Internship at UNECON was an exciting opportunity and experience

I worked as a trainee for three months at UNECON international office during Spring 2020. First half I worked
in St. Petersburg and second half remotely from Finland. I ended up interning in Russia through an international
traineeship program, which is ran by Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI). My work tasks included
researching reasons behind decreasing student mobility from Finland to Russia and finding solutions for
promoting Russian higher education mobility opportunities.  
Working in a different country and culture was a very refreshing experience, because work
culture differed somewhat from that in Finland. I was positively surprised, how rich the culture and holiday
traditions were in Russia and this also showed in the workplace. My co-workers were warm and welcoming
inviting me to their culture. The spring was full of exciting holidays that were celebrated in traditional ways.
Celebrations like Woman’s day truly enriched everyday life at work.  
I was very fortunate to intern specifically in Russia and in St. Petersburg. The metropolis offered
plenty of culture: amazing palaces, beautiful architecture and seemingly endless number of interesting
museums. There was always something new to see or experience on spare time. I was also able to meet
wonderful people around the globe and make lot of new friends. It is useful to have networks all around the
world and chatting with students from different cultures opened-up my worldview above and beyond
Overall living and interning in Russia were wonderful experiences for me. All the great things I
experienced exploring the city and meeting new people gave me lots of new memories. I realized, how amazing
Russia and St. Petersburg is: a hospitable and fascinating culture neighboring Finland. I am also sure that this
experience will enhance my further career, because I enhanced my language skills, cultural knowledge, and
deepened my knowledge on my field of expertise. Working and living in the new culture gives such a different
kind of knowledge than just studying in a classroom environment. Working with colleagues from different
country enhanced my ability to communicate smoothly, considering different cultural backgrounds and interact
in foreign languages. I would warmly encourage international internship for anyone, it is an unforgettable, once
in the lifetime experience.  

Mari Ikonen

Contact information

191023, Russia, St. Petersburg,
Griboedov canal emb., 30-32

Department of International Cooperation
+7 812 7105644