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University of Michigan Ottawa Political Internship
Employer: Office of Canadian MP Jeff Watson
Description of the Organization
Jeff Watson is a conservative Member of Parliament who represents the riding of Essex. His Ottawa office on Parliament Hill oversees practically all aspects of an MP's duties, from attending to issues addressed by constituents from the riding, to mailing out "ten per centers," to researching and composing drafts of soon-to-be bills. Aside from interning on Parliament Hill, the University of Michigan arranges for numerous excursions that provide the opportunity to experience other positions affiliated with Parliament and other areas of the Canadian government.
Description of the Tasks/Projects Completed
As a Parliamentary Intern, I did typical secretary work, such as sort through emails, answer the phone, and retrieve the mail. The office assigned me a large, specific research project on my very first day in the office, however, which provided me with a long-term personal goal I hoped to achieve by the end of my internship. This was very fulfilling because I found my strong research skills pay off through such a worthwhile project.
Skills/Knowledge Gained Through The Experience
I further improved my research skills through this experience but my largest gains were improving my communication skills (both over the phone and in person) and my knowledge of Canada's government and the country's relations with other nations.
Favorite Part of the Experience
The highlight of my experience of working as a Parliamentary Intern was attending Question Period and my MP's committee meetings. Listening in on the different parties' arguments are fascinating, and at times also entertaining.
How the Experience Influenced Future Career Goals
This internship provided me with the opportunity to determine that I do not want to work in an office sitting behind a desk all day, but would prefer to interact with people in both formal and informal environments. I have also confirmed my belief that my time would best be spent seeing to social change by personally making that change happen, rather than merely discussing such changes while leaving it up to other people to carry them out.
All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of GVSU.
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