My Finternship is a great example how impulsive decisions lead to great things. In the early months of 2016, I was a fifth year law student at the University of Helsinki starting my thesis and looking forward to finalizing my studies. Then I saw an internship ad that caught my attention. Applying for a 'sounds-kinda-awesome-but-I-bet-I-don't-stand-a-chance' internship at the last minute was definitely something I did not regret.
My name is Kitta Kangas and I'm a CIMO intern at the Embassy of Finland in Washington D.C. CIMO (The Centre for International Mobility) is a Finnish organization that provides international internship opportunities for Finnish higher education students and recent graduates. Internships are offered all over the world and they usually run for 3 to 6 months. The best part? They come with a CIMO grant, so you don't have to declare a bankruptcy after living in a fascinating but expensive city like Washington. At the beginning of 2017, CIMO and the Finnish National Board of Education merged and now go by the name Finnish National Agency for Education.
I'm part of the External Economic Affairs team. My job is to write reports and do research on topics related to trade, energy and environment, to name a few. I also attend seminars and meetings and report back on those. All of the interns also help organize events at the embassy.
Since studying is very affordable in Finland, I have been able to do quite a few internships home and abroad and they have all been very valuable. Still, my 6 month internship at the embassy has been hands down the best ever! I've learned so much and gotten to know many wonderful people. Work at the embassy is sometimes challenging but rewarding since you get feedback from your colleagues. Other interns have become great friends, and they help you fill up your calendar with happy hours, museum visits and other trips. Thousands of interns work in D.C and many international parties are arranged every weekend.
International is just another adjective for describing D.C. The city is a hub for international organizations and embassies from all over the world. The atmosphere is busy and ambitious, and I feel very privileged to be here. But D.C is no concrete jungle. For a capitol it's actually very green and homey and has a bunch of different neighborhoods with their own atmosphere. Seeing the famous sights, like the White House and the Washington monument on my way to work still feels a little surreal. Am I really here? I would definitely encourage everyone to go do an internship (or two) abroad and Washington is a great place to start!
Text: Kitta Kangas