Hi everyone! My name is Nick and I am currently spending five weeks in Ottawa interning for a Member of Parliament on the Hill! When I stumbled upon this opportunity, the program, and the academic credit that accompanied it, seemed too good to be true. While my career interests in politics, public policy, and history continue to develop each day, I confidently knew that this experience would only enrich my understanding not only of Canadian politics, but also how it interplays with that of the United States and other countries throughout the world.
So, as the title suggests, week one is officially in the books. In short, it has been a perfect mixture of excitement and exhaustion — the latter being in the best way possible, though. It is somewhat difficult to articulate a week’s worth of experience in hindsight simply because of the constant movement and interaction with new faces and places. I started off the week by introducing myself to everyone in the office. As I navigated my way to the building, swiped myself through the doors and up the elevator with a security badge, I was admittedly a bit nervous. Yet, these feelings of ambivalence were quickly squashed by the warmth and kindness that I was greeted with upon walking through the doors of the office. Within seconds, I was able to experience my first meeting with the MP and his entire staff. While it was a lot to take in, it was incredibly intriguing. I was given my own work space (desk, chair, computer — the whole nine yards!) and was ready to tackle the work ahead.
That night we were given the opportunity to attend an Asian Heritage reception in which we saw and heard from a variety of speakers and dancers. Much to our delight, at the end of the event, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke and greeted everyone attendance. It was clearly evident that we were in the midst of a Canadian politician, and, well, celebrity, as an overwhelming sea of supporters flocked around him. Being as close as we were was, to a certain extent, surreal.
The rest of the week was equally as action-packed as the first day. I have become acquainted not only with a set of new and challenging processes in the work place, but also with a host of really friendly and welcoming people in the city and in our internship program. When I was first introduced to the notion of being in Canada for a month, I did not think that daily life would stray much from the norm — that is, what I have become used to in the United States. Quickly, though, I am seeing that my perspective is changing. Interacting with Canadian politics has given me a lot of great insight so far, and I am really looking forward to continuing to develop along the way. My ultimate goal for this trip is to not only make valuable connections with the people around me, but also to become well-versed in the political processes here, and how they relate to the global sphere.