”Oulu is a helpful place for international students, and people are nice”
Kiran Pandit came to Finland in 2008 and completed a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business at Oulu University of Applied Sciences (OAMK). He is a chairperson of the board of Pintamestarit, and he has been working with them for 13 years now.
My name is Kiran Pandit, and I’m from Nepal. I came to Finland in 2008 to study for a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business at Oulu University of Applied Sciences (Oamk) and graduated in 2012. It’s been a while.
I got to know about Finland from the Finnish embassy back in Kathmandu, Nepal. They were looking for international students to come to the country. When I finished high school in Kathmandu, I was looking for where to go afterwards for my higher studies.
I went to ask the Finnish embassy what the opportunity was about, and the advice was excellent. They showed me how to apply to different polytechnic universities to do a bachelor’s degree and said that after a bachelor’s degree,
I could apply for a master’s programme also. The education was free, but other housing accommodation and other basic need, we must arrange our self. I decided to give it a try. When the college sent me the acceptance letter, every detail was there, including how to get to Oulu from Helsinki and that there would be a tutor to guide you. It was very nice because they give you a complete roadmap and tell you how to apply for a residence.
I got a room at PSOAS, which is the student residence in Oulu. They have so many dormitories and houses for students there, and I got a room at Välkkylä.
It was quite different when I came here the first time. It was surprising that everything was nice and clean. Also, there were fewer people.
I came by train from Helsinki to Oulu. Back home, there’s no train, so I had never been on a train. It was nice experience.
In my first year, I got a house-cleaning job. The work involved organising and the kinds of household cleaning I used to do back home. At home, my parents taught us how to clean our room properly, how to manage it and how to clean whenever you eat. My employer was impressed by my work, and she referred to her husband who has this company Pintamestarit.
I did an internship at the same company where I work now, and I also did my bachelor´s thesis for the same company. While I did my training, I told them that I could write my thesis for this company. When I asked if they had any topics, they told me that I could help promote the company as eco-friendly. The company does roof restorations, and they wanted to market the fact that they use eco-friendly materials and recycle the waste that comes from the restorations. I completed my thesis, and it was approved, and I think it’s still somewhere in the university library.
I’ve been working for this company for 13 years now. We had some turbulence in the company and some twists and turns. At that time, I took over the company with our friends. We planned, and we know this business very well because we’ve worked there for many years. We made a good proposal, applied for transition, had the right paperwork, and agreements were made in 2017. We changed our business operating model, which will give benefit the company and workers, more important the good quality of our work.
I am chairman of the board of Pintamestarit. I supervise sales, conduct the quality inspection, oversee how the work’s going and if there are any records or reclamations from the customer, we try to figure it out why they are not satisfied by our work.
In summertime, you can go to the beach area and small lakes where you can swim, which is very nice. Summer in Finland is beautiful. Wherever you go, it’s nice. Now, it’s a beautiful time because the sun is always there.
For example, you can go to Nallikari Beach if you walk for less than half an hour, and the surroundings are beautiful. You can rent a boat there in summer. There are also some concerts during this period, and you always see people smiling and laughing.
You can also take part in winter activities. I tried ice fishing a few times, but it’s really cold. You have to be patient, stay and wait, and that’s not good when it’s minus 25! One thing I haven’t tried is downhill skiing.
Basically, just be who you are, try to learn about the Finnish culture, try to get involved and hang out with your Finnish friends. Then, you will adapt to the surrounding environment, and you will become more familiar with the Finnish people. When you integrate and learn about the culture, there won’t be any problems. You’ll make money. Learn the culture and slowly interact with people, try to search and don’t be shy to try anything. It’s just like you start; from there, you grow step by step
I can say that the Finnish people are shy, but when you start to have more interact with them, they’re not shy anymore.
My schoolmates and I used to party and hang out together. Everyone was friendly, very cooperative, and helpful, and our teachers were also nice. I remember one teacher from our school who was very cool and supportive.
I think you can survive easily. Try to learn the language; it will help a lot. When I came, I didn’t know anything, so it was a little bit difficult. But when you try to work, communicate with some people, and learn some basics language and they will help. Your friends can correct you, and slowly, it gives you confident, and you start to speak. Learn and copy and try to interact with people; it’ll help a lot and you’ll get it. I say to whoever comes to Finland, take at least one year to study the language.
After graduation, I applied for a master’s degree and was accepted by University of Eastern Finland. I studied my master’s degree on Innovation Management. At the same time, I was doing our business I couldn’t give full time to my studies still my master’s thesis is left. Maybe this year I´ll try to complete my master’s degree.
This is my story. I go back home every year on holidays. I got married, and my wife is from Nepal. She moved here with me in 2019, and we’ve just had a son. He is three and a half months old. She’s a certified nurse, and now she’s on maternity leave.
I think Oulu is beautiful, small, and very helpful place for international students, and people are nice. Your friends and colleagues will help you, don’t hesitate to ask. If you are looking for job or placement your university will guide you or go to employment office. Try to create your network, which you will need the most.
Text: Débora Oliveira
This article was originally published at oulutalenthub.fi
Oulu Talent Hub
- Oulu Talent Hub brings together and develops regional opportunities and services for international recruitment.
- Oulu Talent Hub offers talents, for example, contacts with local companies, matchmaking events and info sessions, company visits, a tandem model for internship programmes and career counselling. For Oulu Talent Hub, international talent is defined as international specialists, employees, researchers and students.
- Oulu Talent Hub aims to promote international talent employment to companies in the Oulu region and open up employment paths for international talent.
- Project partners are BusinessOulu, Oulu Chamber of Commerce, University of Oulu, Oulu University of Applied Sciences and Oulu Vocational College.
- The project is funded by The European Social Fund, ESF.
- Learn more about Oulu Talent Hub at oulutalenthub.fi.
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