"Straight out of High School, I didn’t really know my talents or skills ”, says Roberts Belins, who started his Tourism and Event Management studies in 2020, ”but this programme has brought forth my true potential."
Young people stepping into working life aren’t necessarily aware of what they want and need to learn. Education institutes and their teachers have a specific role in helping and pushing them forward. According to Roberts Belins, this is exactly what Haaga-Helia is doing.
After graduating from High Scool in his hometown Riga, Latvia, Roberts Belins was determined to continue studying. However, he couldn’t find a programme to suit his interests.
- I only had a vague idea of wanting to work with people, since I’m a very sociable person, I like helping out and organizing things. It seemed that Universities back home had nothing to offer in terms of meeting my admittedly undefined ambitions, says Belins.
Then a friend of Belin’s recommended Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki.
- I didn’t know much about Finland, but studying there sounded like the perfect opportunity for me to step out of my comfort zone.
Belins applied and got accepted in the Tourism and Event Management programme in 2020. In the end everything happened swiftly since through connections he also found an apartment near Haaga-Helia’s Porvoo campus (about 45 km from Helsinki), where the Tourism and Event Management studies take place.
- There was a bit of a culture shock at first, since Finns are quite shy, minding their own business, but then again, the atmosphere and diversity of people on the campus – students from all over the world – was amazing, very inspiring, Belins says.
On finding one’s strengths
The Tourism and Event Management programme gives students a solid foundation for working in the tourism or event industry. Haaga-Helia’s close connections to the tourism and event business, as well as the real-life learning projects, enable students to develop skills and competences needed in a fast-paced business environment. Studies combined with an internship and a thesis project give them the skills, mindset and networks required to enter and thrive in the tourism and event business.
- The teachers at Haaga-Helia really see the potential in each student, supporting their personal growth. Not to mention their connections that enable students to do volunteer work and internships in real business environments.
Belins has particularly taken pleasure in for example the Experience Design studies. Human Resources might be a thing of the future for him as well.
- I can picture myself as a public speaker or a host, but I’ve come to understand that my social skills could also be of use within the recruiting business, he says.
Belins plans to do his internship and thesis – on qualitative data and design thinking – back home in Latvia. He says that having gained all this new information and new skills in Finland, he wants to try them out in a different environment, within his native community.
- I must admit I’m also a bit homesick, but this is not to say that I haven’t truly enjoyed the studies and the friendly, non-hierarchic ambience of Haaga-Helia!