As my 5 month long internship in the Cultural Affairs team is coming to an end and I am gathering my thoughts about what I have been part of since I came here in August, it is almost breathtaking. Even though I have lived abroad before and have visited United States as a tourist this internship gave me a deeper knowledge of American cultural life, society and norms.
As event planning is a big part of my studies, I could say that I picked the right city for completing my degree. Not only is D.C. a gold mine for an event planner, this is also a city where you can find yourself participating in an event every day of the week. Finland's Centennial celebration provided a chance for our team to make even the wildest ideas to happen.
Part of the work in the Cultural Affairs team is establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with community organizations. In other words our job is to plan and organize a wide variety of cultural events in the city of Washington. Cultural Affairs cooperates with organizations and we host events using our own Embassy building as well as other places in D.C. to promote Finland and its values.
Procurement and distribution of information material for the Embassy and its events is part of the job description. Part of the job was also writing and photographing stories for the Embassy's website and social media together with the Communications intern. We had a chance to develop our own projects, design events and social media material together.
I could say that I was extremely lucky to experiment three different seasons during my internship. The summer weather was still at its best when I arrived. I remember walking to my first day at work in a sharp suit and in the middle of the walk I was extremely thankful of my choice to wear a top under the jacket compared to a white-collar option.
In the late autumn months, I followed the process of leaves turning various shades of red and enjoyed the holidays very important to Americans, such as Halloween and Thanksgiving. The cold winter got to me as my internship started to come to an end and while the whole city was struggling and sad of the cold freezing weather, I felt kind of cozy. It made me even miss the homeland.
At the same pace with the weather changes, I changed my location on my free time by visiting different places. Working in the Cultural Affairs team gave me also flexibility to work sometimes on the evenings and weekends. The good thing about that were the days off which I passionately used for going on the trips. In half a year I was able to check out 10 out of 50 states of America. Pretty nice, huh?
This experience opened my mind to an idea about working in America and I am going to summarize all of this by using a famous saying by Arnold Schwarzenegger: "I'll be back".
Blog by: Ilona Huovinen, Cultural Affairs intern.