Erasmus interns at TAF: ”The atmosphere in Finland encourages innovation”

Irish youth marvel at Finnish technological competence but shiver in the early spring cold.

Technology Academy Finland (TAF) offered an internship to two second year business students from Ireland this March. The two university students, Rachel Fagan (24) and Mohammed Elmdalel (18), spent two weeks working at TAF.

Both students were a part of a 14-person group sent to Helsinki-based companies for a two week internship by their school, Ballyfermot College. The trip was funded by the EU student exchange program Erasmus.

During these two weeks, Fagan and Elmdalel got a chance to familiarize themselves with some of the events organized by TAF as well as to provide valuable, international insights towards the foundations activity. In addition, the duo undertook tasks such as comparative analysis and mapping out social media channels for use in the marketing of youth events.

“I was surprised that only a small portion of 15 to 16 year-olds actively use Facebook”, Elmdalel commented on the results of the analysis.

Fagan was especially impressed with the youth programs organized by TAF: the technology and innovation themed MillenniumX youth event and the Teknoloikka internship program.

“It’s great that children and teenagers are being educated about the possibilities offered by technology. I have never come across such events or internship programs in Ireland. Such opportunities will surely foster the creativity of participants”, says Fagan.

Both interns noted that Finland has an atmosphere that encourages creativity and innovation.


The prices in Helsinki were frightening

In addition to the usual tourist activities, the interns also got a chance to do some ice skating, window shopping and even to attend an ice hockey game. Both were shocked by the price level in Finland.

“I had heard that Finland is expensive, but I never would have imagined paying 25 euros for a typical restaurant dinner”, said Fagan.

However, Elmdalel sees free attractions as the best and fully enjoyed walking around Helsinki and comparing it to his hometown.

“Helsinki is a stark contrast to Dublin. Getting lost is nearly impossible and people seem to be very obedient and obey the law.”

Fagan, on the other hand, did not resonate with the Finnish outdoors.

“It’s nice to look at the snow-covered scenery – but I prefer to do so through a window!”


Text and photo: Laura Manas