Prospective Degree Students

"Practical training abroad is a mind-opening experience"

Markku Kuukasjärvi graduated in 2006. He studied in the degree programme in Hotel and Restaurant Business (the name was changed to degree programme in Tourism in 2008). Nowadays he works in Helsinki for Kaleva Travel Ltd which is Finland’s largest privately owned and independent business travel agency. Markku’s work comprises travel analysis, reporting and staff training in the field of travel reporting. He also works as a contact person for Carlson Wagonlit Travel which is the largest chain of travel agencies in the world.

Your motives to choose Vamk? Many of my teachers always kept asking why I decided to study tourism and the answer was always the same: I love travelling! It was an easy decision to move from Rovaniemi to Vaasa when I heard that sun is always shining in this city of the west coast. Studying and working with tourism, however, is much of a different thing than the actual traveling. It is nonetheless the spirit of the tourism industry that I have learned to appreciate.

Your experiences of practical training? I did my practical training in Malta after searching for a work place among many travel agencies. If you like to do your practical training abroad I recommend you start looking for a place from three to four months ahead. I think people in Malta work much more than we do in Finland and the hourly pay is only a half of what we get here. I have also worked in Ireland as a hostel manager. The days were long and the job was exhausting. Still I think all the differences between Finland and foreign countries make practical training a valuable and mind-opening experience.

Your opinion of the degree programme? The most interesting course was Philosophy of Entrepreneurship, which really made me think about things in new ways. I also liked projects made in cooperation with travel companies.

The best memories of the studies? The first year´s camp for tutors. I have never seen people become so close friends as fast as during those two days. Of course my time as an exchange student in Thailand is a dear memory as well.

Your plans for the future? I want to become as good as I can in this job I do at the moment. Maybe someday it would be interesting to study something more, for example cultural aspects of tourism. Any way it turns out, it is good to know that I’m in the right field!