Introducing Interns

Fulbright Center Project Assistants for the Spring 2014 Katsija Mikalayeva and Mari Ahava.

Katsija Mikalayeva

Spring 2014

Hi, my name is Katsia Mikalayeva and I am an intern at the Fulbright Office in spring 2014. I am originally from Belarus, but have also lived in the United States and Spain. I am currently working on a Master’s degree in Research and Innovation in Higher Education (MARIHE) and as part of it I get a chance to live and study in three different countries: Austria, Finland, and China. It is MARIHE that gave me the wonderful opportunity to be part of the Fulbright team in Finland.

International education is the area of the most interest for me both academically and professionally, and it is not a surprise that the Fulbright Office in Helsinki was my first choice among the long list of internship opportunities offered by the MARIHE program. I am very content to have been chosen to intern with Fulbright. I was warmly received by the lovely members of the Fulbright team and quickly dove into the busy work life of the office.  Various tasks that I have been working on since the start of the internship are interesting, meaningful, and engaging.

Mari Ahava

Spring 2014

Hi! My name is Mari Ahava and I am from Finland. I am a fifth year student at the University of Helsinki, and my major is English Philology. One of the requirements for my Master’s degree is to do a three month long internship in a company that is somehow related to my field of study. I decided to apply to the Fulbright Center, because I knew that it would be a place where I could put my English skills to use.

Before my internship at the Fulbright Center began, my expectations were really high in regards to what I would be able to experience and learn during these three months of work. Now that my internship is soon coming to an end, I can say that those expectations have been fulfilled, if not exceeded. This is mainly thanks to the warm and welcoming Fulbright Center staff. They have given me the opportunity to work with them in very special events, such as the Fulbright Forum in Jyväskylä, and the Grant Award Ceremony at the Helsinki City Hall. I have also had the chance to meet many Fulbright grantees, both Finnish and American, and I have caught a glimpse of their excitement toward the Fulbright programs. My favorite task so far has been making video interviews of some of the American grantees, as it was a good chance for me to see what a Fulbright year can be at its best.

Christa Jakobsson

Kevät 2013

Christa Jakobson, Saksassa asuva 24-vuotias suomalais-opiskelija oli Fulbright Centerissä harjoittelijana kevättalvella 2013 ja kertoo seuraavassa kokemuksistaan.

Päädyin muutaman mutkan kautta Berliiniin opiskelemaan Pohjois-Amerikan tutkimusta John F. Kennedy Instituuttiin. Osana opiskeluun kuuluu harjoittelu, jonka järjestämiseen ja toteuttamiseen yliopisto on antanut opiskelijoille täyden vapauden. Koska erikoistun opinnoissani Yhdysvaltain kulttuuriin ja politiikkaan, päätin hakea harjoitteluun Suomen Fulbright Centeriin. Oma kiinnostukseni Yhdysvaltoihin ja Fulbrightin kulttuurivaihdon tärkeyttä korostava sanoma ovat saaneet minut tuntemaan, että teen omia taitojani kehittävää työtä ja voin samalla auttaa muita ihmisiä heidän suunnitelmiensa toteuttamisessa.

Fulbright Centerin monipuoliset tehtävät tekevät työn mielenkiintoiseksi. Olen auttanut henkilökuntaa muun muassa neuvontatyössä, stipendihakemusten käsittelyssä sekä stipendiaattien ja alumnien tukipalveluissa. On ollut mielenkiintoista päästä näkemään kulissien takaa kuinka iso stipendiorganisaatio toimii. Oltuani itse aiemmin hakijan roolissa, työ pöydän toisella puolen on auttanut ymmärtämään sekä hakuprosessia että stipendiorganisaation toimintaperiaatteita paremmin. On myös palkitsevaa nähdä kuinka kiinnostuneita ihmiset ovat kansainvälisestä yhteistyöstä ja miten motivoituneita he ovat uusien kokemustensa jälkeen. Työ Fulbrightissa on opettanut ymmärtämään kansainvälistä kulttuuri- ja opiskeluvaihtoa sekä kansainvälisten organisaatioiden toimintatapoja.

Harjoittelu on myös auttanut hiomaan tietotekniikkataitoja sekä ymmärtämään niiden taitojen hallinnan tärkeyden nykyisessä työelämässä. Omia esseitä ja tutkielmia kirjoittaessaan voi unohtaa, ettei maailma rajoitu Word-ohjelman hallitsemiseen. Nettisivujen päivitys, sosiaalinen media ja erilaiset tietokannat ovat olennainen osa työtä.

Harjoittelu Fulbrightissa on ollut haastavaa ja motivoivaa: olen päässyt hyödyntämään omaa osaamistani, mutta oppimaan myös uutta. Kansainvälisestä toiminnasta ja yhteistyöstä kiinnostuneelle Helsingin Fulbright Center ja sen motivoitunut henkilökunta ovat tarjonneet innostavan harjoittelupaikan.

Guadalupe, Sharon, and Red interning at the Fulbright Center during Spring 2013.

Guadalupe Lopez Acuna

Spring 2013

Hi, I am Guadalupe from Argentina. I’m a teacher of English as a second language and I am currently doing the Marihe programme in Europe. As part of this programme we are required to do an internship and within the many options we were given I chose the Fulbright center. This is due to my previous experience as a Fulbright grantee. I participated in the Fulbright FLTA programme at Juniata College in Huntingdon Pennsylvania during the 2008-9 academic year. This experience was so important for me, opening new paths both personally and professionally and providing me with such wonderful memories that I immediately chose the Fulbright Center as I wanted to be part of this program which had such an enormous impact in my life. It is my hope that working here will be a great learning opportunity and a practical way to apply the theoretical knowledge provided in my master degree courses. I have only been here for a short time but I know that this experience will be extremely beneficial for me and I definitely encourage students to join the Fulbright programme, either applying to be interns or applying to the many international programmes they have to study or research in the US.

Alfred Rafael Garcia

Spring 2013

Moro! My name is Alfred Rafael Garcia, though everyone calls me Red. I have just recently joined the Fulbright Center Finland in Helsinki as an intern, as part of our Erasmus Mundus Masters Course. With my fellow intern and colleague, we are currently enrolled under the MARIHE – Masters in Research and Innovation in Higher Education program, where we are exposed to the principles and dynamics of how higher education systems have adapted and developed in face of social, political and economic challenges in their local and global environment. Particularly of increasing import is how higher education institutions and their constituents strive to internationalize, of which mobility is a prime example. I have first heard of the Fulbright Program back home in the Philippines, where I have also met a few scholars who were or had been grant recipients sent to the United States. It is these, both the Erasmus Mundus and the Fulbright, which make mobility, and the life-changing experiences that come with it, from mere possibility to actual reality. I am fortunate to be able to belong to both institutions, in one as a participant in international academic mobility, and in the other as an observer of how teachers and students strive to be a part of one of the best higher education systems in the world. I hope to see these ambassadors someday contributing to the fullness and richness of academic life in the US and in Finland, as I aspire to be in Europe and in the Philippines. And being here in the Fulbright Center, helping them realize their dreams is a good step towards realizing mine.

Sharon Choi

Spring and Summer 2013

Hi, I am Sharon from Hong Kong. Currently studying at the University of Helsinki as an English Philology student and working at the Fulbright Center as a Program Assistant. Why I am here in Finland is not a random choice. This dates back to my exotic high school exchange in Joensuu in 2007. I fell in love with this tranquil country in ten-month time and decided to come back for studies. The flexibility of the school system enables me to study with joy. Hence, I have discovered my interest- Urban Studies and will definitely further pursue it. Fortunate enough, I have picked up the Finnish language (with a North Karelia dialect), which helps me to connect with the people, culture and society. Also, it has aided me in job hunting and securing this internship. Working at the Fulbright Center is a beneficial learning process. Specific tasks and responsibility are given to me on day one. As the office is small and compact, I have the chance to learn and do different tasks independently, and further hone my analytical and organization skills. Another benefit of working in a small office environment is the possibility to interact with the others.  Their welcome and friendly helpful attitudes make communication easy and direct. After gaining some insights to this organization, I would definitely recommend students to join the Fulbright programs or their internship for their own development.