Work for foreign students


Rossana Cede̱o, 26 years old communication student in the University of Helsinki (UH), has succeeded Рalmost. Unlike many other international degree students she has found a traineeship in her own field.
    But that`s not enough. Now the traineeship has ended and Cedeño is ready to graduate, and she needs to find a real job. And that is not easy.
    Cedeño has made 50-60 applications, but she has had only two interviews. She hasn`t got a job yet. But Cedeño, who moved three years ago from Venezuela to Finland, is not going to give up.
    “I love my work. I will never give up: it does not matter if I need to make thousands of Finnish courses.”

And, according to Mika Tuuliainen, the Head of Career Services in UH, Finnish courses are definitely something foreign students really need to take.
    “In Finland you need Finnish language skills. English is the main language only in 0, 2 percent of the companies.”
    Cedeño knows Finnish already: she has taken almost ten Finnish courses and almost all material in her traineeship was in Finnish. Cedeño`s Finnish husband helped with the most difficult texts.
    “Our plan is to be here for the rest of our lives. Of course if I can put my life in order.”
    But Cedeño doesn`t want to end up as a cleaning lady. And why would she – no one expects that from anyone who is originally Finnish.
    “I didn`t move to Finland to get a lower quality of life than I had in Venezuela.”
    Cedeño graduated as a bachelor of mass communications in Venezuela, and managed there marketing and communication strategies for clients such as Nestle and Johnnie Walker.

The difficulties international students face in finding a job or a traineeship are well-known in universities. This month the University of Helsinki launched a new project called Career services aimed for international students (KVOTA).
    KVOTA aims to develop traineeship possibilities for international students, and intends to form a network consisting of employers and experts in higher education institutions as well as in the business world.
    It is a co-operational project between cities, companies and nine different higher education institutions in the Helsinki Metropolitan Region.
    Right know KVOTA does not have any traineeships to offer, at least not yet, since in this phase KVOTA is about gathering information from employees.
    “In the autumn we`ll start to search for partner companies. Now in this pilot phase we try to gather information from international students who have worked e.g. for cities.”
    Later this spring it will be known if the KVOTA-projects get some extra money for funding the traineeships.

Cedeño feels that many Finnish officials put all foreigners in the same package: that every foreigner just wants to get free money from the government.
    “They should take us, who have plans and are ambitious, seriously! Eg. when we lived in Hyvinkää, they warned me that the language course is so far as in Helsinki.”
    Cedeño found her traineeship when her teacher for master thesis told her about Pohjoisranta, which is a management consultancy specializing in reputation management.
    Cedeño contacted the company and asked, whether their study on reputation should be made also in Venezuela. And Pohjoisranta said yes. So Cedeño got traineeship money from UH and worked last summer in Pohjoisranta.
    I really appreciate the chance I got. It was great to work in my own field and get back to the normal life: take part to the meetings and have lunch with colleagues.”

Päivi Ala-Risku
Stina Salin