Our Political Affairs Intern, Tomi, has completed his three-month internship at our Embassy. In this blog, he details the highlights of his time in Washington DC.
Do you know the feeling when you finally arrive at a place you have only seen before in movies and TV series? Suddenly you literally walk on those streets and see all the iconic buildings previously felt only via TV screen or newspaper. For some, these are cities like New York or Paris and monuments like Times Square and Eiffel Tower. For me, this place was Washington, DC.
Most of us (at least Finnish people) have probably never visited DC, since it's not perhaps as traditional a vacation destination as New York or Miami. However, I would argue, that most of us have seen the streets of DC or the mythical White House from different types of media. Therefore, we do have some sort of an image of the capital of the US in our heads. But when you literally stand in the same place as Forrest Gump at the Reflecting Pool or walk in front of the Capitol where House of Cards takes place, everything turns into reality.
My (f)internship began just after New Year. For someone who has been dreaming since junior high of being a diplomat someday, this possibility was really "a dream come true" moment. However, it was a hard landing. But only in the literal sense, since there was quite a snowstorm on 4th of January when the wheels of the aircraft hit the surface of Dulles Airport. At the Embassy it has been great since day one! I was warmly welcomed by all my colleagues and maybe even more importantly not treated "only" as an "intern" but as a colleague from the beginning.
At the Embassy of Finland I have been working as a Political Affairs intern — less surprisingly — in the political section. My duties have varied greatly, which has been truly intriguing. Probably the most time-consuming task has been reporting to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Helsinki on different topics. And as you all probably realize, there is quite a lot of reporting to do because so much happens every week and almost every day. No boring days!
For a Political History graduate student working in the capital of world politics has been a tremendous experience. You could spend days and weeks in think tanks, congressional hearings, different briefings and other events. On the other hand, it has been actually quite difficult to try to choose only a few where to attend, when there are so many possibilities. It is like being in a candy shop with all your favorite candies, but you are allowed to pick only a couple of them — not fair!
Like all things, my internship in DC is coming to an end soon. It's time to leave the United States, hopefully not forever, and return to Finland to finish the last year of my master's studies. But who knows? Maybe someday after graduating I will be returning here — as a career diplomat or in some other capacity.
Text: Tomi Majuri, Political Affairs Intern