Dear students and members of ELSA,
My name is Alejandro Polo Navarro, I am 24 years old and I have just finished my studies on European Law. As you might have noticed by my name, “en ole suomalainen”. Indeed, I am a young Spanish lawyer, currently in Vaasa, spending the last days of a memorable period of four months as a trainee in the company Wärtsilä Finland oy. The reason why I am writing this post is because I want to share with you how the ELSA association, which just a few months ago was absolutely unknown to me, changed my short-term life radically.
My passion since childhood has always been traveling and discovering new places, as different as possible compared to the small town where I used to live. Furthermore, I did not want to travel as a simple tourist, but to live in the country, to be a citizen of it and to absorb its way of living. That is why, once I started my law studies, I took every opportunity to travel through different student exchange programs.
Towards the end of my studies, my main concern was how to find appropriate traineeships abroad in order to gain international professional experience. While student programs in foreign countries are always easy to find, it is not the same thing when looking for a traineeship in law. I feared not being able to find anything. It was at that point when I discovered ELSA. I quickly realized that, given the genuinely international character of this association, being part of ELSA was exactly what I needed to boost my vocation. Now, eleven months after that moment, I can confirm that I did the right decision.
From my own experience, the STEP programme has been the most effective platform to find good and constructive traineeships in law abroad. There were many offers and the application process was very simple: choosing the country desired in Europe or America and then selecting among the different opportunities within the companies/institutions in the selected country. In just a few clicks I had done my application, and after a few weeks ELSA pleasantly surprised me and confirmed that I had been accepted to start a traineeship at Wärtsilä in Finland, and also in another company in Greece!
The travel from Spain was extremely easy: I was contacted by the local division of ELSA (i.e. ELSA Helsinki) very soon, and they quickly took part and helped me in my trip, arrival, first contact with Wärtsilä and many other administrative issues. I did not even need to look for an apartment, since they already offered me one. In no time during these four months I felt alone. I am therefore deeply grateful to the whole ELSA Helsinki organization, and very especially to Milla Favén, Johanna Kauppinen and Mari Pesola, who I now consider as my friends.
That is how I got to Vaasa, a town which in a few days I will leave in order to move to Greece and from where I will always keep a special affection for its people, its streets and surrounding landscapes. Every time when I will remember Finland, Vaasa will come to my mind, and it will be with a smile in my face. THANK YOU ELSA.
STEP Trainee at Wärtsilä, Finland