International Internship – You learn most about yourself

What do you get when you mix a communications student, a coronavirus pandemic and London? For Johanna Kiviniemi, it made for a memorable internship.

Johanna poseeraa Lontoon kadulla illalla

It feels like my internship in London was such a long time ago. Reality is that it finished just little over month ago. However, time is rapidly distorted during pandemic, when all days merge into one when studying remotely. Groundhog Day feelings were a familiar part of my internship because two of the four months I spent in London, were under strict pandemic rules.

On my last blog I gave you some tastes of how a global pandemic infected my plans of this internship. You can find that blog here. As a reminder, I did my study related internship at the Embassy of Finland in London from September to beginning of January.

London is a treasure chest. It is a world in a miniaturized. If you can’t find something there, then it won’t exist. For my luck September and October where relatively free of corona rules. Those were in place but you still could meet your friends, go to museums or sit in a pub. Masks were mandatory and hand sanitizer was your friend but life was quite normal.

Even my internship was going under normal office hours at the Embassy. The Finnish Embassy is in the beautiful and historic Belgravia area. It is full of private parks and historic buildings, and just a short stroll away from Hyde Park. I had a change to get to know the professionals that work at the Embassy, and network with them in a way that will help me in the future.

Real challenges started at the November when lockdown stopped London, and the whole England. And strict rules followed through December. I started to work remotely, and seeing friends was possible only during walks in the park. Luckily my internship was brilliantly organized and working from home was not an issue. More of an issue was to keep my own head leveled when life shrunk to include just my flat, grocery store and near by parks.

Afterwards I can admit that mentally those last two months in London were harder than I realized. I was in London, but I was unable to enjoy about it. Fast I understood that this was my change to see different kind of London. I saw the London as a member of the community: I saw my neighbors in their daily tasks, found hidden parks, followed the stems of decayed canal, met a family that was walking a parrot, got lost at the Catholic cemetery and watched tons of British detective stories.

Beside all the things I learnt from the internship, I learnt more about myself and life in general. I understood that it doesn’t matter where you live, the life is still the same. You have to buy food and make your bed. I know now that I can manage anywhere because I survived my time in London during pandemic. Not just physically but also mentally. My confidence, professionality and understanding of life grew.

Memories that I got from this internship are the most valuable things that I have. I remember picnics at the park, visits at the museums, sunny afternoons at pub, the spirit at the Embassy had and that small trip I did to Cornwall. Those memories are now part of me and I wish that other students could get similar once for themselves.

Applications to exchange program is now open. See more here.

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