Meet our intern for Spring 2020!
Johanna Partanen has now started working as an intern at the International Barents Secretariat.
Tell us about your background
I originally come from a town called Pudasjärvi, in the region of North Ostrobothnia (also referred as Oulu region). Growing up wondering around forests and swamps next to my childhood home made me a nature enthusiastic but also realize that there is so much more in the world to explore. Ever since I was 10 years old, I became interested in world politics, cultures, and peoples of the world. My Political Science studies at the University of Lapland are close to an end as I am currently writing Master’s thesis on conceptual history of vulnerability. I am also a retired Santa’s elf, a proud auntie, and a live music appreciator.
How did you become interested in working at the International Barents Secretariat?
Two years ago, by coincidence I ended up volunteering in Moldova where I got interested in learning Russian, which took me to interning in the Finnish consulate office in Murmansk, and at an environmental organization in Saint Petersburg in 2019. When I saw the call for IBS internship on our university’s Facebook page, I could do nothing else but apply for the post right away. For Politics’ student, Barents region is interesting as vibrant, compact version of the international cooperation that has proven itself a success story. I am currently interested in learning more about the Norwegian and the Swedish side of the Barents cooperation, and outside players growing influence in the Arctic.
How do you like living in Kirkenes?
My knowledge of Norway is based on the series Skam and Lilyhammer, so the reality in Kirkenes might be quite different from that. Whenever in a new place I feel energized, and I want to experience the most of it, trying to observe and understand as much as possible. I am looking forward to the upcoming adventures like Barents Ski Race between three countries, hiking in the fjords, taking advantage of the daily bus connections to Russia, volunteering at Barents Spektakel festival, having a coffee at Hurtigruten cruiser, and tasting king crab and other local delicacies.
What will your work include at the IBS?
At the office I am expected to help the IBS staff in their daily work on updating the website and sharing the news about the ongoing events in the Barents region. I will also host the traditional Barents lunch with invited speaker during my internship.