“Winter activities in Oulu make it an even more special city”

Man at BusinessAsema

Moustafa Khairi is working as a machine learning operations engineer in Oulu. He is 25 years old, and his home city is Alexandria, Egypt.


I came to Finland in January 2021 to pursue a master’s degree in computer science, majoring in artificial intelligence (AI). I took up communications and electronics engineering for my bachelor’s degree but did not find what I was searching for.

During my bachelor’s studies, I started shifting my focus to other technical and non-technical fields. I started learning about AI and data science in 2019. I call this my “when the magic happened” moment. My whole experience in the field was based on self-learning through online courses and technical competitions and by attending sessions, workshops, seminars and similar events. However, as I did not have any academic background in computer science or AI, I searched for master’s programmes I could enrol in.


The biggest reason that I chose the University of Oulu Computer Science and Engineering programme was that I knew I could specialize in AI there without having to take other irrelevant computer science tracks. In addition, I would be able to tailor the courses I would take based on my interests, given the university’s wide variety of elective courses.

As I mentioned earlier, I came to Finland in January 2021, in the middle of the pandemic; this affected my whole experience both positively and negatively, but fortunately, the positive aspect of my experience outweighed the negative aspect.


Despite the pandemic, the University of Oulu facilitated learning for its students. Thus, we had the same high-quality education as before the pandemic in the remote setup. Many student associations and entities continued their mission remotely, which helped build healthy and fruitful student communities despite the odds.

I am currently a member of many student associations and entities, such as Slush, AIESEC in Oulu and Oulu Entrepreneurship Society. Moreover, I managed to found my own student association under the umbrella of Google: the Oulu Google Developer Student Club.

During my academic studies, I obtained a couple of internships in industry and at the University of Oulu and completed my thesis for Nokia. I am currently working as a machine learning operations (MLOps) engineer at Nordcloud, utilizing cloud services for the development and deployment of machine learning models (sounds complex, I know).


In the beginning, I was not sure if I would be able to adapt to a city totally different from my home city, Alexandria. Now, more than a year and a half later, I find Oulu a quiet, beautiful and interesting city with an arctic atmosphere and a breathtaking natural landscape.

In my free time, I like exercising, playing the piano, watching movies and biking. I actually learned biking here in Oulu. I can still remember the first time I managed to bike for 10 metres without falling off my bike! There are special lanes for bikes almost everywhere, and many places are reachable by biking.

Winter activities in Oulu make it an even more special city. Last winter, I challenged myself and went ice swimming at a temperature of -22°C! This was quite an experience for someone who hails from a country whose lowest temperature in winter is around +10°C.

Moving to a new country is not an easy decision and entails sacrifices. It is a challenging yet rewarding experience in many respects.

Man swimming on the river

This article was originally published at oulutalenthub.fi

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