Internship Spotlight: Neha Sundar - Délégation générale of Québec

Neha Sundar with coworkers after discussing upcoming missions and updates on their dossiers at Rockefeller's Radio Plaza Garden space.

I would like to express my gratitude for providing the Schull-Yang International Award. It has truly been an integral part in the success of my summer internship at the Délégation générale of Québec in New York. Being able to work in the diplomatic sphere, specifically regarding international relations between Canada and the U.S. has been a long-standing dream of mine. As I was born in New York, then later moved between Toronto and Montréal, diplomatic matters between the regions were always of great interest to me. To see this young interest blossom into academic endeavours and now, professional experiences, is thanks to the support of the Schull-Yang International Award.

The Québec Delegation Office in New York’s mission is to represent Québec in the U.S. in both diplomatic and economic affairs. As the province’s primary representation in the U.S., they serve to promote Québec’s interests in business, investment, cultural affairs, tourism, and government institutions. The internship position at the Delegation’s Governmental Relations and Public Affairs team entailed writing research reports, attending conferences on behalf of the office, logistical preparation of events and monitoring local policies and laws. During this internship, one of my most important goals was to refine my bilingual speaking, research and writing skills. As a student pursuing a Joint Honours in Political Science and Philosophy, I do a considerable amount of essay writing as part of coursework.

This internship was a wonderful opportunity to learn how to write detailed, succinct, and bilingual reports that are useful for the Delegation’s missions, therefore expanding my academic writing competences to professional skills.

During my internship, I wrote reports about green campus initiatives in Quebec, New York’s upcoming Cap-and-Invest model, International Education Week, Albany’s semiconductor sector, upcoming local laws and the International Francophone Organization’s (IFO) Sustainable Development Goals, among other key topics. While most of the tasks I received were parts of other colleagues’ larger dossiers, a solo project I took on was writing a draft Wikipedia page for the New York Delegate Martine Hébert, which is now under review by the MRIF (Ministère des Relations internationales et de la Francophonie).

A highlight of my internship was attending a conference at the United Nations Headquarters lead by the International Francophone Organization. Several speakers from francophone nations around the world gathered to discuss current efforts and effective policies in the pursuit of achieving sustainable development goals set by the UN Council. This event was specifically meaningful, as it opened my eyes to the future I see myself in. Participating in this event called for strong foundations in understanding policy procedure, local political and economic factors, sustainable movements and diplomatic ties between nations, which are all topics that I have studied with deep interest at McGill. In this way, this event, and this internship as a whole, has really shaped my future goals and aspirations.

Neha Sundar participating in the IFO conference on behalf of the Delegation Office.

Aside from the extremely valuable professional skills and contacts I gained during this internship, the experience was also personally very meaningful. I was born and lived in New York until I was six years old, and being able to return to the city now as a twenty-year old made me see New York in a different light. When I was younger, everything seemed loud and busy and scary, and I always had my family to protect me. Now that I’m older, New York is just as bustling and fast-paced, but I feel like I fit into the groove of the city. This experience was possible due to the Schull-Yang award, as I was able to live in a comfortable part of the city and enjoyed many of the perks of living in New York due to the funds provided by the award. This internship was truly a turning point in my life, as it was a 3-month snapshot of the career I want to pursue in the future.

Thank you again to Mr. Schull and Ms. Yang for making this experience possible.

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