I sat down for a chat with Jaana Mutanen from CIMO, the Centre for International Mobility. She works with projects concerning international traineeships outside of the European Union: in Latin America, Russia, Asia etc., as well as with Spanish and German-speaking countries in general, sending students and recent graduates for traineeships abroad.
Before coming to CIMO Mutanen worked at the international relations office of the Ministry of Education and while she was there CIMO was founded. Working at CIMO became a dream for her, but she needed more experience to make it happen – which she eventually did. Mutanen’s academic background is in languages, international politics, educational sciences and Latin American studies. She says that the most important thing she learned at university and that has stayed with her after graduation is the all-round education these so-called ‘soft’ sciences have provided her with: knowing about and being interested in the surrounding world are important. They are also important for networking, as connecting with new people is easier through stimulating conversation.
Promoting mobility and internationalisation are important for Mutanen, be it through studying and working abroad or just travelling: seeing and understanding the world beyond the borders of Finland is vital for the construction of a more tolerant society. When Mutanen was a student there were fewer opportunities for students to go abroad than there are nowadays, but as a part of her studies she got to go to Germany for a semester, plus she travelled a lot around Europe in her youth.
Mutanen is very motivated in her job: it allows her to be creative (albeit within the framework of their budget) and to work with issues that interest her. She also gets to travel for work every now and then – not too much nor too little – which keeps the mind buoyant and provides her with the opportunity to meet new people. Indeed, networking is what she likes most about her job, a skill she thinks anyone can learn by doing. In an internationally oriented job such as hers the right attitude, courage and language skills are of great importance.
CIMO is an agency of the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, founded in 1991 and dedicated to promoting internationalisation in and outside of Finland. More information on their website.