Internships Help Support Adventure Education Skills

Sampsa Vähä-Karvia is a third-year Adventure and Outdoor Education (Community Educator, Bachelor of Humanities) student. Humak’s adventure education studies include three internships, Sampsa feels that the internships have supported his studies by deepening existing skills and gaining entirely new ones through practical work experience.

Before starting his studies at Humak, Sampsa had studied to be a wilderness guide. The international bachelor’s degree in adventure education sounded like a great way to further develop skills in Sampsa’s chosen field, as adventure education studies provide pedagogical group leadership and community education skills that can be utilized in working life.

Practice Combined With Theory

“Working as a wilderness guide was great. In the end, however, I wanted something new and interesting that would deepen my knowledge in the field. I had long been interested in teaching and pedagogical studies. Adventure and Outdoor Education combined the pedagogical side with practical studies, and that’s why I decided to apply for the degree programme”, Sampsa says.

Adventure and Outdoor Education combines community pedagogy with practice. A part of the studies are carried out in authentic environments across the Nordic countries, through which students can practice, for example, safety skills, leadership, group guidance and skills like mountain climbing, kayaking and wilderness hiking. The studies include three internships, Sampsa feels that the internships have given him a lot of new experiences and skills.

A tent and camping supplies on top of a mountain
View from on top of a mountain in Lofoten. Photo: Hanna Solja

New Experiences From Internships

Sampsa was looking for internships that and offered opportunities for professional development and the learning of new skills. A good internship supports studies by expanding the intern’s understanding of the field through hands-on experience. Sampsa feels that internships have played a key role as in-depth learning experiences.

“When looking for an internship, the most important thing was that the internship offered new experiences and opportunities to learn new things. In my first year of study, I was training at the Haltia Nature Center in Nuuksio, where I was involved in directing nature school days for visiting school classes. Responsibility at work gradually increased with experience, in the beginning I acted as an assistant instructor and in the final stages of the internship I supervised nature school days independently.”

Sampsa’s second internship period was completed in Plan International Finland, where environmental education-focused trips for people with an immigrant background were planned. The internship included planning and guiding trips into nature. Sampsa was also involved in the organization’s development planning activities with the help of participant feedback.

“Self-confidence in my own professional skills has improved significantly with internships. Belief in your own skills grows when the internship gives the trainee responsibility, and they get to see for themselves how well they function in working with professionals in the field. A positive internship experience is a confirmation that you are going in the right direction in your chosen field”, Sampsa sums up.

A man using a portable cooker on top of a hill in Norway overlooking a city.
Cooking during an excursion in Norway. Picture: Hanna Solja

The Importance of Work Communities is Emphasised in Internships

Group leadership skills are important in adventure education and guide work. That’s why Sampsa chose the Anjala Youth Center in Kouvola as the place for his third internship. Sampsa planned nature school days and guided youth groups at the youth center.

“Guidance work with children and young people is very different from instructing adults, for which I already had previous experience. More thought had to be given to how things should be expressed and how the group’s attention could be captured. During the internship I gained new perspectives on group guidance. It was interesting to see how my own leadership skills developed”, Sampsa ponders.

A well-functioning work community is of great importance for one’s own comfort and the functioning of the work community. The internships have given Sampsa a new perspective on how work communities function.

“When things are well organized and thought out, it makes it easier to do your own work. All internships have been excellent in this regard. The intern has been given responsibility and treated as an equal member of the team. I hope that this type of study will be included more in all fields of study in the future. Learning in practice has been great.”

The joint application period for Adventure and Outdoor Education 210 ECTS (Community Educator, Bachelor of Science) starts in January 2021. You can find out more about the education on Humak’s English-language website and you can apply for studies on the studyinfo website.

Banneri Adventure and Outdoor Education ilmoittautumissivulle. Sisältää neljä kuvaa: kanootti tyynellä järvellä, kolme hiihtäjää vetävät varusteita perässään, ryhmä opiskelijoita kalliokiipeilemässä, ryhmä hiihtäjiä peräkkäin vuoren edustalla.