Dutch trainees in Tampere

Credits: Sofia Viertola / Visit Tampere

Credits: Sofia Viertola / Visit Tampere

Interns from the Hospitality Business School of Saxion University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands are currently doing a tourism internship at Marriott Courtyard Tampere

Philip ten Bokum, 22, and Lucas Karnebeek, 24, from the Netherlands, are interning at Marriott Courtyard Tampere. Throughout the internship, the students acquaint themselves with various aspects of hotel operations, including reception work and restaurant services. Finland was chosen as a training destination for these young men partly due to its exotic appeal.

"There are numerous internships available in the Netherlands and abroad. I became interested in the opportunities in Denmark and Finland because only a few students have completed their internships in the Nordic countries. I had no prior knowledge of Finland, and its mysterious and alluring nature intrigued me," Philip ten Bokum says.

The Finnish work culture has been a pleasant surprise, receiving praise for its low hierarchy in the workplace and trust in employees.

"At first, I was a little apprehensive because the hotel caters to business customers, and I have several tattoos. However, that turned out not to be a problem, and I have been able to be myself, warmly welcomed by my colleagues. I even spend my free time with some of them," Karnebeek says.

"The Finnish work culture is very informal, with hardly any hierarchy. The general manager of the hotel speaks to me in the same way as they do to others. Moreover, trust in employees is higher in Finland than in the Netherlands. In my very first week at work, I was given the task of buying Valentine's Day gifts with the company's credit card," Karnebeek adds.

Marriott Courtyard Tampere has been hosting international students ever since they were able to come to Finland to work after the pandemic. Trainees from Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands have all participated.

"International student cooperation is incredibly rewarding. It has been eye-opening for us young people, educated in Finland and accustomed to the Finnish way of working, to witness the attitude and motivation of young foreign students. On the other hand, the foreign youth who have come here have been amazed and excited about the Finnish work culture and atmosphere. It is also great to see the increase in young people's self-confidence. It should be remembered that for many, this is their first experience of working outside their own country and, in some cases, in the working world in general," says Ville Virkki, Hotel Manager at Marriott Courtyard Tampere.

The city of Tampere, where the internship takes place, also receives praise.

"There is a lot to see and do. Tampere offers a vibrant nightlife and numerous options for sports and other hobbies. It is also a city of culture and history, with dozens of museums and theaters," ten Bokum praises.

In Finland, which faces a labor shortage, there is hope that students like ten Bokum and Karnebeek will enjoy their experience so much that they will consider staying in Finland for permanent employment. However, the future plans of these young individuals remain open.

"I have been in Finland for over three months now, and I'm starting to miss my friends and family. In the long run, I think I will miss them," ten Bokum said.

"When it comes to career aspirations, I am still like an empty canvas. However, I have a liking for hospitality and serving people. Nevertheless, the tourism industry is so diverse and extensive. I still need to study it further to determine what I want for the future," Karnebeek says.

Philip ten Bokum at work
Credits: Philip ten Bokum