My Oulu: The city of Oulu collected students’ views on developing a better city – the basis for further development

Especially upper secondary level students wish for more interesting student events. However, Oulu’s event offering is considered better in recent years, partially thanks to the coming European Capital of Culture year. Stock photo: Ouka

My Oulu

Julkaistu: Kirjoittaja: Satu Fränti, käännös Joel Loukkola

Jaa sosiaalisessa mediassa:

The city of Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu University of Applied Sciences and Education Consortium OSAO launched the Opiskelijakaupunki Oulu Project together in November. The aim of the project was to figure out what Oulu should do differently to become more tempting for students and graduates. The results of the survey and workshops aimed at upper secondary and university level students have now been compiled.

The online survey received 2912 responses. The survey studied the opinions and observations of students regarding student life’s central sectors in Oulu such as work and internship options, housing, hobbies and events. On top of the survey, three workshops were arranged: for Finnish university students, international university students and OSAO students.

“It’s great to start the actual work of developing Oulu as a student city as we now have studied information about the direction the student city should go”, Marketing Director Riina Aukio from the city of Oulu describes.

Students are very interested in Oulu’s general development and want Oulu to continue developing. Many picked out the development of the railway and bus station as well as improving the general appearance of the city centre as large development targets.

Spaces in the city centre and on the campuses

Housing and security are in good condition according to the students: almost all students (93 %) were happy with their apartments and see Oulu as safe (93 %). When the students described Oulu, “safe” was the most used adjective before comfortable and communal.

Students are somewhat satisfied with the study spaces, but they wish for more peaceful, accessible and comfortable independent study spaces in the city centre and on the campuses. The current temporary library in Pekuri is too small for the students’ needs and it weakens the students’ view of Oulu as a student city.

The students wish for more independent study spaces since they want to live closer to the city centre more than before regardless of the school’s location and the students are living in very small apartments. Independent studying has increased as distance teaching has increased. The students do not need to travel to the campus every day and the city libraries are natural places to study in.

Students travel in Oulu primarily by bus, bicycle or in their own cars. Over half of upper secondary level students utilize the bus as their primary means of transport.

More events for students

According to the survey, over a quarter of the students have challenges in finding a suitable community for themselves in Oulu. Students wish for more club and hobby spaces where they can spend time voluntarily. Especially upper secondary level students wish for more interesting student events in Oulu. Oulu’s event offering is considered better in recent years, partially thanks to the European Capital of Culture year.

97 % of international students want to associate more with Finnish students. There are not enough natural meeting places for Finnish and international students at the moment even though both groups want to interact with each other.

Almost half want to stay in Oulu

Almost half of students (43 %) want to stay in Oulu after graduation. 18 % of the respondents do not want to stay in Oulu after graduation and 39 % are unsure.

A third of upper secondary school students want to stay in Oulu after graduation, and they see the University of Oulu and the Oulu University of Applied Sciences as noteworthy options. Students of OSAO and Oulu University of Applied Sciences are the most likely to see themselves staying in Oulu.

International students think that it is very difficult to find a job in their own field in Oulu or nearby regions. 80 % of students who came from outside the EEA think finding a job is difficult. However, Finnish students believe they will find a job in the Oulu region well. 72 % of respondents think finding a job is very easy or somewhat easy.

31 % of the respondents would strongly recommend Oulu as a student city. The average on a 0–10 scale is 7,7. Most of the students consider Oulu to be a pretty good student city which also includes many targets for development according to the students.

Next the courses of action will be defined

The results of the project have been compiled into an action plan that will be assessed with the city, the universities, institutions and student associations.

In order for Oulu to develop as a student city, students, institutions and a wide range of city developers are needed to join the work on top of the city.

“We will deliver the survey’s results to different city fields and all the actors who can influence the development of the student city Oulu. The next step is to define the practical action suggestions that will make Oulu a better student city,” Riina Aikio explains.