Whether you've just graduated or still have a year or two left of college, it's never too early to start searching for internships. Finland has some excellent internships, trainee programs, and summer jobs for recent grads, especially if you're interested in a career in technology. These programs show Finland's dedication to young professionals and the ideas they bring to the business.
One perk of working in Finland is what it can do for your future job prospects. Even though internship placements usually only last from one summer to up to one year, several top Finnish companies have locations around the world, giving you more opportunities to work in new cities after the internship has ended.
An internship in Finland is not just a resume boost. Spend free time skiing, attending cultural festivals, and visiting national parks. It's also a chance to see one of the most beautiful sights the world has to offer: the northern lights. This phenomenon is most easily seen during December. But don't fret if you're not there in December, Santa Claus Village is open year round!
Finland is at the forefront of innovative technologies and manufacturing services. The top companies employ at least 4,000 people, and some have more that 60,000 people worldwide. Most internships are located in Espoo or Helsinki and, although many will require the applicant to be fluent in Finnish, there are opportunities for English speakers, as well. Others offer Finnish language training as you go.
Whether you are looking for a position in hardware or software, Finland's technology business is booming. Possibly the most recognizable company to come out of Finland (specifically Espoo), Nokia specializes in telecommunications and innovative technologies that are used in various fields. Nokia employs more than 60,000 people worldwide. Opportunities for internships in Finland range from marketing and IT to development and research.
Tieto is another Finnish company based in Espoo. They provide software services to organizations of all kinds. Working for Tieto will give you insight into innovative technologies and how they are used in healthcare, energy, financial, manufacturing, media, retail, and more. Tieto encourages young professionals to apply for their trainee program, which allows interns the opportunity to experience several departments in the company. Fluency in Finnish and a Bachelor's degree in a related field will most likely be required.
Some of Finland's largest companies manufacture paper and paper products. While this might not sound as glamourous as innovative technologies at first, companies like Stora Enso are finding their own ways to be innovative and intriguing. With a focus on renewability and quality, this sector would be a good fit for recent graduates or students of ecology, engineering, business, or project management.
Like many Finnish organizations, Stora Enso supports young professionals with their internship program and summer jobs. Again, speaking Finnish will be necessary for many jobs with this company.
Many of us get our first job working in retail during high school or college. If you've ever wondered what happens behind the scenes of grocery stores and other retail companies, interning with Kesko in Finland could be your chance to find out. The trainee program at Kesko offers summer jobs to college students who are nearing the end of their studies as well as recent graduates looking for their first job experience in their field.
Best Time to Get an Internship in Finland
Internships are opening up all the time in Finland, so the best time to go really depends on you. Because Finland is so far north, the length of the day changes with the seasons. The summer months are sunny for almost 24 hours per day, and the winter months see the sun for only a few hours each day. If seeing the Northern Lights is a must, then December is your best bet.
It's never too early to start planning. Once you have your resume/CV edited and ready to go, you can start applying. Because many internships appeal to college students or recent graduates, the competition for open positions will likely be higher during the summer months and right after May (or even December) graduations. Keep this in mind and get your applications in as early as possible.
Some companies will offer suggestions for accommodation or have partnerships with apartment complexes. If you are securing accommodation on your own, the best plan is to book a hostel or hotel for one to two weeks to give you time to look for and rent an apartment. If you have a list of potential apartments already made before you get to Finland, you should be able to make a decision fairly quickly.
Some internship programs will place you in student housing or with a host family, which means many of the details will be arranged for you if you've chosen to pay a premium for a program provider. You might only have to pay one set fee for all rent, utilities, and meals, or it may be included in your program cost.
Cost of Living
Interning abroad can be very expensive depending on where you go and for how long. Finland is known for being an expensive destination. You might consider saving up enough to last the duration of your internship, or maybe you have a work from home job that will allow you to continue to earn money while abroad -- or perhaps you'll get lucky enough to land a paid internship.
Plan on paying at least $1000 per month on rent, utilities, food, and internet. This cost will vary based on location and whether or not you've got a roommate. Groceries, toiletries, public transportation ($60 per month), and clothes will be similar to the cost of living in a U.S. city. These estimates are based on living in Helsinki, as this is a popular internship destination. You could save money by living in a smaller town. The catch is that when the cost of living goes down, so do internship opportunities.
If you are a U.S. citizen, you will need to apply for a Residence Permit to work in Finland, even if it will be for less than 90 days. You will need to have a valid passport in order to apply. Other specific instructions can be found at the VFS Global website for Finland Residence Permits.
Finland is interested in promoting sustainability in innovative ways throughout its leading companies, which is one reason why many companies in Finland are interested in hiring recent graduates through trainee programs. These organizations are innovative and open to suggestions from all employees. They are collaborative and encourage team-building along with personal growth. The work will be fast-paced and may require international travel and speaking multiple languages.
Finland is one of the safest countries in the world and is known for encouraging respect of other people's property. Even with this in mind, it is still always wise to stay aware of your surroundings and keep watch of your belongings. A few other hints and tips:
- Consider purchasing additional travelers insurance to cover unexpected issues.
- No vaccinations are required.
- 112 is the number to call in case of an emergency while in-country.
- Mosquitoes are relentless in July, but do not carry disease. Bring strong repellent from home.