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Noah Hollis: GG Internship Blog 1

TRAVEL BLOG

Noah Hollis

Noah

 

Four years ago, I was sitting in my high school biology classroom in Halifax, Canada trying to decide which university would prepare me best to become a doctor. I wasn’t the strongest at biology, or really any science, but I was convinced it would be the best option to fulfill my goal of helping others.

After working in the Canadian election in 2015 during my senior year in high school, I fell in love with international relations. I came into the view that you cannot understand Canada without understanding how transnational movements and events affect it. After graduating, I packed my bags and moved across the country to Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, to begin my bachelor’s degree in Global Politics. Today, I am writing this travel blog for the Global Greens sitting in a café in Härnösand, Sweden: a town six hours north of Stockholm of about 17 000 people (and I don’t speak a word of Swedish!).

As part of my degree, I opted to complete an internship during a semester abroad. I approached Elizabeth May, the Leader of the Green Party of Canada, who I volunteer with on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and asked her for internship placement recommendations. One thing led to another and I was booking my flights to Sweden to work with the Global Greens Secretariat.

I was worried at first: I had never travelled by myself so far away from home, and definitely not for so long. I knew, however, that that would make it a good opportunity for self-reflection and personal development. And it was tough when I first got here. The joy of exploring a new country is interesting. It can last forever, but at some point, you start to think about everything, and more importantly, everyone you’re missing back home. I had also never lived in a small town before, so Härnösand at first seemed confining for me.

I’ve been here for three weeks now and I can say first impressions are not everything. Härnösand is small but beautiful. The Green community here is so kind and eager to help, inviting me to join in their activities like their weekly #FridaysForFuture rally. It has been fascinating to learn how much an electoral system can impact the success of Green parties: while the Green community in Canada faces an election system that overwhelmingly favours the traditional parties, the electoral system in Sweden allows the Greens to pick up a proportional amount of seats and to grow as a national movement. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet two Green cabinet ministers here (Amanda Lind and Gustav Fridolin), something I never thought I would get to see in 2019!

In the Global Greens, I’ve taken on a much more active role than most student interns get to experience. I am leading our European Elections Mobilization Campaign, which works to get expatriates to vote in the upcoming European Parliament elections. While this is a big responsibility, I’m so fortunate to have such fantastic role models in the Secretariat as a support system.

I can travel the country on a rail system that actually works (take notes, Canada!) and it’s especially interesting to see architecture that is older than the late 1800s. I’ve toured museums, viewed art galleries, and attended live music performances all across Scandinavia that have helped to develop my cultural understanding of the region. The rich history of Scandinavia is one most Canadian students will never get to experience, so I am making sure to soak it all in before I leave.

This is not everything I expected, and that’s a good thing. It’s the spontaneity of the journey that makes this internship so engaging for me. I strongly encourage students to get out and explore the world through an internship like this: the skills you develop and the friends you make will last a lifetime.

I never expected that this is where I would be at 20 years old and in my third year of university. But I couldn’t be more excited to see where this adventure will go next.

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