Oulu is the lively center of Northern Finland located on the shore of the Gulf of Bothnia only 150 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle. Thanks to its snowy winters and bright summer nights Oulu is known as the White City of the North. Nature is always near in Oulu and the city is known for its beautiful parks, beaches and cycle routes.

Oulu has the second largest university in Finland and one of the northernmost medical faculties in the whole world. The University of Oulu is an international research university, whose central mission is to promote culture and well-being especially in northern Finland. Innovative research done in both private and public institutes has created an ever growing high-tech industry to the area and made Oulu one of the biggest growth centers in Finland. There are about 17000 students in the university, more than 700 of them medical students.

Altogether the city of Oulu has about 140 000 inhabitants 50 000 of them students. This quarantines a youthful atmosphere and lively cultural life ranging from opera to nightclubs and everything in-between. During the study semesters from September to June Oulu boasts an active student life and its bars and nightclubs fill with partying students. In summertime Oulu is the home of many music festivals and other diverse happenings.

Click here to take a quick sightseeing around Oulu

Professional Exchange

The faculty of medicine has a separate campus from the rest of the university situated near the university hospital 2 kilometres from the city center. Oulu university hospital is the largest in Northern Finland collecting patients in need of special care from all over the region. In the hospital communication with the patients takes place in Finnish, but most patients understand also some English. The hospital staff speaks English. Because of the language barrier, clinics that are easiest for foreign students are probably those requiring least Finnish skills like surgery and radiology. Other clinics certainly available and popular during previous years include anesthesiology, internal medicine, gynecology and obstetrics, ophthalmology, pediatrics and neurology. All medical specialties are represented in Oulu university hospital.</p>

When coming to clinical exchange you should bring a pair of comfortable working shoes and your own stethoscope. White coats can be provided by the university, but bring your own if you want one that fits you. Working hours are usually from 8.00 or 9.00 am to 2.00 or 4.00 pm. and can be agreed with the supervising doctor.

Research Exchange

High quality medical research is done in the University of Oulu. All the research groups available for research exchange are located in the medical campus area. The role of the student, required skills and methods used vary from research group to another. As of 2010 there are four projects available for exchange. The departments offering research projects are biochemistry, microbiology and pharmacology.

Lodging and Boarding

Lodging will be arranged in apartments rented from students spending their summer holidays elsewhere or in the students dormitories. The apartments are usually situated quite close to the city centre and the hospital. There are cooking facilities and possibility to do the laundry. You might have to share the kitchen and the bathroom with a couple of other students. During the exchange, a daily lunch is served at the University Hospitals staff restaurant and its paid by FiMSIC. You will receive food coupons upon arrival.

Social Programme

Each exchange student will be given a Finnish tutor student to help you find your way around in Oulu. Local FiMSIC officers will all sorts of activities for the exchange students together with the tutors. For example in past years we have had picnics with swimming at the beach. Weve made a weekend trips to a cabin in Lapland and of course visited the night life of Oulu. In winter its a bit more quiet here, but there are usually plenty of Erasmus students in the faculty and also Finnish students will be happy to have you for company on weekend skii-ing trips and other winter activities.<

We try to provide every student with a bicycle as that is certainly the most convenient and fun way of moving around the city. We also try to arrange student cards for our exchange students for cheaper public transportation to other Finnish cities.

In the months of July and August, for one weekend all the exchange students gather into one of the five cities with medical faculties and are entertained there by the local committee. These get-togethers have been very popular and we warmly suggest you to participate when possible.


In summertime the weather in Oulu can range from 10 degrees and rain to 25 degrees Celsius and sunshine during one day, so always be prepared for both. In winter the temperatures vary between 0 and -30 degrees Celsius. Due its location on the seashore, Oulu is also known to be quite windy, so dont forget to pack enough warm clothes when leaving.

Also you should be aware that because of the high latitudes in Northern Finland, the sun only goes down for a very short time in July and not at all in June. This means that also during night time, it is very bright and you might want to take a sleep mask with you, if you can only sleep in the dark.

Travelling To Oulu

You can get to Oulu by train or airplane from Helsinki and other major Finnish cities. The trip from Helsinki by train takes about 6 hours and costs around 70 EUR. By plane it takes about one hour to come to Oulu, but it is also little more expensive. Buses are also available, but they are not necessarily cheaper than trains are.

Top 3: The Local Officers Pick

We were having hard time trying to explain what a great place this small Nordic city can be, so we asked our local FiMSIC officers to name their favorite things about Oulu. Read what you could experience in Oulu and sign up for the best month of your life now!

Antti Kukka, Local President:

1. Ykn Pub: Oulu is famous for its thriving music scene. There are dozens of superb local bands and frequent visitors from all over the world. Ykn Pub is a small suburban pub, which turns into hottest punk club every two weeks or so.<br />

2. Cultural Centre Valve: Valve is like a comfortable living room in the heart of Oulu. It offers free art exhibitions, dance, theater, music, movies and a cafeteria with student price lunches.

3. Virpiniemi: Situated some 20 kilometres north of Oulu, Virpiniemi is an area with horseback ridges ideal for wintertime activities like ski-ing and sledding. Unfortunately you need a car to get there.

Henri Niemel, Local Professional Exchange Officer:

1. Terraces: In summer time almost every bar in Oulu opens a terrace, where you can sip a cold beer while watching the people pass by.

2. Market place waterfront: More affordable option for terraces. Bring your own booze and enjoy a beautiful sunset next to old ships and magazines.

Aleksi Risnen, Local Professional Exchange Officer:

1. Ainola park: Situated right next to the city center in the delta of the river Oulu.  Lots of tiny brooks and beautiful white bridges. Ainola is ideal for picnics and also features an amateur summer theater.

2. Nuclear Nightclub: A new club and cafeteria with live music ranging from pop to metal almost every night.

Marko Juhanne, Local Research Exchange Officer:

1. Bicycles: Oulu has wonderful combination of green parks and blue waters virtually everywhere you go. Every place is accessible by bike all year around.

2. Sports: Whatever sport you fancy, Oulu has the facilities for rehearsing it. Excellent paths for jogging, plenty of green football fields, good public swimming halls and gyms. You name it, weve got it.

3. Open fire in the nature: In wintertime nothing beats making a trip to some cottage or shelter near Oulu and sit around open fire frying sausages with a hot mug of coffee in your hands.

Anniina Levikangas, Local Project Officer:

1. The marketplace: During summer you can buy strawberries and enormous cinnamon rolls and lingonberry buns there (on wintertime you can do it in Cafe Bisketti). Also the market

hall is great - you can eat your morning porridge watching old men come and go.

2. Hailuoto: The largest island in Finland. Spending a night out on the beach with friends is the way to go, with a bonfire (and maybe some wine and guitar-playing).

3. Movie theater Star: An extremely cute little theater run by such a friendly family. You can not be miserable here!

Iida Lapinoja, Local Project Officer:

1. Grill Swing: Delicious grill food and Bosnian specialties in West-Tuira shopping mall.

2. Pikisaari: An island in front of Oulu city center where you can go window shopping for cute houses. Ideal place to live when you are all grown up and rich and powerful doctor.

3. The connecting hallway between medical and dental faculties in the basement of Oulu university hospital: Pink walls and silvery pipes generate a psychedelic atmosphere. This is a place to open a nightclub in the future. Trust me, you dont want to miss this.

IFMSA exchange students in Oulu


Petra Kuikka


Lotta Heikkinen


Roosa Pesl

Ilona Kaisti


Henna Mtt