Tales From The Trails:

Finnish Intern Finishes Internship

Meet Marja Koskuvi Forest Park Conservancy’s Finnish intern! Today is the last day of Marja’s six-week trail internship, a much deserved respite from her master’s thesis and five years of studying biochemistry. Come June, she will plunge into stem cell research and begin her Ph.D. in molecular medicine. She says,  

“I wanted to travel because this is my last study year in university. I wanted to do something else, so it’s like a gift for me.”  

Marja hails from Lahti, Finland, about an hour drive north of Helsinki, but has spent her academic career in the university town of Kuopio. She first heard about Portland thanks to ANDEO International Homestays, a Portland-based non-profit that connects international students with local host families and volunteer internships. 

“I didn’t even know where Portland was. I looked at the map and saw it was close to Seattle. I know Seattle because I have watched Grey’s Anatomy.”

Marja has traveled throughout Europe and Russia and speaks six foreign languages including English, Swedish, Russian, German, Italian, and Japanese. Portland is her first encounter with the United States. 

“I like how close people are here to nature. Everybody’s so excited about nature. I work [in Forest Park] and there’s so many bicycles… you recycle! It’s like this in Finland, but in other European countries it’s not so obvious.” 

When asked how Portland differs from Finland she replied, 

“People here are more open I would say, than Finns are. Finns are normally quite quiet. Finns are thought of as honest, but OK, you are also quite honest. (Laughs.) But the atmosphere here is different, more open.” 

As if to prove her point, further questions revealed that Marja’s 24th birthday was three week ago, and she didn’t tell a soul. So, on behalf of The Forest Park Conservancy and all Americans, “Happy Birthday, Marja!” and thank you for all your help in Forest Park. Your impressive reticence and contagious laughter will be missed.

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