As a third-year student in political science and communication studies, I have always been highly interested in politics, international affairs and diplomacy. My internship at the Délégation Générale du Québec à New York (DGQNY) this summer was the perfect opportunity for me to learn more about the practice of diplomacy and to understand the complex dynamics behind diplomatic relations between two states. I had the chance to work at the Communications, Public Affairs and Government Relations section of the delegation, which enabled me to work on various projects related to my field of study.
One of my main objectives as an intern was to determine whether a career in diplomacy was an ideal choice for me. As I am entering my senior year at McGill University, the time has come for me to make a decision on the next steps to take for my career. In addition, I was eager to learn more about the practical applications of all the information and knowledge I was taught at McGill. This internship at the DGQNY was the perfect experience to analyze diplomacy and politics in practice. I was also eager to explore another city and to live on my own for the first time in my life. Being independent away from home was a necessary step to my personal growth and fulfillment.
The DGQNY, or Quebec Government Office in New York, is a diplomatic representation of the province of Quebec based in NYC, covering 8 states in the Mid-Atlantic. Quebec has different delegations spread all over the world but, the DGQNY is the primary one in the US since it is Quebec’s largest export and trading partner. The DGQNY’s main role is to promote Quebec’s interests in the Mid-Atlantic by providing support to Quebec companies in the US, developing networks, promoting Quebec’s culture and strengthening the province’s presence south of its border.
As an intern, I had the opportunity to work on interesting projects. My position at the Communications, Public Affairs and Governmental Relations involved researching and writing content in both French and English on various political and economic materials such as diplomatic reports sent to the Ministry of International Relations and Francophonie and briefing notes for the Delegate General. I aided in the planning of public affairs activities like ministerial missions on the territory. Finally, I reported on events of interest to the delegation such as a presentation of the European Union’s Horizon Europe project on research and innovation.
Amongst the highlights of my internship was the Premier of Quebec’s visit to NY on an economic mission. The vibrant atmosphere on the 26th floor of the Rockefeller Center was palpable at that time. This ministerial mission gave me great insight on the challenges faced by Quebec as well as the meticulous work done by the delegation in order to implement Quebec’s future projects in the U.S. I also had the chance to attend the BIO 2019 Conference in Philadelphia during which thousands of scientists, government officials and business people gathered to discuss biotechnology and related topics.
My time at the DGQNY definitely shaped my career ambitions by providing me with new career paths that I had never thought of. In addition, it boosted my desire to pursue a career in diplomacy and to realize what topics I am most interested in. Being in contact with professionals in different fields was eye-opening on the variety of career paths available for me after McGill. This internship was also valuable to me as I learned more about ethics, team work and integrity in an office setting.
The funding that I received to complete this internship was absolutely essential in order for me to be relieved from the financial burden such a trip could create and to focus on being the best intern possible. Providing students with funding when they go abroad is incredibly helpful in order to close the wealth gap that can close some doors to students. The Faculty of Arts Internship Award made a great difference for me and covered the majority of my expenses in New York City.
I would like to personally thank Ms. Antonia Maioni for her very generous donation that was crucial to the conduct of my internship. Ms. Maioni’s generosity helped me realize one of my dreams. I was able to go abroad, discover new horizons and learn more about what I love most without worrying about financial issues. I am also grateful to the AIO for their support and their advice throughout this summer.