Welcome to our fourth post of the How To: Travel Without Quitting Your Job series! If you’re new to the series let us give you the gist: in November 2016 we introduced a series which will be posted monthly featuring one way to travel the globe while still working towards your academic/professional goals. All posts featured in this series will showcase ways to travel that have been done by us or some of our close friends.
Last month, Jordon wrote about his experience volunteering in Nicaragua. In this post, we’ll be featuring another internship-related way to travel, this time with our friend Jordan talking about her time as an intern for the Parliamentary Internship Programme.
How To: Travel Without Quitting Your Job (Series, Post 4) – Become a Parliamentary Intern
Jordan spent 10 months travelling around Canada and Europe as a Parliamentary Intern. She shares a little bit about her experience as an intern in the paragraphs below!
It is not often that the opportunity to travel blends so well with work and academia as with the Parliamentary Internship Programme (PIP), a paid, non-partisan professional experience on Parliament Hill. Over the ten months that I was a Parliamentary Intern, I had the once-in-a-lifetime experience to be a real-life political staffer for both the Government and for the Opposition, to hone diplomatic skills while travelling abroad, and to build lasting relationships with professional colleagues and new friends.
During the many study tours around North America and Europe, I learned about the legislatures, politics, issues, and peoples in comparison to Ottawa. PIP allowed me to practice international diplomacy as a young professional, learn about various governing structures in the actual countries and legislatures, and have an incredible opportunity to travel during an important year for international relations.
I was fascinated to be in the middle of political storms while travelling. While in London, England, we discussed the possibility of Brexit with Members of Parliament. In Brussels, we asked of the refugee crisis facing the European Union with political staff. I questioned the possibility of a second referendum in Scotland with political and parliamentary leaders in Edinburgh, while journalists in Washington, D.C. mulled over the state of American politics (and the phenomenon of Donald Trump). We asked Mark Carney about England’s finances and the then-unknown potential of a Brexit. We discussed food security and climate change in Iqaluit. We were in the epicentre of the issues speaking with those who knew them best, or were the actual decision-makers.
Aside from Ottawa, PIP brought me to Quebec City, Brussels, London, Edinburgh, Washington and Iqaluit. I explored both my MP’s constituencies in Montreal, QC and Surrey, BC. To support us during a whirlwind year, we were paid a bi-weekly stipend of $23 000 over 10 months. The travel and accommodations during study tours were covered entirely by PIP and its sponsors. Our flights to Iqaluit, the train from Brussels, the hotel near London’s Kings Cross, were all provided for us. The additional stipend made sure I bought breakfasts in Quebec City and strong coffees in Washington.
In the nearly fifty years of PIP, past interns have gone on to be ambassadors, journalists, bureaucrats, Ministers, Senators, lobbyists, PhDs, and other, non-political paths. If you are interested in joining a future cohort, the deadline to apply is January 31st of every year. Applicants must be Canadian citizens or Canadian residents, have at least one university degree (but may apply in their last year of studies), and be under the age of 35. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again until you reach 35 years of age!
In case you want to read more from the PIP interns themselves, check out the blog.
Not Canadian? Be sure to check out your country’s Parliamentary website (or equivalent). There may an amazing opportunity just waiting for you!
Although Jordan first entered Parliament as a House of Commons Page, the place will always have a gravitational effect on her interests and career. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa.
How do you balance work/school and travel?
Let us know in the comments below!
Big thanks to Jordan for writing this post! Don’t forget to check back next month for our next post in the How To: Travel Without Quitting Your Job series. Next month’s subject will feature a work related opportunity, so stay tuned!
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