Student Blog: Interning at the Canadian Embassy
let the countdown begin!
by Cyle Petersen '10
The end is coming near here in Washington, but the workload definitely isn't letting up yet. As my boss promised me, July would be very busy as Congress attempts to push through as much legislation as possible before the August recess. I have enjoyed it though because I have gotten to go to more and more hearings that are pretty interesting.
Monday I came into work early so I could get a jump start on the report that I had to write from one of the hearings I went to the week before. Now that I have written a few of these reports they are a lot quicker, especially since they are only supposed to be a page or two. I got done with the report and then got working on more boring database entries. Being so smart, I finished the list that I had been given a week or two prior and notified one of my bosses in the department that I was done and asked her, just to appear gung-ho, if she had any other committees for me to include. Of course, there were four more large committees that I now am in the middle of updating in this database! It's okay though because when it's a little slower in the office it gives me busy work to do. The rest of the day was pretty routine, including a dreadful 3 hour class at night. I am going to love getting back to Catawba and 50 or 75 minute
classes! I studied a bit after class before I went to bed because we had a midterm coming up on Friday.
Tuesday I was assigned to go to a hearing with one of the trade officers in another department. Following his lead, I met him in the lobby only half an hour prior to the start of the hearing, which is very little time, especially if it's a busy hearing, which this one was. We got to the Senate office building and found a line down the whole hallway. The trade official I was with left right away because he didn't have time to wait in such a big line, but I had to stay and eventually made my way into the overflow room in which they set up a big screen TV for the rest of us to watch the hearing on. I took notes on the hearing and then went back to the office and read the chairwoman's opening remarks which I had missed because of the time it took the staff to set up the TV in the overflow room. After I made notes on that I got started on the report and had it finished by the time I had to leave to get back to campus. I attempted
to stop at the grocery store on the way home since I didn't have to be back until 7PM, which is a rarity. I have tried going to this grocery store several times and have gotten lost every time, this time was no different. After wandering aimlessly for about half an hour I decided to scrap the idea altogether and proceeded to the bus stop to get back to campus. I got back, made something to eat and then went to our weekly lecture, which was a roundtable discussion about healthcare. It was pretty interesting to get inside perspectives on the healthcare crisis and reform that is currently going on, and I learned some things I didn't know about the causes of the main problems. A little more studying and then I was off to bed!
Wednesday morning I got to the office a few minutes earlier than normal because I had a 10AM hearing to go and I had to drop off my stuff before I walked over to The Hill to get in line. This hearing was much less crowded than the other one I had gone to earlier in the week and I was one of the first in line. It was about competition in the healthcare sector, which built off the lecture from the night before. Since only a handful of Senators attended this hearing, it went pretty quick and I stayed for the whole hearing, for the first time ever! It was about noon when it ended so I headed over to get something to eat. I had been waiting for a day when I would have a morning hearing so I could go to this restaurant I had been wanting to go to on The Hill. One of the past competitors on the TV show Top Chef has a burger place right near the Capitol building and I'm a Food Network junkie so I had to try it. Long story short ... best
burger I've ever eaten. Good choice by me. I was walking back to the Canadian Embassy and ran into the other intern in my department who was also at a hearing so we walked back together. Since the Minister in our department wasn't into work that day it was pretty relaxed and half of the rest of the afternoon was spent talking with the other people in the department. The head Minister at the Embassy, which is the position right below the Ambassador, was having a catered buffet dinner for all of the interns that night at his place, so I decided to skip class and take advantage of some good free food! I got to the Minister's loft, which was a converted old school house, and was mesmerized. All his furniture and stuff was so nice and that was just the main floor. There was a two-storey flight of stairs up the one side of the room and that led to a private rooftop that overlooked the whole city, especially the Capitol. It
was definitely the nicest view I've seen in a while. I was happy I made the choice to skip a 3 hour class and go to the intern dinner. I got home at about 10:30, which is way past my DC bedtime so I wasted no time getting to bed. So much for studying for my midterm coming up in 2 days!
On Thursday morning the intern coordinator at the Embassy had a tour of the Library of Congress planned for all the interns, so we walked over and spent the morning there. It was very interesting and not what I expected at all. I didn't realize the architecture and décor was so historic and symbolic, which I learned through the random facts and symbolism our tour guide pointed out. I returned to the Embassy with the other intern and got busy with some database stuff until lunch. For lunch I decided to go exploring and wandered into Chinatown and found a new spot to eat. I had a report to finish from a hearing I watched online earlier in the week before I left so the afternoon was spent doing that, with random study breaks in between spurts of actual productivity. I left work a few minutes before 5 so I could escape rush hour and get back to campus for my class at 6. Luckily Thursdays are when our class is only an hour and
a half instead of 3 hours, which may still seem long compared to normal Catawba classes, but seem short compared to the regular classes here. The rest of the night I spent studying the endless pages of notes in preparation for my midterm the next morning.
I woke up two hours early on Friday to go through all my notes one more time and by the time 9 o'clock came around I was so ready to just get the test over with. It was a lot of test to fit into an hour and a half so I wrote as fast I could for the whole time just to get done. The worst part was after the test we still had to sit through another hour and a half of class! When class finally ended, I was in desperate need of some relaxation. I ran a few errands and then met up with some friends that I had met since being here for weekend festivities. It's amazing to think that I've already been here for 6 weeks and only have two weeks left now! Summer has been flying by, probably because I hardly have 10 minutes to spare throughout the week. I've been enjoying my time here a lot but am excited and ready to get back to Catawba as well!