Accommodation and Living
Housing was less expensive than Vancouver and relatively easy to find close to the city as it is a student city. Roommates are common and I would recommend finding a roommate as it helps with integration.
Day to Day
Officially, I am a commercial relations/trade intern. As Düsseldorf is a small team, I assist the trade commissioners and consular team with their duties. This involves assisting clients import and export with Germany and connecting clients to the right contacts. I have spent time working at the reception, taking phone calls for consular clients, accepting mail and doing other administrative tasks as well as performing research for the consular team on an as-needed basis when clients of the consulates are in need of certain information.
For the trade team, I conduct research on a variety of topics and attend virtual conferences. I have written reports on specific topics and have also organized and hosted a fun trivia evening alongside other interns to support mental health at work. I also produced visual content for the virtual Canada Day platform. I have helped coordinate and plan training sessions and am an active member of the diversity and inclusion committee. Daily tasks of the position vary greatly, and a curiosity and willingness to try everything are important. The tasks I do are not the same necessarily as during pre- COVID-19 times.
Accomplishments and Challenges
The main challenge I have faced is regarding moving to a new city during a pandemic and trying to make friends. With many social avenues being shut off, it has been difficult to make meaningful connections in a natural way. Facebook groups and walks with people I meet through these groups have proven to be effective, however.
Social and Extracurricular Activities
I was able to make valuable connections/networks while abroad. I made very meaningful connections within the Canadian Government that can help me in the future and have formed friendships and connections with local German staff. This requires some outreach on my part, but everyone is very friendly and inviting.