“Oulu has its own Nort­hern spi­rit. I real­ly love Oulu.”

Filip Polak from Slo­va­kia came to Oulu in 2019 and he is stu­dying at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Oulu for the fourth year. Filip star­ted wor­king part-time at Nokia in Februa­ry 2022.


My name is Filip Polak, 24, and I’m from Hul, Slo­va­kia. Hul is a small vil­la­ge of about 1 000 people in Slo­va­kia and it is loca­ted not far from Bra­tis­la­va. I moved to Fin­land four and a half years ago, first to Tam­pe­re and then to Oulu.


I moved to Oulu to for the Uni­ver­si­ty stu­dies. First, I was afraid of moving to Oulu because it is such a Nort­hern city. But now it would be sca­ry to move away. I have made great friends here. A big part of the thanks goes to the uni­ver­si­ty Of Oulu because the­re is a strong cul­tu­re of brin­ging stu­dents toget­her. I have also made friends out­si­de of the uni­ver­si­ty.


I am stu­dying in the Intercul­tu­ral teac­her educa­tion pro­gram­me at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Oulu. I have stu­died Fin­nish main­ly inde­pen­dent­ly. Befo­re moving to Fin­land, I stu­died words from the dic­tio­na­ry. I have also done a few Fin­nish cour­ses at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Oulu. I’m plan­ning to stay in Fin­land for a whi­le.

At the moment I work as talent att­rac­tion trai­nee for the rec­ruit­ment depart­ment at Nokia. I want to speak Fin­nish with my col­lea­gues during mor­ning cof­fee and lunch breaks. I think that is the best way to learn Fin­nish.
I was surpri­sed at how big the town is in terms of area. The­re are 200,000 inha­bi­tants in Oulu and they are spread over lar­ge areas of the city. In Slo­va­kia, cities are more concent­ra­ted.

Now I work part-time because I am also focusing on my stu­dies. I work from home and go to the office eve­ry now and then. We usual­ly talk between col­lea­gues and arran­ge to be at the office at the same time.
I think the­re is a lot of inde­pen­dence in the nort­hern way of wor­king. The­re is a lot of trust between the mana­ge­ment and the emplo­yees. The mana­ge­ment encou­ra­ges emplo­yees a lot to bring up their own thoughts about work. That is a big thing for me.


I have found some new hob­bies in Oulu. Befo­re I moved to Oulu, I hated run­ning. But I fell in love with run­ning in Oulu and star­ted run­ning during the win­ter. Oulu has many great oppor­tu­ni­ties for run­ning throug­hout the year. For example, the­re are a lot of forest paths and other beau­ti­ful places for run­ning here. I like to run around the Kui­vas­jär­vi lake or some­ti­mes to the beach to see the sea.
Anot­her new thing for me is playing the drums. I star­ted drum­ming thanks to an oppor­tu­ni­ty offe­red by the uni­ver­si­ty. The­re are a lot of spaces for prac­ticing music at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Oulu, so you do not have to have a who­le kit at home. And I have always loved board games. I real­ly enjoy playing board games with my friends.

I have also found karao­ke whi­le living in Oulu. This has been the big­gest surpri­se for me. I go to sing karao­ke with my friends eve­ry week. And from my expe­rience in other count­ries, I have not seen as big a karao­ke cul­tu­re anyw­he­re as the one in Fin­land.


If you move to Oulu from anot­her city in Fin­land, do not fear the Oulu dia­lect. I was surpri­sed how Fin­land has so many dif­fe­rent dia­lects and how dif­fe­rent the dia­lects of Tam­pe­re and Oulu are, for example. It real­ly took some time for me to get used to the lan­gua­ge here because of the strong Oulu dia­lect when I moved here from Tam­pe­re. Bu I am very used to the Oulu dia­lect by now.
I think that Oulu in a nice city. It is not too busy a city but the­re is still a lot going on and it has a very impor­tant role for the region. I think that Oulu has its own kind of spi­rit, the Nort­hern spi­rit.

The­re are a lot of ICT com­pa­nies in Oulu and the­re­fo­re a lot of jobs in the industry for tho­se who can speak English.
I go to Slo­va­kia twice a year. The­re are many con­nec­tions from Oulu to Slo­va­kia. Nowa­days I tra­vel by ship or by train for envi­ron­men­tal rea­sons, and it takes a litt­le bit lon­ger. Of cour­se, the easiest way to go is to fly.

Read more about wor­king in Oulu