month, I’m in Hel­sin­ki and spend some amount of time the­re. I like the fact that I can work from home and go out for a walk when I want to, but I’m also part of a lar­ger com­mu­ni­ty. And that com­mu­ni­ty is not neces­sa­ri­ly just in Oulu; it’s also in Hel­sin­ki, Tam­pe­re, Tur­ku, and other places.

Oulu is cal­mer. People are peace­ful and kind. I know that in Oulu, I can trust people wit­hout thin­king much about it. I belie­ve that if I fall, people will come and pick me up, both lite­ral­ly and figu­ra­ti­ve­ly.

Most cer­tain­ly, I see myself here in the futu­re. I see myself sett­ling down here and enjo­ying life. I have been tel­ling eve­ry­one I know this. I tell them I love Oulu.

When inter­na­tio­nal stu­dents come to stu­dy here, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Oulu offers sup­port in many things that help you sett­le in. I belie­ve stu­dents can just enjoy life here, whet­her they have lon­ger-term plans or not, because they will recei­ve a world-class educa­tion. Fin­nish uni­ver­si­ties are of high qua­li­ty, and they are all fair­ly simi­lar in terms of the qua­li­ty of educa­tion they pro­vi­de. You can recei­ve the same qua­li­ty of educa­tion in Oulu, Tam­pe­re or Hel­sin­ki, so stu­dents can just enjoy their lives.

This article was ori­gi­nal­ly publis­hed at oulutalenthub.fi

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