From Intern to Employee
How an Internship at Denmark In NY Launched a Career in the Danish Foreign Ministry
“The learning curve as an intern is steep, which means that you will be well prepared for a job in the Ministry after finishing the internship,” says former #DenmarkInNY intern Anne Lea Nørholm on how her internship kick-started her career in the MFA.
The Consulate General of Denmark in New York is powered by a dedicated staff of experienced professionals and creative thinkers promoting Danish interests in the Big Apple and across the East Coast. But, right alongside, is a team of interns providing critical assistance while learning the ropes.
A year ago, law student Anne Lea Nørholm travelled across the Atlantic to gain experience and knowledge about how Invest in Denmark operates in North America. That experience had an additional benefit — the possibility of living and experiencing New York City for half-a-year.
After the internship ended, Nørholm was offered a position as student assistant in the department’s Copenhagen offices. She believes that an internship at a Danish representation is a unique opportunity to kick-start your career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
#DenmarkInNY spoke to Lea about the transition from New York to Copenhagen and about how she the skills she learned from her internship have proved invaluable in her current job.
What did you do before getting the internship at Denmark In NY?
I hold a Bachelor in Law from Aarhus University. Alongside my Bachelor studies, I worked at Tryg Insurance as a Student Worker. After finishing my Bachelor’s degree I worked for a year in Berlin at the head office of an international NGO named ICYE International. I chose to take a year abroad to improve my German and English skills as well as gain some work experience (and to have some fun). After a year abroad in Germany, I returned to Aarhus to start my Master Studies in Law, and a short while after returning I applied for the internship at the Royal Danish Consulate in New York.
What was your favorite thing about the six months you spent in New York?
I have really enjoyed the unique vibe and broad spectrum of opportunities that New York offers. As part of my work, I got to help plan and attend exciting events, meet many very talented people and experience what diplomacy and doing business across borders is like in real life. In my spare time, I of course enjoyed New York’s many bars, restaurants and cultural events with the other interns. But actually one of my favorite things to do in New York was to just sit down and watch people, and admire the diversity the city offers.
How was the transition from the internship at Denmark In NY to your current position in Invest in Denmark’s Copenhagen office?
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has two sides to it: the home-department and the departments abroad. The two work very differently, but with the same purpose. The Invest in Denmark employees, who work outside Denmark, have to be very proactive and do a lot of networking, to attract foreign businesses and teach them about the many possibilities in Denmark. Here in Copenhagen, we deal with the businesses after they have already shown interest in Denmark. We guide them regarding regulations, real estate, the Danish market in general. Therefore, I feel that my overall understanding of how Invest in Denmark and the Foreign Ministry work has gotten a lot better.
Do you use the skills you learned doing your internship in your current job?
Yes, I definitely do, both directly and indirectly. Directly, in the sense that I can use my knowledge about certain tasks as well as the Ministry’s computer programs. Indirectly because I have a better understanding of how Invest in Denmark and the Foreign Ministry work in general, which helps me have a better understanding of the work we do, and allows me to carry out my tasks with a stronger aim in mind.
How is an internship at Denmark In NY a good way to kick start your career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?
If you are interested in a career within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, an internship is a good way to get your foot inside the door. The learning curve as an intern is steep, which means that you will be well prepared for a job in the Ministry after finishing the internship. Furthermore, it means you will get some great contacts within the organisation, which is always a good thing, if you are looking for a job.
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Are you our next intern? Read more about the available positions at the Danish Consulate General, New York: http://usa.um.dk/en/about-us/internships-at-the-danish-representations/consulate-general---new-york/?fbclid=IwAR0ifH2khKYdg8ZzH4g_yHcvnXceOnAhLE4jy-7t7GoobVuyFqaxW46Dvz4