Consulate General of Canada in Chicago

The Consulate General of Canada in Chicago, established in 1947, is a Canadian diplomatic mission which is part of a network of Canadian missions in the United States that includes 12 Consulates General and the Embassy in Washington D.C. The Chicago Consulate represents the Canadian government in the states of Illinois, Missouri, and Wisconsin. The region is a significant trade region for Canada, with bilateral trade between Canada and the three states valued at 87.5 billion dollars each year. The mission is headed by Canada’s highest-ranking diplomat in the Midwest, Consul General Roy Norton. The internship will focus for 6 weeks on work in international business development (IBD) and 6 weeks in foreign policy and diplomacy service (FPDS). Interns will also be exposed to other areas of work conducted at the mission, including consular services and academic and cultural relations. The intern will gain insight into how the different sections of the Consulate function together to advance Canadian priorities in the United States.


Past Interns

2016 Summer Intern: Aliya Bery, U2, BA Economics

Aliya is an Arts student pursuing a major in Economics and a double minor in World Religions and Marketing. She is VP logistics on the Montreal World Health Organization Simulation secretariat and loves hearing debates on global affairs. Aliya has played basketball her whole life and has a huge passion for it which she has carried on at McGill by participating as an intramural player and referee. In her free time, she loves to play and watch sports, hang out with friends, go dancing, travel and try new restaurants and cuisines. She hopes to either work in international business development or as a brand manager for a sports team! 

Reach Aliya aliya.bery [at] mail.mcgill.ca (here).

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I first looked at ION for an internship because I was seeking international experience while gaining valuable experience in my field. For my particular internship I worked with the Consulate General of Canada in Chicago within the Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS) and International Business Development (IBD) departments. I was particularly drawn to this internship as it was a balance between numerous of my interests, specifically public affairs and advocacy coupled with international business development and trade and investment. As I was unsure of which path I preferred for a career, I chose this internship as it would help me gain insight into which field I was more passionate about working in.

The Consulate General of Canada in Chicago, established in 1947, is a Canadian diplomatic mission which is part of a network of Canadian missions in the United States that includes 12 Consulates General and the Embassy in Washington D.C. The Chicago Consulate represents the Canadian government in the states of Illinois, Missouri, and Wisconsin. The mission was headed by Consul General Roy Norton however half way through my internship he was appointed as Chief of Protocol in Ottawa. My colleagues in the office are what made this internship as incredible as it was. I have never felt so warmly welcomed and taken care of. The relationships I built were by far one of the most treasured parts and highlights of my time in Chicago.

As an intern with the FPDS department I was responsible for assisting public affairs officers to prepare for and report on programs, including meetings, events and conferences. This included the Consulates annual Canada Day event in St Louis, MO and a dinner hosted by the Consulate for the Council of State Government at the 71st Annual Midwestern Legislative Conference (MLC). I provided logistical support such as helping to create Canada-US and Canada-Midwest States themed handouts complete with statistics related to trade, energy, jobs and other state interests. One of the most interesting experiences was getting to attend the MLC in Milwaukee and observe how legislative conferences are run and sit in on certain panel discussions. Further, I assisted with the creation of advocacy communication products and the development of social media campaigns for the Consulate, including handling the Twitter and Facebook feeds as well as creating the monthly newsletter. I also conducted research on potential outreach and advocacy programs for the Consul General.

As an intern with the IBD department I assisted trade commissioners to prepare for programs, including trade shows and conferences as well as respond to basic requests from Canadian clients. I also had the privilege of attending outcalls with clients and gained a comprehensive overview of the FDI process. For my major project I conducted in-depth market research study on the Financial Technology (Fintech) sector of Canadian-Midwest trade and compiled an extensive report with target company recommendations that I presented to senior management. Within this project I performed a detailed Fintech industry analysis complete with growing trends and segments. Further, I analyzed and identified new targets in the Fintech market for Canadian FDI opportunities and economic outcomes. The highlight of working in this department was putting together a physical product that will be used by the consulate and the trade commissioner service across the US. This was a very rewarding experience and something that I was proud to have accomplished. By doing this I was able to learn about a whole new industry and was finally able to contextualize and understand the larger picture of what the IBD department and trade commissioner service does for Canada.

I think one of the biggest learning experiences I had during this internship was living in a new city and not knowing anyone for the first time. Learning the skills to adapt and make a new place your home while also working is invaluable and one of the major reasons I strongly encourage every student to do something similar. Being able to cultivate strong relationships that you rely on and get to immerse yourself into the culture and community of another city is an experience that can not be replaced by anything else. One of the biggest things I noticed, that I didn’t expect, was the difference between Canadian and American culture. Although the differences are very nuanced there is certainly a difference that one can only understand once living in both places. I highly recommend doing an internship of this sort if you are considering a career in the USA – you will get a feel for the work culture and how society functions.

I am doing this internship for credit and will be writing a research paper comparing the growth and existence of the Fintech sector of Canada-US trade and investment with the Fintech trade and investment relationship between two developing nations. My supervising professor is Francesco Amodio from the Economics Department.

Finally, I couldn’t talk about this internship without thanking Mr. Joseph Shull and Ms. Anna Yang for funding my award money. This award helped me pay for rent, health insurance and airfare. Without this money I probably would not have been able to take part in this incredible experience!

Aliya at the sign-in table for the dinner hosted by the Consulate at the 71st Annual Midwestern Legislative Conference in Milwaukee. Aliya decorated and set up the venue, organized the AV, and created a jeopardy game to use as an icebreaker during the event.