“I think every­body can find friends here”

Woman with a boat

Maja Tern­ing is from Trom­sø in North­ern Nor­way. She has been liv­ing here in Oulu for 16 years now, and work­ing with Business­Oulu for about eight years.


My name is Maja Tern­ing, I‘m from North­ern Nor­way – Trom­sø. It‘s about 800 kilo­me­tres north of Oulu. I’m 36, and I’ve been liv­ing here for 16 years now. I think I have inte­grat­ed quick­ly in the Finnish soci­ety.

What have you done in Oulu

I stud­ied Finnish in the cours­es for peo­ple who’ve just moved to Oulu for about one and a half years. Then I stud­ied a Bachelor’s in Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Applied Sci­ences (OAMK) in Oulu.

As I had learned Finnish, I got to prac­tise my Finnish at the uni­ver­si­ty, although the degree was in Eng­lish. Half my class was from oth­er coun­tries, so I was a sort of link in between. I was a bit inte­grat­ed already and could speak the lan­guage, but I was also a for­eign­er. It was nice to have both worlds.

I liked that you got to be quite close to what’s hap­pen­ing in Oulu, and I took part in every­thing pos­si­ble, such as com­pe­ti­tions and busi­ness plan meet­ings. I remem­ber there was a design com­pe­ti­tion for the air­port aimed at get­ting some ideas when they were rebuild­ing it. It was nice to do things oth­er than just study­ing, as par­tic­i­pat­ing in busi­ness idea com­pe­ti­tions.

Build­ing a net­work is the most impor­tant thing to get to know com­pa­nies and organ­i­sa­tions, and through that you could get a job. Small con­tacts and touch­points that you realise lat­er maybe had some effect on where you went after­wards.

Woman at BusinessAsema


I’ve been work­ing with Business­Oulu for eight years and I joined it straight after my stud­ies. I had an intern­ship first and then I start­ed work­ing with them. I had a sum­mer job relat­ed to the Nor­we­gian region, which was my first job while I was still study­ing.
It just took a month or two before I was hired after my intern­ship. It was a nice and easy track to get into work­ing and my first full-time work expe­ri­ence was here.

I love work­ing life in Fin­land. I liked study­ing, but I like work­ing and doing what I stud­ied to do. And I have a nice team; we have become real­ly good friends, which has been very nice. I think it is impor­tant for for­eign­ers to also find friends either through study, hob­bies or work.

First meet­ing with Oulu

I’d been to Oulu a few times, includ­ing when I was a child. For us in North­ern Nor­way, Oulu is a place you go to when you want sun and you don’t want to trav­el to Spain, for instance. If you go to Nal­likari Beach or the city cen­tre in the sum­mer­time, you will hear Nor­we­gians every­where.

Com­ing from North­ern Nor­way, what I like the most is the sum­mer, because you actu­al­ly have a sum­mer here and sand beach­es.


I have two girls, and a lot of my spare time here goes to their hob­by, which is foot­ball. It is dri­ving back and forth every day. And I’ve had my own hob­bies. I was in the cir­cus here and I end­ed up doing air acro­bat­ics.

When I don’t have my girls at my place, then I´m in Nor­way, where my boyfriend lives, and I take a lot of work trips. I‘m kind of liv­ing in two places right now. I have a sort of sec­ond home in Trom­sø.

I will live in Oulu for at least 10 or 15 years more, prob­a­bly. I have my kids here, and they have school and their foot­ball team. I have my work, and this job is great because I get to have both Nor­way and Oulu in my work.

Also the fact that you can cycle every­where. I think the most shock­ing thing for me is nav­i­gat­ing Oulu. It’s so flat, and I’m used to hav­ing moun­tains to nav­i­gate from in Nor­way, so I’m always lost. It doesn’t mat­ter how long I’ve lived here!

I think Oulu is just like in every coun­try: you have peo­ple who are out­go­ing, peo­ple who are qui­eter and peo­ple who are friend­ly and want to get to know you. I guess Finns are a bit qui­eter than Nor­we­gians and a lit­tle more reserved, but not every­body. So there‘s a dif­fer­ence but not a huge dif­fer­ence.

I think in every­thing, peo­ple meet peo­ple. Per­son-to-per­son meet­ings are the most impor­tant for find­ing a job and hav­ing a good life by find­ing friends. If you don‘t know any­body, I would say to go to every event pos­si­ble. Now that events are com­ing back, that’s a real­ly good are­na to find both jobs, study places or tips. There are also a lot of dif­fer­ent hob­bies you can do on every lev­el and with every­thing, and that’s also how I’ve found friends and net­worked.

My entire adult life has been here, and I still don’t feel like an adult! I think that‘s real­ly good. You get to be cre­ative and you’ll find peo­ple who fit your val­ues who are sim­i­lar to your­self – if you just seek out those places.

I think every­body can find friends here. I’ve also been a for­eign­er who didn´t know any­body. So, yes, you can do it!

This arti­cle was orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished at oulutalenthub.fi

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