Marching in the Capital Pride parade, showcasing Finnish food and collecting new experiences around the U.S. – Anni's internship at the Embassy's Cultural Team was full of excitement.
When I applied for the internship in the cultural team of the Embassy of Finland in Washington D.C., I knew for sure that this was the internship I wanted to get. First, I thought I had no chances to get the place, and when I was accepted, I couldn’t have been happier. Even though my studies with tourism and event management closely relate to cultural affairs and I have previous work experience from abroad, I did not know exactly what to expect from the internship. I had never visited the U.S., never worked in an office nor stepped my foot into an embassy.
I had of course seen a lot of American culture via movies and TV series, but many of the small things in everyday life took some time to get used to. Grocery stores were probably my biggest adventure in the beginning. The first weeks I felt like I was in a movie set while walking the streets. One morning I took a new route to work, got confused with the streets and ended up outside the Obamas' house, which made me feel even more surreal.
At work, I have had the chance to participate in so many different events and projects. The best part of the work has been the chance to work so closely with two teams: culture and communication. Each day has been different and tasks have varied from updating social media and correspondence to visiting a local school and showcasing Finnish foods for the naval attachés at the Embassy of New Zealand. Other memorable experiences have been marching in the Capital Pride parade with Nordic Embassies accompanied by a huge Nordic Viking boat float, organizing an open house day at the Embassy for over 3 000 visitors, and visiting the White House.
Even though my internship has been full of interesting events and tasks, my five months haven’t been all work. Summer in D.C. is very hot and humid, as everyone keeps saying, but it is also full of outdoor concerts and movies, parades, various events and free museums. I also had a chance to visit eight states and Mexico during my internship, and after finishing my work in D.C., I will make my way to the West Coast and explore California.
Text by: Anni Pynnönen, Cultural Affairs Intern