An internship is usually an obligatory part of the student syllabus in Finland. The idea is to find an organization where students can apply their theoretical knowledge in practice and get academic credits for it.
When I started my studies at the University of Turku an awesome summer internship opportunity was not something I had even dreamt of. But I got to do a summer internship related to my Master’s thesis in the research group TurkuNLP at the University of Turku. This blog post is about how I joined the research group, applied for the internship position, and what I did at work. There is also information about potential ways to find an internship. Good luck with internship hunting!
How I found the research group
Prior to applying for study programmes, I had browsed through potential research groups I might be interested. I wanted to do something that really interested me. At that time, TurkuNLP was one of the groups that had caught my attention.
Fortunately, when I started my studies the courses taught by researchers from the TurkuNLP group were among my favorite ones, and I felt that it would be a great research group to work in. So in the spring, I sent an email to my current supervisor expressing my interest in doing a Master's thesis in the group.
In the email I explained my background, why I was interested in joining the group, and I attached my CV. I soon received a friendly reply that I could do my Master’s thesis there and that a meeting would be set up.
How I found out about the internship position
In the meeting, I met future colleagues and potential topics were discussed. It was explained how things work for Master’s thesis students, along with some conventions in the research group.
I could feel the open and straightforward atmosphere; the information exchange was encouraged and it sparked interesting discussions. I was also told that paid internship positions in the department would be available in the summer and that I could apply for those if I was interested.
It seemed like a great opportunity to do something that would develop into a Master’s thesis, as I had been planning on starting my thesis as soon as possible So I applied for a position.
Details about the internship positions were released on the departmental website later that spring. Students from the department received an email about these internship opportunities, which would last three months.
There were internship positions available in several research groups, and students could apply for one or more of these positions. Applications were submitted through the University of Turku’s job application site, where we filled in our personal details, education, work experience, motivations for the application, and attached our CVs.
Some applicants were interviewed, but I was not because my supervisor already knew me.
I worked on a biomedical natural-language processing project related to my Master’s thesis. I worked with researchers who have years of experience in natural language processing, so they can guide me whenever I need assistance. Things I did at work included coding, reading papers, and basically anything related to figuring out how to make our system work and perform better.
Most importantly, discussion with and learning from colleagues made this an awesome summer internship where I could work and learn at the same time.
Apart from the internship positions offered by one’s own departments, there are also a number of other ways to find an internship.
- Contact the programme coordinator: the situation often varies from programme to programme, and the programme coordinator may have useful information specific to your own programme.
- The university’s career service: they may have a list of internship positions and they may also have special support for international students. For example, international students from Åbo Akademi University and University of Turku had the chance to participate in the POLKU mentorship programme during the past academic year. Internship-related information was provided here.
- Contact potential employers: if you find any places where you may be interested in doing an internship, it is also possible to directly contact the employer to ask if this is possible.
Finland University serves as a gateway to one of the finest Finnish multidisciplinary Universities on offer. If you are interested in studying in Finland and would like to find out more, the downloadable Finland University guide provides a quick starting package about how to apply for International Master’s Degree Programmes and Scholarships at the member universities of Finland University.
Interested? Download the guide and learn more!