Interning in Reykjavík: fun and free

Island hat nicht nur beeindruckende Landschaften und leidenschaftliche Fußballfans, sondern auch in Sachen Kultur einiges zu bieten. Anni aus Finnland entdeckte schon während ihres einjährigen Studienaufenthalts vor ein paar Jahren ihre Liebe zu Island. Jetzt ist sie für ein Praktikum nach Reykjavík zurückgekehrt und berichtet uns von ihrer Arbeit beim Reykjavík International Film Festival im Herbst, gibt Ratschläge darüber, wie Pläne für ein Praktikum auf Island am besten in die Tat umgesetzt werden können, und schwärmt ganz nebenbei von der sommerlichen Lebhaftigkeit, die wohl nicht erst seit der Fußball-EM um sich greift:

„As a Nordic person I often feel priviledged. Living in another Nordic country is very effortless. This time I contacted an Icelandic film festival and asked if they needed an intern. Two months later, in April 2016, I was living in Reykjavík. There wasn’t even an interview! I guess my background gave a solid basis for the work.

So right now I’m interning for Reykjavík International Film Festival (RIFF) for six months. Last winter I had a very strong need to move back to Iceland – earlier I was here on exchange for a year – so, honestly speaking, I was ready to take any job whatsoever. I study media research at the University of Turku, and my studies are actually based on film and TV studies – so combining my studies, interning, films and my skills in Icelandic makes very much sense. I get just enough financial support from my university to live here, so the festival itself doesn’t pay me, even though I work almost full time – 35 hours a week.

In my job I’m mostly given tasks that go well with my interests and skills. Therefore I mostly write different kinds of texts, do research about films, filmmakers and awards, review films and keep in touch with filmmakers who want to attend the festival. The festival team is rather small. Most of them are Icelandic but there’s also people from France, Iran, Poland, and of course me from Finland. All my work is done in English, as the festival is an international festival.

Reviewing films is one of the most exciting things about my work. Like in most festivals, we get a lot of submissions – a bit less than 1000 submissions this year – from filmmakers. Then we watch them all and decide which films we should pick and screen at the festival. A big part of these films are made by young filmmakers, so it’s interesting to see what people do and what stands out – what is good enought to be shown to everyone who comes to the festival. In the end we show about 100 films for around 30,000 people.

I was very excited to spend the summer in Iceland, too. There hasn’t been a day I could have gone out with bare legs, but still, if the weather is extraordinarily good, my boss tells everyone to finish early. (Also, weather quilt is real…) One of the best things in Icelandic people is their ability to truly enjoy things. Most days you see people having garden dinners, organising outdoor events, wearing flower crowns, hanging out on rooftops during weekday nights, sitting outside faces towards sun, eyes closed. Everyone is kind of high on summer air. Icelanders are generally very easygoing. For instance my boss told me to take some time off to go on a roadtrip and swim in hot springs.

So the summer in Reykjavík has been very lively. All the EURO 2016 craziness obviously made the city very intense for a few weeks. Whenever Iceland won, the streets filled with people celebrating, singing Ég er kominn heim (which means ”I have come home”), playing drums and drinking. Iceland is expecting 1,8 million tourists this year, and as summer is the holiday season, you sometimes see more tourists than locals.

If anyone wants to intern – or just work – in Iceland, I would encourage to find a good work place and just ask them. As far as I know, there aren’t really any websites that list internships, so it’s the best to do some googling and find something that is really your own thing. Like I mentioned, Icelanders tend to be very easygoing, which also means that you might not get responses to your emails before asking again and reminding. This is partly the reason why it’s also good to ask early.

Iceland is a very exciting place to live. It always feels like things just happen. If you keep your mind open and just go out, things just happen, one thing will lead to another, and then you just find yourself doing something great. It’s good not to plan too much!“


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Fühlt sich an vielen Orten zu Hause: in Süddeutschland, Finnland, Greifswald und sowieso überall, wo es Kaffee, spannende Geschichten und schöne Landschaften gibt. Seit drei Jahren als Fennistik- und Skandinavistikstudentin in Greifswald – mit gelegentlichen Abstechern an andere bunte Orte der Welt mit dem Zug, dem Flugzeug oder einem Buch.