Summer internship in Finland: research experience, great work-life balance, and dips in the sea

Three master’s students from Paris spent their summer in Helsinki working as research interns. Aalto University has a long history together with Télecom Paris, one of the best European institutions in machine learning.
Luc Motte, Antoine Moulin and Jane Douat
Luc Motte, Antoine Moulin and Jane Douat came from Paris to Finland to do their research internship. Photo Matti Ahlgren / Aalto University

A research internship abroad comes with many benefits, both professionally and personally. Jane Douat, Luc Motte and Antoine Moulin from Télecom Paris – one of the world’s best institutions teaching computer science – spent their summer at Aalto University doing a research internship.

Moulin, Douat, and Motte have all studied applied mathematics and machine learning, among other subjects. Moulin and Douat have one year of their master’s studies left, whereas Motte will graduate after his final internship, two months of which he did at Aalto.

During the summer, Moulin and Motte worked on algorithms, trying to understand how existing algorithms work and how to improve them. Douat worked on two different research projects. In both of them, experiments were designed to test how existing methods work on datasets and the results of these experiments were compared to those achieved by using more common methods.

Aalto has a long history together with Télecom Paris and with the research group of  Professor Florence D’ Alché-Buc in particular, says Professor Juho Rousu who supervised all three interns this summer. Students at Télecom can come to study or do their internship or master’s thesis at Aalto, and similarly, students at Aalto can do a part of their studies at Télecom.

In the best-case scenario, even doctoral studies in which the doctoral student has one supervisor at both universities are an option. Motte’s research was supervised by both Rousu and D’ Alché-Buc and their aim is to continue his work in doctoral studies. Both professors will work as Motte’s supervisors.

‘Télecom is one of the best European institutions in machine learning. Collaboration with top-level partners is a win-win situation to both parties. Together we can conduct research of higher quality,’ says Rousu.

Enriching experiences

Télecom is an interesting exchange destination to Aalto computer science students. Antoine Moulin says that at Télecom, students can study computer science and applied mathematics, but the course catalogue covers also other subjects, such as economy, philosophy, and even personal development. ‘It’s not only about studying computer science but there’s also a possibility to earn some broader knowledge.’

According to him, Télecom is a very international institution where exchange students can meet people from all around the world. Students can take part in many extracurricular activities, such as French or English theatre, a music association, and associations focusing on sustainable development or entrepreneurship.

Changing environment from Paris to Helsinki was an enriching experience to Moulin as it allowed him to learn a new culture and a new city as well as to improve his English skills. ‘Personally, I learned a lot because this was my first research experience and also my first international experience.’

Luc Motte and Jane Douat were happy with the good working conditions and the fact that everything was well organized and worked out as promised. ‘There’s a great work-life balance. It seems important in Finnish companies, in general, to take care of employees,’ says Douat.

Thanks to the balance between work and personal life, the three research interns found time to enjoy the summer months as well. They all liked the nature and water that is present ‘everywhere.’ One of the most memorable events was Kallio Block Party, a free music festival organized every August in the streets of the vibrant Kallio area in Helsinki. ‘I also loved saunas and jumping into the sea’ adds Douat.

Interested in studying abroad? Find more information about on exchange studies here.

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