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The best part of working at Luke is meeting colleagues from various fields and cultures

Mariyana Todorova moved to Finland from Bulgaria because of her interest in Finnish language and culture, and to pursue a master’s degree. Mariyana was drawn to Luke for the organization’s meaningful work, but also its friendliness and inclusiveness to international employees.

Photo: Mariyana Todorova's home album.

During the spring and summer of 2022, Mariyana worked as an HR-trainee at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). Mariyana has graduated from the master’s programme in Intercultural Encounters at the University of Helsinki. Her background is in communications and international matters, and her traineeship with Luke was the first HR-traineeship of hers.

How did you come to apply to Luke?

To be honest I did not know what Luke was before seeing the job advert. The organization is so big and diverse that it took me some time to grasp what Luke is doing and how big its impact is both in Finland and internationally. The position as an HR-trainee at Luke was a perfect match because I have always been interested in interpersonal communication, internationalization, and developing employer image. Moreover, I was pursuing a job in which I would be doing something meaningful and important.

What kind of work tasks did you do?

My main tasks were to help organizing community building events and webinars, to improve Luke’s internal communication channels, to make surveys and to take part in orientation events. Moreover, my task simply was to serve as a fresh pair of eyes and ears which notice both what works well and what could be improved. 

It was very rewarding to have the chance to support Luke’s employees in their everyday tasks and thus be a part of a completely new and inspiring field. I was also very pleased that Luke has an Intercultural Community and that my tasks as an HR-trainee strongly related to supporting this community. 

The only necessary thing to become a Lukean is motivation, enthusiasm, and curiosity.

How was your experience as an international trainee?

Before the beginning of my traineeship, I was asked in which language I would prefer to work – English or Finnish. I really wanted to learn Finnish properly, so I performed almost all my tasks in Finnish. However, it is only my third strongest language, and I would have not been able to make it without the support of my team and colleagues. So big kiitos to them!

It was quite challenging but also very rewarding to overcome my insecurities and shyness to perform my tasks in Finnish. However, I heard that my grammar mistakes and funny way of saying things inspired some Finns to be braver and use more English at work. It was very important to me to demonstrate that one’s language skills don’t need to be perfect to be able to perform their job. 

The best part of my job was meeting colleagues from various fields and cultures. My understanding about Finland and Finnish culture also deepened because Luke operates all over the country. I think Luke is generally doing a good job in encouraging multilingualism and promoting internationalization.

Do you think the traineeship was beneficial for your future?

Firstly, Luke is very well-known and respected so having been a part of Luke looks great in the CV. Secondly, I got a chance to work in a completely new sphere which really developed and grew my competences and know-how.

I encourage everyone who is interested in doing meaningful work to apply. Luke is not a workplace just for those who study natural sciences, there are many different types of tasks in various fields. The only necessary thing to become a Lukean is motivation, enthusiasm, and curiosity.