“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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