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Laurea’s and Haaga-Helia’s joint trade fair project provided students with valuable experience

The future tourism experts gained real-life experience at the Matka Nordic Travel Fair 2019. The students of Bachelor of Hospitality Management at Laurea and Haaga-Helia designed a stand for the travel fair for the first time last year.

Laurea’s and Haaga-Helia’s hospitality management students designed and implemented a joint stand themed Taking You to New Heights – The Future of Tourism for the Matka Nordic Travel Fair 2019 in January. Laurea’s third-year students Anastasija Suomalainen and Olivia Eklund were happy with the progress and outcome of the project.

- The cooperation with Haaga-Helia went really well. Although our team had students from three different campuses, we met frequently and everyone performed their tasks as planned, the students praise the cooperation.

Smooth teamwork

In order to ensure smoother progress of the project, the students were divided into teams with designated areas of responsibility. Anastasija and Olivia were members of the team responsible for creating the event’s visual appearance and building the fair stand.

Marjaana Salomaa, Senior Lecturer of tourism at Laurea, was the leader of the HR team. She also participated in last year’s project and is satisfied with how the learning experiences from last year were taken to heart.

- Of course, we sort of start from scratch each time since the situation is new for the students. However, the experience we gained from previous projects makes planning easier, she says.

Kaija Meriläinen, Senior Lecturer of event organisation, agrees.

- This year, we had a joint stand with Haaga-Helia for the second time. Now that we knew what we needed for the stand, it was much easier to make it happen, says Meriläinen, who led the Alumni and partners team.

Both the students and the lecturers agree that digitalisation made the internal communication in the project considerably easier. In addition to meeting face-to-face, team members communicated with each other through WhatsApp messages and shared the materials they produced in a cloud service.

- Internal communication in our team was smooth. However, I would have wanted more updates on how the other teams were doing and what they had accomplished, Anastasija says, listing potential areas of improvement.
- We had very few meetings with the entire project group. Although all materials were shared in the cloud, it would still have been nice to be able to discuss them with the other teams. 

Valuable workplace skills

Both Anastasija and Olivia say the fair project taught them a lot, and they specifically praise the project-focused education provided by Laurea.

- My studies have enabled me to participate in a number of interesting projects, which has helped me gain a lot of work experience. Thanks to the experience gained through Laurea, I just landed a good placement position, too, Olivia says.

- This project taught me a lot about organising a large event like this. This experience will be useful in my placement as an event organiser, Anastasija says.