‘Working abroad had always been my dream’
When tourism student Julia went to a EURES Career Day organised at the campus of Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, south-west Finland, she did not know this would be the start of a life-changing journey for her.
‘I decided I’d go and have a look because working abroad had always been my dream,’ says the young Finn.
Two weeks after talking to the EURES Ireland Advisers at the event, Julia received an email from them about work placements for Finnish students at a hotel group in Ireland. ‘I was at a time in my life when I needed a change in environment and lifestyle. There was nothing stopping me, so I thought it was the perfect time to do something like that.’
Culinary student Tuomas was also very eager to gain some international professional experience. ‘When I heard about the opportunity to work abroad, I signed up immediately,’ says the young chef in training.
Tuomas learnt about EURES from his teacher Jukka Mäkinen, who encouraged him to apply and gave him advice on asking the right questions.
‘It was pretty exciting to go abroad alone for the first time,’ the young culinary student recalls.
Julia and Tuomas are very happy with the support they received from their EURES Advisers in Finland, who helped them sort out their work documents, gave them practical tips and guided them in applying for financial aid from the EU.
‘Such a good opportunity to learn in a new, exciting way’
As a receptionist at the Sheraton Athlone Hotel, Julia was responsible for checking in and checking out all guests, answering phones, managing bookings, responding to guests’ requests, billing, upselling, booking taxis and providing tourist information. ‘I found that my English improved a lot. I feel like I also became more confident and relaxed in dealing with customers.’
During his work placement, Tuomas worked in the kitchen of the Hodson Bay Hotel, central Ireland, where he gained knowledge about the intricacies of Irish cuisine, learnt new cooking techniques, and improved his communication skills. ‘I highly recommend participating in this programme because it is such a good opportunity to learn in a new, exciting way,’ says the young chef.
‘A great experience to remember’
The two Finns say with confidence that their EURES experience has not just been great for their careers – it also helped them grow as people and make memories for life. ‘Working abroad is something everyone should try,’ Julia recommends. ‘You learn so much and get a new perspective on things.’ Tuomas recalls fondly: ‘My placement in Ireland was so memorable and amazing!’
Another invaluable thing the two students gained during their time abroad were friendships. Tuomas made friends with his roommate and colleague Jaïro, with whom he still keeps in touch. Meanwhile, Julia met her boyfriend Stephen, with whom she is considering opening a bed and breakfast in the future.
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- Publication date
- 5 March 2021
- European Labour Authority | Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
- EU toolbox for mobilityEURES best practiceEURES trainingExternal stakeholdersSuccess storiesYouth
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