“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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