Merseyside Expanding Horizons offers opportunities to people from different background to get valuable working experiences abroad, by sending and hosting volunteers and interns. We want to share the stories of some of these brave people, who have moved to Liverpool from other countries. First, we will introduce to you our team member from the cold North.
Janna, 26, Finland
Which is your qualification degree and what encouraged you to candidate to MEH? Why did you choose MEH?
I’m studying journalism at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in Finland. I wanted to do my internship abroad and the UK was one of the countries I wanted to come to, so when I saw MEH’s ad at erasmusintern.org it seemed like a good and an interesting opportunity to work with people from different backgrounds so I decided to apply.
Helping people, especially the youth, has always been an important topic for me. MEH is an organisation that fits my values and I’m happy to participate in work that aims to do good.
Why have you decided to get an internship abroad?
I did my exchange studies in the Netherlands and I wanted to continue living abroad, so doing my internship outside of my home country felt like it was a good option. Also I want to learn about different cultures and get experiences I wouldn’t get in Finland. Doing an internship felt like a safe way to start working abroad.
Going abroad also gives you so much. It is scary, especially when you’re going alone. At times it is also hard, but in the end it is worth it. I think going abroad just gives you something so special, that you wouldn’t get if you just stayed in your own country. Learning from people from different cultures also widens your own perspective of things.
MEH works in an international context with different employees around the world: how do you find yourself in this context?
I think that is one of the things that makes working at MEH interesting. We all learn from each other and I like working in a multicultural environment. Sometimes the language barrier creates funny moments and I think I’m slowly learning Italian, because I hear it in the office everyday. But the international environment is definitely one of the best things about working with MEH.
Which are the differences that you noticed most between English culture and your home country?
I haven’t had any major culture shocks yet. The biggest difference is probably the left-hand traffic and I’m still confused sometimes about which way I should look for cars when I’m crossing the road. In general, I feel like my culture is not that different from the English one, but there are a lot of small things that I find funny or weird here.
In Liverpool people are really friendly, which I found a bit strange at first. Especially after the rude customer service I got used to in the Netherlands, it felt weird at first to be called love by the cashier.
What is the thing you are missing most about your home country?
Of course family and friends, but I think I miss my dogs the most. What I miss about Finland, is a proper shower with warm water haha.
What is the thing you like most and the thing you would like to change about Liverpool?
I like Liverpool in general a lot, people are friendly and I like how the city centre is built. It’s not too big or too small for a city, so I really enjoy living here. Even though I’m still having problems understanding the scouse accent. What I don’t like is that everything closes so early during the week, for example museums.
Describe MEH in 3 words
Positive, helpful, open
Do you think that your experience in MEH has changed something in your being? (professional and unprofessional point of view)
I’ve only been here for a month so it’s hard to say yet. I know that my English has improved already and if things continue to go on the way they have, I think I will be more confident professionally after this.
Do you think that your experience in MEH will be useful in a future? (personal point of view)
I think it will be. I get to do a lot of different things and my English is also improving, which is always a good thing. I also think that you gain something from everything you do and each experience teaches you and helps you to grow as a person.