Grey Saturday in London. Yes, in London. It’s still humming and buzzing metropole, although world is very different now than a year ago when I applied for my internship. Making this happen was a huge patience exercise but it was worth it.
Roughly a year ago I saw an ad for international internship at the student’s intranet Oiva. I have always been interested in international matters and working abroad. So, I opened the ad and knew that I have to apply for it. The Embassy of Finland in London was seeking an intern for their public diplomacy team.
As the practical woman that I am, I thought that there will be very slim chance to get to the point of interview for the internship. I was truly surprised when I first got an email from the Embassy and then some time after that a phone call where they interviewed me for the position. It was the best Christmas present for the year 2019 when I got the confirmation that I got the position here in London. They asked if I could start in May 2020, and of course I could, or so I thought.
Everything was ready in March 2020 including security checks, internship contracts, plane tickets and Kela’s student benefits for studying abroad. Then coronavirus happened, and worldwide pandemic paralyzed everything. That started the chain of emails where we monitored the situation in Finland and in the UK. In the end it was clear that my internship had to be postponed into the unknown future. Although the situation was understandable, I was upset like a small squirrel whose cone is frozen solid.
“I only got month or so to sort out all things so that I could fly out in September. Great thanks go to all those who take care about international internships at our school, specially the Outgoing Students -team.”
Life must go on, so all I could do was to hope that situation with pandemic gets better and that I still have a chance to get to London. Finally, I got the confirmation that I can start to plan my internship, once again. I only got month or so to sort out all things so that I could fly out in September. Great thanks go to all those who take care about international internships at our school, specially the Outgoing Students -team. Decisions about all the benefits came through fast, and even the Kela who gives occasional headaches to all students, made their decisions fast.
Now I’m here in London on this grey Autumn Saturday. Outside of my window there is a very English street with very English houses. Even though London is not the most English place in the UK. My internship goes on as planned with all the coronavirus restrictions that are in place here. Those rules affect the day to day life much more than you can imagine back there in Finland. My work here is interesting, challenging, and versatile. The Embassy has done their very best to facilitate the interns work while everyone at the Embassy are working some days remotely.
“World is a different place than year ago, but life can’t stop for forever and no one can stop you from dreaming.”
Someone could argue if there is any sense to go on an international internship during this time. Is it safe and can you get what you want from it? My answer is yes! Just keep the common sense with you, obey the rules and make sure that the receiving party has done their best to keep you safe during the internship, and you are good to go. I hope that all who are willing can go to do their international internships, and that things get better with the pandemic. All the experience and contacts I will get out from this will help me in the future.
Couple tips for those dreaming about international internship: dream big, be active, find out what is possible, take all the support and advice you can get, pack the backs, and just leave. World is a different place than year ago, but life can’t stop for forever and no one can stop you from dreaming. World is still out there, just getting there is little harder than what it was before.
With very British greetings
Social policy representative of Student Union OSAKO on her internship at the Embassy of Finland in London