Have you wondered what our interns are up to in Washington D.C.? Kaisu Karvonen shared her thoughts on our blog after completing her internship at the Embassy's Political Affairs team.
I have always been more of a pessimist, so when I applied for this internship I was so sure I’m never going to actually get it. Then when the interview came, I rationalized it would be at least good practice even if nothing came out of it. I didn’t really realize how much I wanted the job until I got it. So somewhat as a surprise to even myself, in late March I packed my bags and traveled to the US for the first time to work as the Political Affairs intern for the next three months.
When it comes to internships in different Finnish Embassies around the world, I’d say this is one of the best ones. As a student of International relations, D.C. was a perfect fit. The United States is globally involved in various many areas, which meant that during my internship I got to attend all kinds of events and think-tank talks covering a range of subjects from cybersecurity to Middle East issues and so much more.
In addition to these more “official” tasks as an intern, my routines got a change for instance when I got to paint Finnish flags on people’s faces during an EU Open House Day, an annual public event where over 3000 people visited the Finnish Embassy. I also took part in the Capital Pride Parade along with the Nordic Ambassadors and staff from other Nordic Embassies.
Even though the everyday life here didn’t differ that much from Finland, there were still some surprises. Having to actually use small talk was quite strange to me at first but even that got easier after the initial “culture shock”. After the first month or two, the bigger surprises didn’t come so much from the US side, but from for instance seeing a Finnish yard game called Mölkky just sitting on a shelf in a local department store, or at a think-tank event when I ran into a Latvian friend whom I got to know while studying in France for one semester.
My three-month long internship period was perhaps the most optimal time to be in D.C. I arrived at the beginning of April, so I got to see the best of springtime with the cherry blossoms, and as summer arrived I got to experience the summer feeling and heat without the dreaded humidity hitting later in the summer. As I got back to Finland in early July, I got to enjoy a few good Finnish summer days before returning to my studies in the fall.
Text by: Kaisu Karvonen, Political Affairs Intern