Belgian intern involved in revising cocoa supply chain


Belgian intern Tom François will stay at Hämeenlinna for the spring semester to be involved with revising the cocoa supply chain for Kultasuklaa.

Who are you and how did you wind up in Hämeenlinna?

I’m Tom François, 23 years and from Belgium. I am in my 3th and last year of my professional bachelor in Supply Chain Management. Doing my internship abroad was already a wish when I first started my bachelor. When I filled in my application, I had no idea what the destination would be. Of course, you could give your top 3 destinations, and I’m glad I got my first choice, Finland! It’s a country I was always interested in. I was always intrigued by the cold weather, the snow and the beautiful nature, which you find just everywhere in Finland!

I really wanted to bring my own car to Finland, because I like my freedom and not depending on public transport. So I drove from Belgium to Germany, where I took the ferry to Helsinki. So it was already an adventure to get in Finland. Luckily the main roads in Finland are clear, and driving in the snow isn’t as difficult as I feared. After a 1-hour drive, I got to Hämeenlinna. It’s a small, cosy city, but has a lot of shops, restaurants, bars, and even a shopping centre. My apartment is right in the city centre of Hämeenlinna. It’s a small cosy place, but it is fully equipped with furniture and appliances.

What is your internship about?

I’m doing my internship at Häme University of Applied Sciences for the company Kultasuklaa, which is a small chocolate factory in Hämeenlinna. The company is growing, so there’s a need to revise the supply chain. This project is very challenging, but that’s why I find it so interesting. I now am trying to understand how the company works, the collaborations with other companies and the tasks of HAMK and Cape Coast University, Ghana, in this project. Because this is my first relevant work experience, I hope to use my knowledge of the past 3 years, and to learn the practice when I’m going along in this project.

After the quarantine, I went to the Aulanko Nature Reserve for a hike in the snow. It’s a very beautiful park especially in the winter with all the snow. There’s also a 150 m high viewing point with a view on a frozen lake, surrounded with snow covered trees, which is really beautiful. I also went to the capital city of Finland, Helsinki. It’s a beautiful city with the different cathedrals, the port, the old market… I also hope to go to Lapland during my exchange and see reindeers and huskies and maybe go on a sleigh ride. But first, let’s start to work!

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