For my internship in Ottawa, I interned for a member of the House of Commons of Canada. I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity because of my interest in different political systems, my love of living in different countries, and my studies of the French language. Coming to Ottawa was the perfect combination of many of my interests. I was first exposed to the workings of different political systems in a class at Michigan, so it was fascinating to see the Parliamentary democracy close up. There will be many opportunities to compare and contrast the Canadian system with the American one, especially as after this internship ends, I will go straight to Washington, DC to intern for my Congressman on Capitol Hill.
At this point, the biggest differences were the language and the different political climate. I intern for a Member of Parliament who represents a part of Montreal, so the office in Montreal is incredibly bilingual. There are both Anglophones and Francophones in the office, and everyone is fluent in both languages, so we speak whichever language is most comfortable for everyone in the conversation. This means that sometimes, people switch languages halfway through a sentence just because something felt better in one language over the other. Additionally, while Canada is also working on NAFTA with the United States, they have many of their own political issues that would be unimaginable in the United States; for example, they are currently working out the details to legalize marijuana throughout the entire country. My time in Canada will teach me a great deal!