Interview with TourCIM alumna Heli about career plans after graduation

What are the opportunities after graduation? What do I want to do? When do I have to make this decision? As a second-year student in the last semester before graduation, I know these questions and the pressure behind them very well. I spoke to Heli, a TourCIM alumna, and interviewed her about how her master’s studies at the University of Lapland shaped her path.

Photo: Heli

First of all, what are you doing right now?

Heli: I just started doing a PHD at the University of Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. I’m studying children-nature relationships in tourism and how to promote childrens’ access and engagement with nature in the tourism context. It’s a posthumanist, child-centered and rights-based perspective on research, so the children will be actively involved. They’re going to be my co-researchers.

Was that something you have always wanted to do after your studies?

Heli: I never thought that I would be researching children. I think it was the second week when I started my Master’s degree at the [University of Lapland] that it “clicked” that I wanted to do a PHD – so that I was sure of. But I didn’t know yet what I wanted to study, that is something that happened after I did my Master’s degree, because I researched children-nature relationships in that one, too.

Have you been interested in research before your studies already?

Heli: I did my Bachelor’s at a University of Applied Sciences so the scientific work was a bit daunting. I was afraid of research and now, looking back, it’s a bit silly that I was because it is something that you learn by doing and the more you do it, the more you learn. And I really enjoyed doing my Master’s thesis, I was excited about every part of it. 

Do you have any tips for students regarding their path after graduation?

Heli: Don’t worry about it too much – especially in the beginning of your studies. It’s great if you have something in mind that you want to do and you can go for it, but life is life and things change and you might end up somewhere where you didn’t think you’d end up. Think what you’re really interested in and what you’re really good at and what are your strenghts. ‘Cause I don’t believe in working for the sake of working or having a stressful career. Just find something what you like and don’t worry about it too much, ‘cause I’m sure it will come to you, too.


The author of the blog, Vanessa, is studying Tourism, Culture & International Management at the University of Lapland. @tourcim


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