At the end of April, Max Schneider and a friend of his packed up the car and embarked on a road trip from southern Germany to Finland, a journey of more than 2,400 kilometres. Their destination was Versowood’s Vierumäki Sawmill, where a three-month-long internship awaited Max.

This was not your typical summer job, however. Max, a wood technology engineering student at DHBW Mosbach, wanted to voluntarily expand his knowledge of wood procurement and wood raw material, while at the same time improving his English language skills.

“There is a wood-processing company in my family, but I wanted to do an internship in the largest possible family-owned company. I wanted to get the most out of the experience for my future career, and I don’t think a major corporation would have been able to offer me as much,” explains Max.

During their first weekend in Finland, they got a flat tyre, so their first contact with Finnish day-to-day life began with a search for a tyre dealer. After a brief visit, Max’s friend returned to Germany, and Max started working at Versowood.


Big picture of the industry

In spring and summer, Max visited the Hankasalmi, Vierumäki, Heinola, Hartola and Riihimäki units, and he worked in the office, in sawmill production, at the pellet mill, in reel manufacturing and in wood procurement.

“I learned so much, for instance, about sawn timber grades and standards. I even got to perform quality testing at the glulam plant,” says Max.

His most memorable experience, however, was the tree harvesting. Sitting in the harvester, watching as the trees were logged made a lasting impression on the young man.

“Wood procurement was not really taught to us in school at all, so it was all new to me. It’s amazing the way the harvester grabs hold of a massive tree as though it were nothing more than a matchstick. I just had to take a video of it.”

Finland from many angles

During his time in Finland, Max gained not only work experience, but also many new friendships and endless memories. Along with city touring and spending a weekend at a spa in Heinola with his girlfriend, the visitor from Germany also had time to enjoy the great outdoors.

“Finnish nature, with its forests and lakes, is impressive. Where I live, most lakes are man-made,” he says.

Max’s family also had the chance to experience Finland’s lakes and sauna when they visited him in June. He told his familyto pack all their clothes, but the weather was unexpectedly warm.

“My family fell in love with Finland and they wondered, why go to Spain when it’s so warm here! The day after they left, it was freezing cold,” he says with a laugh.

Max heads back to Germany at the end of July, and in the autumn, he will start his last year at DHBW Mosbach, the equivalent of a Finnish university of applied sciences. Upon graduation, a career in a family company awaits him.

“Was coming to Finland worth it? Most definitely. In addition to everything I learned while on the job, one thing I will never forget is how Helsinki looks on a regular weekday, and how it looks when Finland wins the world ice hockey championships!”

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