Philippos's research internship experience at FEM

Philippos Gioukakis, a BSc student from the University of Piraeus, Greece, visited FEM group as an ERASMUS+ trainee for four months in September 2019 – January 2020. Having now travelled back home, he kindly wrote us about his internship experience.

My personal experience at Fisheries and Environmental Management (FEM) Research Group

I first visited Helsinki in September 2019, to conduct a four-month internship at FEM research group via an Erasmus Placement exchange programme. During my first weeks, I spent much time at Viikki Campus, to attend an intensive course concerning Probabilistic Decision Analysis in environmental management. At the same time, I had the opportunity to meet new people from the research group and study about the different projects they were working on.

What I found very fascinating and interesting is the work of COMPLETE Project, which aims to manage and reduce the risk of invasive species introduced via shipping. I studied many materials for a pressing issue that I have never heard before, concerning invasive alien species, and saw how this problem is being managed in the Baltic Sea Region. I was able to participate to the project, by examining the legal framework that European Union has established for invasive alien species and how is it implemented in Baltic. I also had the chance to review more broad literature, which helped me acquire basic knowledge relevant to other scopes of the problem.

I truly believe that, FEM research group is an excellent environment to work and study. From my first day at Viikki campus, I had all the guidance and help I needed to feel comfortable and confident with the student life in a completely new city. The working environment at the research group was very friendly and approachable and my supervisor along with the rest of the people from FEM research group made my stay in Helsinki a lot easier, by helping me out with every-day problems I may have had. Being able to participate in some of the research group’s meetings, was a very exciting experience for me.

The last four months, were very constructive for me. I learnt how Bayesian Networks can be used in environmental management and decision analysis. Furthermore, I experienced by firsthand how an interdisciplinary research group works, trying to combine knowledge from different disciplines. The most valuable lesson from my internship was to learn how to work at an international environment. I know that all the experience I gained during my internship will help me in the future with my academic - career choices and with me being able to cope with difficult situations in different environments.

Overall, I am very happy with my decision, concerning my exchange programme in Helsinki and satisfied with the hosting from the FEM research group and the University in general.