Finnterns: Goodbye Leeni!

Finnterns: Goodbye Leeni!

Leeni left our team some time ago, but before she left, we asked her to sum up her experience Down Under. As our final trainee of 2019, Leeni had the chance to be a part of our flagship event the Finnish Crazy Games and coordinating the Embassy’s involvement in the Girls Run the World initiative. We wish Leeni the best of luck for the future!

1. Let us begin with three things about yourself, but only two can be true.

  • I have a license in skydiving. 
  • I have a yellow belt in karate. 
  • I once broke my ankle when I jumped off a roof into a pile of snow.

2. Before applying for this internship, what did you know about Australia?

Way before I applied, I was convinced the capital of Australia must be Sydney so my knowledge was tad limited. Being an avid animal enthusiast, I mostly had read up on the unique fauna in Australia – which I was lucky enough to experience first-hand in Canberra. I got swooped by magpies, I greeted kangaroos on my way to work and even on my very last week I saw an echidna waddling in the embassy backyard.

Picture: Leeni making friends at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

3. What were your responsibilities at the Embassy of Finland in Canberra?

I definitely came here at a good time so I got to be a part of multiple fun events in such a short time. I also attended meetings on green diplomacy and terrorism, I wrote political and economic reports and raced a hobby horse with a 6-year-old (and lost). One of the most memorable experiences was being a guest speaker in a panel discussion with an Ambassador and a First Secretary. We spoke about our experiences as women in politics and diplomacy and why we need more diversity in decision making.

4. With just over three months in Australia, how has this country surprised you?

I was definitely pleasantly surprised how good the restaurant scene is here. In Finland, you have, say, Indian restaurants, but here you can choose between regional cuisines and the amount of options is incredible for a foodie like me. 

An unpleasant surprise was the price of data here – in Finland you get a phone plan with unlimited data for much cheaper prices and having my phone basically glued to my hand at all times, that was difficult to get accustomed to.

5. You must have many memories, but tell me, what will you remember most?

How much time you’ve got? No but seriously, it’s hard to pick one. But as I’m going back to Finnish winter I think I will longingly remember the times when I could step outside the house without putting on a million layers of clothes. I am definitely a summer person and the ocean is close to my heart so those I will miss for sure.

6. During your time in Australia, what have you missed from Finland?

My two cats, without a doubt. They are the cutest, cuddliest creatures on this Earth and I miss waking up to their purring every morning.

7. How has this internship helped you for future roles?

I think it has helped me a lot. I’ve gotten more confident in political and economic reporting and I’ve learned a lot about the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland as well as the world of diplomacy. I don’t know exactly what the future will hold for me but with this experience in my back pocket, I think it will open up more internship and work opportunities.

8. What advice would you give to other Finnish students considering an internship with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs?

Go for it, the ministry has such a broad variety of possible placements available that there will be something for any interest, be it in communications, business or development cooperation.

Also, trust your own knowledge. You will encounter moments and situations where you’re out of your comfort zone and you might not have learned about all the aspects of the job in school but that’s alright. Interns are there to learn and trust me, you will learn.

PS. I am a licenced diver, but solely under the water’s surface.

Picture: Kiitos for the cake Leeni. We miss you!