Arcada University of Applied Sciences (FINLAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2023 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 341-348
ISBN: 978-84-09-55942-8
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2023.0141
Conference name: 16th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 13-15 November, 2023
Location: Seville, Spain
In recent years there has been a high growth in international students studying abroad. This has also led to an interest in the integration of international students into the host country. (see Chai, 2020;; Cubillo et al, 2006; Zhou et al, 2008; Nilsson, 2019) Further the aim for many countries has been to increase the number of international students. The Finish government, under the lead of prime minister Sanna Marin, has set a goal to triple the number of international students and further integrate them so that 75% stay in Finland after graduation. (Piironen, 2022) This urge for integration stems from two facts, international students pay for their tuition and therefore are interesting customers for the universities and universities of applied sciences as well as the fact that most industrialized countries have a decreasing population and need a qualified population growth. International students that have gained their degree in the host country are more likely to find a job as they already have experience of the host country's culture and a recognized degree. (Jing et al, 2020)

International talent that decide to study abroad do it with different intensions, some aim to stay in the host country while others only want to gain the education and then re-enter their home countries work-market. (Wadhwa, 2009) Some key factors for enabling the international talent to stay in the host country and contribute to the work-market is a successful integration process. Factors that can enable this integration are language skills, cultural understanding, length of stay and interaction with national students and work life. (Penman et al, 2021; Lee & Baily, 2020; Jing et al. 2020)
In this paper, we have looked into reports about international student integration, and we describe and assess our internship model for international business students (Hongell, 2019). We have started an internship model-process with the intension of helping international business students to integrate into the Finish work-market.

This development work is part of an Erasmus+ project, INTERLOCALITY, as well as a Lindstedt-fund funded project “from internship to integration”. The aim of this is to offer international business students a qualified 20- week internship at a local company. The internship is thought to offer the international student an insight into Finish work-life, work-place practices, a good reference on their CV and a work-network. The project started in the autumn of 2022 with the first organization and has since gained two more organizations. All in all, at the moment five students are doing their internship through the model. The model is continuous, where the previous intern during his/her last weeks trains the next intern (peer-to peer training). This allows the organization to have a trainee throughout the year and with low training costs.

The findings of the paper are reported in the form of interview results from the participating organizations as well as students. The project and this research are continuing during the next academic year.
Work-life integration, practical training, internship, higher education, future work life.