Friendship Family Programme

”Parasta oli uuden kulttuurin oppiminen ja opiskelijaan tutustuminen. Ystäväopiskelijamme tykkäsi lapsistamme, joten lapsetkin odottivat häntä.”

”Dinner time with Finnish food was the best. The atmosphere was so warm that I felt like at home.”

Welcome to Oamk’s and OSAKO’s Friendship Family programme. In the friendship family programme, international degree students and Oulu residents or families from the surrounding areas of Oulu get to know each other and each other’s cultures in a relaxed and low-key way. The diversity of families is taken into account: couples, singles, and big or small families can also sign up! The most important thing is the desire to participate.

The applications to become a friendship family or friendship student for 2024 will be opened on late autumn!

Friendship family programme will start in January or February and continue until August. Those selected will be notified of the activities and a more detailed schedule during January.

The friendship family and the student are matched together at the first get-to-know-you event, after which the activity continues voluntarily and in a completely free form: so you can define what your friendship family activities will look like. Friendship family activities are mainly in English, but depending on the student, you can also learn the basics of the Finnish language during the friend family activity vacation.

Any family from Oulu can join. Our goal is to promote the integration of international degree students. Commitment to Finnish everyday life and culture outside the study environment is an impressive experience for the student. In addition, the family of friends gets a new perspective and activity in their own everyday life as well. The activities internationalize Oamk and promote openness and community spirit.

Welcome aboard!

If you have any questions, contact the contact person of the friendship family programme: OSAKO’s communications and international affairs expert.

Note – OSAKO has skates and other sports and camping equipment that can be borrowed free of charge in Linnanma, which can also be used to your advantage at family get-togethers. Contact Jennika or come to Sluuppi Shop in Linnanmaa to check out our selection! OSAKO has, among other things, footballs, basketballs, racquets and bats, camping stoves, mattresses, and sleeping bags, skates, skis and snowboards, and other basic equipment.

Information for participating families

Friendship families are a living example of what a home internationalization can be at its best. A friendship family offers foreign students the opportunity to get to know ordinary life in Oulu. At the same time, the family gets a unique opportunity to expand their own worldview and learn something new. In the best case, the activity gives you unforgettable experiences and lifelong friends.

What kind of families can participate?

All kinds of families from Oulu and Oulu’s surrounding areas are welcome. The definition of family is very broad, and there are no criteria regarding the size or composition of the family. Couples, singles, children, childless, single parents, and seniors can all act as a family of friends. The most important thing is an open and positive attitude and the desire to invite an international student into the family’s everyday life from time to time. The family must be able to communicate with the student in English, so this is also a great opportunity to sharpen your language skills.

Who the students are?

About 260 international degree students study at Oamk. There are four different degree programs in English: Business Information Technology, International Business, Information Technology and Bachelor of Health Care, Nursing. The students who participate in the friendship family programme are first and second-year students.

The students come from many different countries, represent different religions, and are of different ages. Oamk has many students from, for example, Vietnam, Nepal, and China. Exchange students who stay at Oamk for only one semester or year do not participate in the activity. A suitable friend student is selected for the family based on the applications. Special attention is paid to hobbies and interests.

What to do with students?

Family and students can do very everyday things together. Many international students have never visited a Finnish home before. Picking berries, cooking and baking together, visiting a summer cottage, sauna, skiing, skating, a swimming trip to a nearby lake, celebrating Finnish holidays, or just having afternoon coffee together are all great ways to spend time together. In the opinion of an international student, such a pastime – very ordinary from the point of view of many Finns – can be the most interesting thing to do. Students are also encouraged to share things about their own culture with their friends’ families.

There is no ready-made model for what the operation should be like. The family and the student decide together what kind of things they want to do and how often to meet. In the uncertain corona time, we want to remind families and students about safety issues when planning meetings. Don’t meet each other sick. Favor activities where it is possible to keep safety distances. Also, consider the possibility of organizing meetings remotely.

The student may have customs and habits related to his culture or religion, which the family should be aware of. It’s also good to think about practical matters, such as going to joint meetings – especially if the family lives a little further away – in advance. It is worth remembering that, for example, bus trips can be a significant expense in the student’s budget. However, the family is not in any way financially responsible for the student. Things should be discussed openly in good time. Mutual learning is one of the biggest advantages of the operation.

A joint kick-off meeting is organized for families, where you can get tips on how to start the activity. In connection with the meeting, common rules of the game will also be reviewed, with the help of which we want to ensure the most comfortable experience for families and students.


The friendship family programme is coordinated by Oulu University of Applied Sciences (Oamk) and Oamk’s student union OSAKO. The activity is intended for Oamki’s international degree students and families living in Oulu and Oulu’s surrounding areas. The purpose of these principles is to ensure that everyone understands their role in Friends Family activities.

Families and students are matched based on applications. Especially expressed wishes as well as hobbies and other interests are taken into account. Not all wishes can necessarily be taken into account, and not everyone can be guaranteed a friend or a family. A joint kick-off meeting is organized for the students and families selected to participate, after which the activities continue independently.

Oamk and OSAKO are not responsible for the families or students participating in the activity. All activities are considered free time, and no one is insured on behalf of Oamk or OSAKO. Both families and students must take care that no one is harmed or otherwise put at a disadvantage. The well-being, safety, and cultural differences of both parties must be taken into account in all activities.

Families and students agree on how often they meet and what they do together. Active participation and genuine interest in each other’s culture are expected from both friends’ families and students.

The families are not in any way financially responsible for the student and are not obligated to compensate the student for any expenses incurred by the activity. However, families are advised to remember that students may not be able to contribute financially to the activities.

Families are not responsible for arranging students’ housing, banking, residence permit or other similar matters. The student does not have an obligation to work (for example, babysitting or doing housework) for the family.

The activity is committed until August, but it is, however, voluntary in nature. If a family or student wants to withdraw from the activity or other problems arise, the coordinator must be notified immediately. Oamk and OSAKO have the right to remove the student or family from the activity.

Families and students are encouraged to openly discuss their expectations and possibilities regarding activities.


Both families and students fill out application forms, on the basis of which they are matched. Shared hobbies and other interests are especially taken into account. The family’s wishes regarding the student are taken into account as much as possible, but it is not necessarily possible to meet all wishes. If there is a representative of the Oamk-staff in the friend’s family, a student from a different campus will be selected.

The new friendship family season starts in January or February 2024 and ends in August 2024. The application for 2024 will be opened in late 2023.

Families and students are matched asap after the application period ends. We will meet everyone personally during January, or February the latest.