A Warm Welcome in Oulu!

GSE Team Finland arrived in Oulu on Thursday after saying goodbye to our fantastic hosts in Kuusamo. Thanks again to Pentti Raivio and the Kussamo Rotary Club for all you did to make our visit to your area incredible!

Team members are settled into our host families and are once again blessed with great people who have not just opened their homes but also their hearts! After unpacking and a bit of time to get settled we met at Sokeri-Jussi, a restaurant here in Oulu. Our team enjoyed a fantastic meal and the chance to get to know each others host families and review the program that local Rotarians have spent countless hours preparing ahead of our arrival. The team is excited to call Oulu home for the next week!

City of Oulu

On Friday morning our team met with Kalervo Ukkola, Secretary General and Head of the City Office.


The Oulu region has approximately 250,000 residents and is the capital of northern Scandinavia. Residents are drawn to the municipality for it educational and cultural center, trade and finance center, logistics center and center of experience. The city is rich in history yet continues to grow and expand. The community boasts the title of the youngest population in Europe with the average age is 36.6 years. There is a definite creative atmosphere with international trends and lively culture, including the world air guitar championships!!! There is also a growing knowledge based industry with over 30,000 students studying in the city. Oulu University is the second largest university in Finland with faculties of humanities, education, science, medicine, economics and technology. Oulu has also put significant effort into forming an innovation alliance which has resulted in over 600 high tech companies to operate in the area and created over 10,000 positions in the technology sector. Our team with have the opportunity to visit the technology park next week. Please take a moment to check out this amazing video showcasing Oulu:

Oulu – People and the City

Our team then walked to the market square and visited the market hall where we discovered some rather unique things!

Market Hall, Oulu




Tuira Rotary Club

After a very cold, wet walk GSE Team Finland attended the Tuira Rotary Club meeting and had the opportunity to share District 5580 with their members. We met so many great people who made us feel right at home. Tara even unexpectedly met another cousin! The magic of GSE continues to grow and inspire our team.

Tuira Rotary Club Presentation

Tour of the City of Oulu

The weather in Finland has been rainy and cold and Friday was definitely NOT an exception. Our team was grateful to stay comfortable inside a bus as we toured the city learning about the history. It was great overview of a city that has persevered through hardship time and time again. Thanks to our amazing tour guide for the personal attention!


2 thoughts on “A Warm Welcome in Oulu!

  1. Tara and all the team,
    Just so you don’t feel too bad about the cold there, we woke up to a blanket of snow AGAIN! And, it is fishing opener today and ice is still on all the big lakes. Oofda!
    Paul and I are just loving your blog and look forward to it every day. Your schedule almost makes us tired, but oh, the wonderful experiences you are enjoying!

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