Internship Exchange Programme

Intern at the Norwegian Humanist Association
in Oslo during the summer of 2003:

Yemi Johnson tells about his experiences

"Internship means an opportunity to understudy the workings (mostly) of an organization. This was what I did at the Human Etisk Forbund (Norwegian Humanist Association) for four weeks. My stay at the House of Humanism (as popularly called) can be said to have rub off so much on my organizational psyche. Before proceeding further, I will like to note the fact that the International Humanist and Ethical Youth Organization (IHEYO) packaged the Internship programme in conjunction with Commonsense magazine of New Jersey. Two young youths were choosing from “pool of applicants” all over the world; Stephanie Kirner of the Secular Students Alliance of the U.S.A and myself. While Stephanie went to IHEU office in London, I was “posted” to Oslo.

After working out the details of my internship with HEF’s contact person, Norunn Kosberg, and IHEYO helmsmen (Vincent Lloyd and Gea Meijers), I finally left the shore my country, Nigeria on Sunday 9th of August 2003 at 10:55p.m

Although it took me almost eleven hours to get there but, I am most happy (or should I say glad) that I was warmly received at the Oslo airport by a representative of the host organization, Robin. The arrangement was for me to stay with families (I choose the option); therefore, at four o’clock I was drove to my first home at Torshov.

On Monday morning, I reported at the House of Humanism and at 12pm, I formally presented myself to the HEF’s Secretary General, Lars Gule and other members of staff at the Staff meeting. In fact, it was from that first encounter with them that I knew that I am truly within a humanist family; therefore, I positioned myself to make the best of the conducive learning environment I was offered.

From the Library, information to Ceremonies department (where I took much interest), I learnt / benefited immensely.

While at the Ceremonies, I attended a secular naming and burial ceremonies. Secular Ceremonies are offered to non-religious people as an alternative to time-wasting- religious ceremonies. The most glamorous of these ceremonies and which I have not mention is Confirmation Ceremony or coming of age ceremony. This is popular in Europe and it is for teenagers transforming to the adulthood.

Besides learning from the departments, I also get to see the Hospitality and Humanistic tendency inherent in Norwegian via the food, cultural dresses and others. Living with different families really gave me a leap into this. From Torshov (Hans Christian), Bjonsletta (Kim and Anne Skaara), Kampen (Per Kristian) to Lilestrom (Kjartan and family); my stay with each of them can be said to be educating, entertaining and memorable.

However, I must note here that between 28th of August and 2nd of September that I was not in Oslo. I was in Berlin to participate in the second IHEYO international Humanist Youth conference. It was at this conference that I was elected the Secretary General of IHEYO. After about five days in Berlin, I finally left for Norway on September 2, 2003 in company of Hans Christian Nes (the IHEYO GA Chairman).

Being my last week at the House of Humanism, a send-forth lunch was held for me so that everybody will have a chance to give me goodbye hug and to present me some gift items. Although I had a delayed flight back home (on September 10), nonetheless it was a nice and memorable experience for me. Not only because I had the chance of visiting couples of European countries but for the chance I was given to learn what Humanism (and indeed life) mean to others outside of my ordinary day experience.

To the entire staff of Human Etisk Forbund (most especially Oslo Akersuse) and IHEYO, I say THANK YOU! For the opportunity".


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