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As one of Finland’s most northerly cities, Oulu is a special place to study a Masters: its long winters are made bearable by the promise of the aurora borealis and glorious summers where the sun hardly sets. With a well-earned reputation for technological innovation, Oulu is home to two universities.
Oulu is shaped by its location in the north of Finland. The winter may be harsh and bitterly cold (temperatures of -30 Celsius aren’t uncommon!) but the summer more than makes up for this. The city’s Kauppatori (market square) comes to life and becomes a hub of stalls, restaurants and cafes. An unlikely icon of Oulu is the ‘Bobby at the Market Place’, a squat bronze statue of a policeman that stands in the middle of the Kauppatori.
Summer also brings with it the opportunity to explore the glorious Finnish nature on Oulu’s doorstep, with pristine forests and lakes within easy reach. The more adventurous postgraduate could go foraging for lingonberries, bilberries and other fruity treats. Wannabe rocks stars can visit a summertime Oulu institution: the Air Guitar World Championships (no, really).
Oulu’s location in Northern Finland means that it’s within a few hours of Rovaniemi – perhaps best known as the home of Santa Claus, and a great place to experience the magic of Christmas via sledge rides and husky safaris.
With an average age of 38, Oulu is one of Europe’s youngest cities. It’s also estimated that around a third of its residents are university-educated. Oulu has become known for its expertise in technology, which is unsurprising given the city’s forward-thinking attitude to digital infrastructure and research. Masters students have a great opportunity to become part of this, and there are ample career opportunities with the many tech companies based in Oulu.
The first port of call for students in search of accommodation in Oulu should be PSOAS, part of the University of Oulu’s student union.
Oulu is home to two public universities: the research-orientated University of Oulu and the more vocational Oulu University of Applied Sciences. Each offers plenty of Masters programmes in English, although the primary language of instruction remains Finnish.
Both universities also maintain close links with local industry, ensuring strong job prospects for alumni.
Oulu is the fastest growing city in Arctic Europe, a fact that bodes well for postgraduates hoping to stay on in the city after their studies.
As we’ve already mentioned, Oulu is something of a hotbed for tech companies – established organisations and start-ups alike have made their base here. Mobile networks are a big part of the Oulu region’s economy, and the University of Oulu currently has a 5G test network up and running in partnership with Nokia.
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