Meet Joel – our summer trainee

Joel Taskinen, a fresh graduate from the Kimpinen High School in Lappeenranta Finland, joined the CBC-team in May 2020 for two months traineeship. From the day one, Joel has been a great supporter to the Managing Authority and Branch Office personnel, and a good fit to our team with his pleasant personality. Together we managed well, even Covid-19 restrictions have been keeping our whole team mainly in remote work for the last months. We’ve been inspired to offer Joel an insights for Cross-Border Cooperation between Finland and Russia, and the European Union, as well as to the collaboration with our colleagues in Karelia CBC Programme. Read Joel’s thoughts and experiences from his own pen.


My summer traineeship – an exciting world of CBC 

When I first heard about this job in April, I was quite clueless as to what this South-East Finland – Russia CBC Programme was. I glanced the website before starting my traineeship, but I was still stepping into a pretty much unknown at the first morning. I was very excited to start, as this was my first proper job and would give me some very important experience. I also didn’t fully know what type of work to expect, except for what I had heard from my interviews, which was writing notes from meetings, translating stuff into English and so on. All the people here have been extremely friendly, supportive and understanding as well. They’ve made me feel very welcome and the atmosphere has been very easy-going since the start.  

After working for a while, it is getting to the stage where I am getting a little sad that I have to leave soon, such has been the experience. This job has more than exceeded my expectations. The tasks that I have been given have been very interesting and different to one another, varying from archiving paper documents to collecting data for diagrams and sitting next to the regional mayor in a meeting. So there hasn’t been many days that have been the same, which is great because it has been one of the things why I have been so motivated with my work and why the time here has absolutely flown by. I feel very fortunate to have gotten this job and to have met these people here. The experience that I have gained from this is priceless. After a while I have got to know more and more about this programme and it is great for the future that I have now gotten an inside view of how these sort of cross-border cooperation programmes operate. 

I also have a fellow trainee, Nuutti Ruokangas, who is currently working in the Karelia CBC-programme, managed in Oulu. Our traineeships have obviously had somewhat of a different structure. For example, my work has been a bit more office-heavy than Nuutti’s, who has been working from home quite a bit. Nuutti’s work has also included updating their programs social media, which I haven’t been doing. But of course, there is some similarities as well: We have both been fortunate to get experience from online-meetings, data searching and translating for example. One combining factor has also been the diversity of the tasks, which is one that we both have really enjoyed in our traineeships. We both also believe that these summer traineeships have and will teach us a lot and give us some important experience for the future.  

Joel Taskinen