As an intern, I have had wonderful 4 months (September - December 2018) at the Arctic Economic Council (AEC) Secretariat in Tromsø, Norway. This experience gave me not only deep knowledge of the Arctic Economy but also confidence to keep working on in the Arctic as a student from a non-Arctic Country.
My duties at the AEC Secretariat included communications work (social media, website updates and improvement), assistance during visits and in event preparations, preparing presentations and speaking points related to current Arctic issues, and administrative matters.
As the first intern at the AEC Secretariat, I would like to share my experience.
Challenges in the North
For the past 10 years, I have been living in six countries in three continents. For me, living abroad and adapting to a new environment have never been big challenges. I have believed in me that I can live anywhere in the world. Especially since I have lived in Nuuk, Greenland for 3 years and also I did my first internship in the Arctic at the UArctic Research Liaison and Thematic Networks Office at the University of Oulu in Finland in 2016 (January to March). However the sunlight over the Arctic Circle was a different issue. I was able to feel lack of sunlight in me.
Here is what I did. Whenever I had just a bit of time for outside, for example, during lunch time, I used to go out and tried to walk a bit under the sunlight, while the sun was still in the sky. However when the winter came, it was hard to meet just a bit of light.
Luckily, the AEC Secretariat is located in the very centre of Tromsø. When Christmas season approached, the city was always colourful and vibrant with lights. That made me less gloomy.
Language Skills put to Good Use
I had never imagined that Korean - my mother tongue, would help while working at the AEC. This time I totally learned that language skills would never betray. For instance, there was Arctic Partnership Week which is annually held in Korea. I was the person in charge for the preparations of a high-level overseas trip from the AEC to Korea. In addition, I was able to use not only Korean, but also a bit of Japanese and French during my internship. Even my very low level of Danish was helpful during my sojourn in Norway.
High Level of Achievement
The AEC Secretariat is a small organization but I would say that it is also a huge organization which deals with a broad range of tasks. While working, I was extremely happy because I was able to make a voice. There were always very helpful co-workers who always listen to my opinions. When those opinions were reflected into positive results, I could feel a high level of achievement. For me, it was very important to communicate with everyone in the organization and it was totally possible at the AEC.
I have decided my mind up that the AEC internship would be the last internship in my life. Depending on how much efforts you make, the level of achievement would be different. I really appreciate my experience at the AEC. I am totally ready to step forward my career in the Arctic.