International students explore the Finnish job market through internships

Double Degree students with their lecturers in TAMK Paper Lab: (left to right) Chengji Yang, Tianshu Yu, Maria Änkö and Arto Nikkilä

As a University of Applied Sciences, TAMK teaches hands-on skills and prepares the students for work life. Even if internships are not mandatory, they can play vital role in students’ careers.

Every autumn since 2018, approximately 15 students from Qilu University of Technology in China participate the double degree program focusing on paper making engineering. The students focus on fundamental subjects such as math and basic chemistry in Qilu University. After the basic courses, the students join TAMK and focus on application oriented professional courses on paper making and bioengineering.

There is a certain amount of pressure on the students as they are completing two degrees in four years. However, there is also great opportunity for them to gain valuable knowledge and explore more career options.

“We experience two educational systems, with different teaching principles. Thus, we learn a bigger range of hard and soft skills valuable in the global job market,” comments Chengji Yang, double degree student in paper making engineering.

Preparations for the job market

The curriculum is especially designed for the double degree students from China. Besides courses on paper production and bioproduct chemistry, the students learn about Finnish culture and society.

In TAMK, there are numerous resources available and encouraging lecturers and staff to help international students explore the Finnish job market. For example, the students can follow workshops on building a CV and writing motivation letters.

“Our international students can benefit greatly by developing skills and competencies during their internships. Internships are also a great way to network with organizations where they can find employment,” emphasizes Tapio Kujala, TAMK President.

Internships inside TAMK

Both Finnish and international students often choose TAMK for their internships. It is an easy choice thanks to TAMK’s vivid and inclusive community. The lab environments are familiar, and the community is comfortable with English language.

During summer 2021, TAMK Paper Lab had international interns for the first time. Everyone was quickly accustomed to their tasks and responsibilities without any issues. In addition, coffee breaks created a casual setting for socializing and learning more about Finnish and Chinese cultures and languages.

“Going for lunch was like a short intercultural workshop. We learnt more about each other’s’ traditions,” exclaims Chengji.

Exploring local employers

One may think that welcoming an international trainee brings disruption and difficulties. Evidently, Metsä Tako Mill thinks otherwise. The team was excited to welcome their first international trainee.

“It was important to ensure good English language skills of the team and student. Expectedly, safety is important when working in a lab and the first act as a trainee is to be introduced to safety instructions and regulations. Everything went smoothly after all,” comments Ville Jokinen, Quality Engineer in Metsä Tako Mill.

TAMK strives to create more internship opportunities for all students by collaborating closely with local companies and organizations. An internship provides the setting to meet professionals in their future career field and helps them learn all about workplace culture.

“The internship prepared me for what to expect in my future work field. I believe students need to go to companies for internships so that we can learn how to apply what we have learned,” says Hao Xi, double degree student who interned in Metsä Tako Mill.


Text: Dimitra Panopoulou-Huovila

Image: Chengji Yang

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