ELSA member Getter Paberits participated in
Student Trainee Exchange Programme at F-Secure. She writes about her experiences at our blog.

ELSA STEP traineeship at F-Secure

One November afternoon I accidentally happened to see an advertisement for ELSA STEP traineeships and I thought I will just quickly skip through these to see what offers they have. Since I was too busy writing my master’s thesis, I wasn’t really interested in causing any extra hassle or stress in my life. But when I noticed there was one too-good-to-be-true traineeship in an international cyber security company, I knew that this is it and I need to give more than 100% of myself to be the one starting on the legal counsel trainee position in F-Secure Corporation in April. And when in the end of January, while drinking tea in the airport in Germany, I saw a call coming in from Finland my heart basically stopped beating. It was time for the adventure to begin!

So far these 7 months have been super productive and awesome. I have understood that working as an in-house lawyer in a big international tech company requires that you have a good knowledge not only of at least 10 different fields of law, but as well of international business, software development, cyber security, cultural differences, negotiations, human psychology and some basic knowledge of engineering. And how do they do that? You just have to love what you do and understand the meaning behind it.

Every day is different and brings all kinds of challenges, whether it is understanding very specific EU legislation you have never heard of before, drafting an agreement for a deal worth more than the money you have ever had on your bank account or optimistically negotiating something you have actually no faith in. And the feeling after you have managed to do something that in the beginning seemed absolutely impossible is indescribable!

At work I feel a lot of support every single day. I feel that the legal team believes in me and trusts me tasks I personally would sometimes not dare to. This gives me lots of motivation, belief in myself and opportunities to grow. I am very well supervised and everybody finds even during the busiest times half an hour to have a short meeting with me to check together what I have done so far. I am so grateful I cannot express it in words!

ELSA STEP is not only about the professional experience, but also about experiencing life in a foreign country. Since I only crossed 85 km of water, there was no cultural shock. I am used to not smiling to or speaking to strangers and sitting in the tram with poker face. Feels like home! On the other hand, Helsinki and Finland have still offered so much to me. I have learnt how friendly, caring and beautiful souls are actually hidden inside Finns. I am lucky since my traineeship period has covered so important events as Vappu and Juhannus. Also, I cannot wait to celebrate 100 years of independence in December.

I have spent basically every free moment exploring – the lakes in Järvi-Suomi, reindeers and ruska in Lapland, bars and local beers in Kallio, stores in the design district, chanterelles in Nuuksio, history in Suomenlinna, vegan options in Hesburger, the endlessness of Keskuspuisto, shopping malls in Espoo and Vantaa, cycling lanes everywhere in Helsinki, beauty of wooden houses in Porvoo and galleries in Kaapelitehdas. My heart is full of amazing memories that I will carry with myself wherever the future takes me.

I was positively surprised by the support of ELSA Helsinki. My expectation was that I have an e-mail address where to send a desperate message if something goes very wrong. The reality is that I got long e-mails describing the life and all the bureaucracy in Helsinki and also answers to all my questions. I had a warm welcoming and I still get invitations to events I should not miss to get the most out of my Helsinki experience. We meet regularly to discuss over a coffee how things are going and I have no chance to feel lonely because I have made good local friends. And, you know, you kind of feel like a star when you go to a local ELSA event and people approach you by “You must be Getter!”. My special kiitti goes to the sweetest Finnish girls – Mari, Netta, Milja and Janna!

I am also lucky that my traineeship is lasting so long. Even though I first applied just for 4 months, we agreed that I will actually stay for 9 months. But now, 2 months before the end, I got wonderful news that my contract will be extended for another 6 months. I feel like the happiest person on earth and my expectations are high. I am pretty sure that these months will turn out at least as amazing as the previous ones. So, my dear Helsinki, please do not disappoint me!

Getter Paberits
Step trainee at F-Secure, Helsinki

Learn more about STEP!