My experiences studying in Finland

Beautiful Winter Landscape

Finland is a very beautiful country and my decision to move to Finland has been one of the best decisions of my life. I have enjoyed studying here as well as experiencing different seasons and cultural practices.

Hi, my name is Oloruntobiloba Kolawole also known as Tobi. I am originally from Oyo state Nigeria. I moved to Finland in September 2020 to begin my master’s studies in computing sciences (data science track) at Tampere University. In this blog, I have highlighted some of the things I found to be rather interesting and quite different from my home country.

Winter Beauty
Photo: Ans Ahmad


Coming from Nigeria, I had only experienced two seasons: the dry (harmattan) and the wet (rainy) seasons. So it was rather interesting for me to experience my first full year with four different seasons in Finland. All of the seasons are unique and beautiful in their own way and it was fascinating to see how quickly the temperatures could change within a year.

Santa Claus Village in Lapland (Photo: Ans Ahmad)

During the winter of 2021, I witnessed temperatures as low as -32 degrees Celsius and in the summer as hot as +30 degrees Celsius.  Although I was born and bred in Jos, which has one of the coolest climates in Nigeria, nothing could have prepared me for the Finnish winter. It is cold and brutal but as the Finns say “there is no bad weather, only bad clothing outfits”. I quickly learnt that to survive in the winter you need to have the right clothing (winter jackets, gloves, scarves, woolly materials in hats and socks) and shoes (winter boots) to keep you warm and from slipping on the ice. I also observed that during the winter, cars in Finland have to switch to winter tyres which have metal studs on them to give the car tyres better traction than just regular car tyre treads and keep them from skidding off the roads.

Northern Lights
Photo: Ans Ahmad

One noteworthy thing about the houses in Finland is that they are properly insulated and have central heating, so while it may be very cold outside you are warm indoors. I also learnt that although the winter is dark and cold, it is important to stay active and take vitamin D supplements to make up for the lack of sun.

Frozen Lake during the winter
Photo: Ans Ahmad


There are so many fun activities that you can do during the winter such as skiing, ice skating, reindeer or dog sledging and going to the sauna with friends and family. In addition, seeing the northern lights in the sky, which is also referred to as the holy grail of skywatching was a surreal experience for me as I had never even heard about auroras before arriving in Finland.

Photo: Ans Ahmad


Specific to my education at Tampere University, I must commend the management and staff of Tampere University for the manner and approach in which they have handled the operations of the University during the COVID-19 pandemic. Classes have been seamless and the lecturers are welcoming. So far, I have enjoyed the interdisciplinary approach that the University applies to its curriculum, where students can take courses from other departments or faculties that might be of interest to them. This way, although I am an IT –student, I have been able to take courses in Business and Sociology. There is also a very low hierarchical structure between staff and students and professors are easily accessible. You can have a chat with staff and they are ever willing to explain further topics that might be unclear.

Beautiful sunset
Beautiful sunset photo by Ans Ahmad

In conclusion, studying at Tampere University has been fun, the curriculum is set up in line with industry standards and challenges students to learn new and intriguing technologies. I have met so many intelligent and fun to be with people from diverse backgrounds and so I have a broader understanding of world views. I have also tried dishes from all around the world but specifically to the Finnish culture are the reindeer meat and mämmi (popular Easter pudding).

northern lights at Hervanta campus
Northern lights at Hervanta campus (Photo: Janne Mankinen)

Helpful links:

Application to Finland Universities:

Tampere University: 

Northern lights:

Beautiful trees during the autumn
Early autumn around Näsijärvi (Photo: Ans Ahmad)


About the author

Oloruntobiloba Kolawole is from Oyo State Nigeria. He is currently in the second year of the data science master’s degree program at Tampere University and has a technical background with a bachelors in computer science from Bowen University, Nigeria. He is a student ambassador and loves to travel, play basketball and board games during his leisure.