#Finnterns: Goodbye, Jon! (a.k.a Gon Gärviniemi)


Three months have now passed since Jon joined us at the Embassy of Finland in Canberra, which means it is time to say goodbye. An integral part of the political and commercial team, we expect the projects for which he has helped contribute to has been a rewarding learning experience.

There has also been a lot of fun from assisting with embassy events like World Nordic Walking Day, teaching Finnish to an up and coming actress at Canberra's Street Theatre and an exclusive Channel Nine interview using his inadvertent pseudonym Gon Gärviniemi.

We thought before Jon leaves us to return to Finland it was time we ask a few final questions for you to learn about Jon, what he has learnt about Australia and his experience in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

1.    Let us begin with three things about yourself, but only two can be true.
  1. My dog's name is Kuningas, which means king in Finnish. I named it after the Finnish soccer player Jari Litmanen, who is often referred as the king of Finnish soccer. 
  2. My first summer job was washing stones for my grandma.
  3. From the age 18 to 21 I ate noodles for breakfast every morning. 
2.    What is your field of study and what is life like as a student in Finland? 

I study political science at the University of Helsinki. My master’s thesis is going to be about populism in Finland and if populism as a political communication style has spread to the mainstream parties.

Life as a student in Helsinki is great. Student life there is active and it’s easy to find like-minded people. There are more than 250 student organizations, which host parties and events every week. it's easy to forget about your studies when there's so much fun stuff going on all the time.

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

I was asked this same question during my interview.  If my memory serves me right, I said Commonwealth, Jim Jefferies, and weird sports.  Of course, there was more I knew about Australia before I arrived here - you know the basic tourist stuff everyone knows. The biggest misbelief I had about Australia was the weather during the winter months here in Canberra. I packed four pairs of shorts with me and no winter jacket.

4.    What were your responsibilities within the political and commercial team at the Embassy of Finland in Canberra?

Mostly I wrote political and economic reports about Australia and New Zealand. I also attended meetings at the EU delegation, whenever my supervisor couldn’t make it. I also helped out with Embassy’s social media channels and participated in the planning of the Finnish Crazy Games. For the first time in my life, I had my own office!

My Very Own Office

5.    With just over three months in Australia, how was this country surprised you?

Well, I already mentioned Canberra's winter. Maybe the biggest ''surprise'' was the friendliness of the Australian people. Not once during my three months here, in Australia has anyone been rude or offensive to me. Australians seem to be very helpful and eager to talk with foreigners.

6.    You have mentioned many memories, but tell me, what will you remember most?

Easy. The Nordic Walking event at the Embassy. I had never done Nordic Walking in my life and I would never have guessed that my first time doing it will be in Australia. This is something I’ll probably never forget!

Tuesday Night Football with Euro Stars (against Morrocan Lions)

7.    How have you used this internship to prepare for your professional future?

Hmm, this is a hard one. As an experience, this has been great! Now I have a better picture of how it's working for an embassy and for the Foreign Ministry. Whatever I'm going to do after uni I'm certain this experience has taught me a lot, that I can use in my professional future.

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

Do it.

Author: Jonathon Fogarty is the Information Officer at the Embassy of Finland in Canberra

PS. Jon does not have a dog named Kuningas

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