By Jacob Dinn
Hello from Washington, D.C.! Since May I’ve been interning at the Canadian Embassy to the United States — a Global Affairs Canada mission that represents Canadian interests and values here in the US. I work in the foreign and defence policy section which consists of attending events on behalf of the Embassy, writing reports, and providing assistance to my supervisors wherever needed. I wanted this internship because I aspire to work with the Canadian government and I wanted practical work experience to complement my academic background.
I am proud to represent Canada abroad and feel like I am making a contribution to Canadian foreign policy by writing reports for Ottawa and other Canadian missions around the world. I have excellent supervisors that make me feel like part of the team which is valuable given my career aspirations. My favourite part of the internship so far is attending events at some of the world’s leading think tanks, such as the Brookings Institution, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. These events have introduced me to diverse perspectives and debates on complex global issues that complement what I have learned throughout my time in academia.
I love D.C. and the constant excitement of being here. I’ve kayaked on the Potomac River, toured the monuments at night, and explored some of the amazing Smithsonian Museums throughout the National Mall. I also watched the Toronto Raptors win the NBA Championship alongside several excited Canadians. Although this city is known for its politics, there is something here for everyone and I highly recommend visiting.
Still, adjusting to life in D.C. isn’t easy, especially being born and raised in the community of Goulds, Newfoundland — a farming area on the outskirts of St. John’s. This is the first time I’ve been outside of Canada for a significant period of time and it was a little difficult adjusting to the culture and lifestyle here. Washington’s hustle and bustle is completely different than the relaxed lifestyle that I’m accustomed to. Furthermore, people are so focused on working that they don’t stop to appreciate the exciting city that they’re in (I’m sometimes guilty of this myself). I’m still adjusting and learning more about this city and I hope to have more great experiences prior to leaving.
The work I’m doing here is also completely different than anything I’ve ever experienced; my last job prior to working at the Embassy was as a cashier at Goulds Irving, a small convenience store and gas station in my hometown. Moving from a gas station to the Canadian Embassy is challenging and seems strange but I wouldn’t have it any other way because I’ve learned valuable lessons from every experience. No matter where I work, I try to connect with people, learn from my mistakes (including spilling a large coffee on the carpet during my second week at the Embassy…), and try to do the best I can.
As I continue with this internship I hope to learn more from my excellent supervisors and colleagues while continuing to enjoy D.C. This internship is an ongoing highlight of my life and I look forward to sharing more in my next blog post. Bye for now!