This past year, two current NJC’21 students were selected for internships at the Canadian Embassy in Switzerland. Recently our Canadian office interviewed them about their experiences.
When the Head of School approached the Class of 2021 about the possibility of doing an internship, two students were particularly excited. Julia recognized the unique opportunity of getting to work with the Embassy while still in high school, and jumped on the chain to gain international work experience. Oscar was drawn to the prospect of working with a prominent organization: “I was looking forward to applying what I have learned (in previous roles) and practicing it in a much more important setting”.
As a part of their internships, both students completed a number of projects, in which they analyzed the impact of Canadian investment on the Swiss economy. Julia - who was initially hired in the Fall - conducted a review of current Canadian businesses in Switzerland. Her second project involved analyzing the Swiss education sector, and creating a market report about international students in Switzerland. Although the specific topics of her projects were not directly related to Julia’s academic or professional interests, she found “talking with embassy officials and finding out what they do... very exciting”, especially since International Relations (as a career path) was already on her radar! In December, Oscar was hired for a second project which involved analyzing the Swiss Healthcare system. Oscar hopes to eventually study business and pursue a MBA, and realizes that his internship at the Embassy allowed him to gain valuable work experience.
Both students credit the internship with helping them become better prepared for University. Being able to do the internships virtually allowed them the flexibility to complete the work during times that fit best with their full NJC schedules. Both students discussed the importance of time management and practicing “self regulation”. Julia noted how it was challenging at first, especially because her first project deadline “fell simultaneously with the most intense week of the semester”. Similarly, Oscar described how he learned early on that it’s important to “budget your time appropriately” and to start projects early; “it’s better to have a lot of time at the end (of the project) then to have to cram it all in at the last minute”. Fortunately, both of them were able to adjust to the demands of their busy schedules, and this enabled them to make the most of their internships and appreciate the valuable experience they were gaining.
As they wrap up their projects with the Embassy, Julia and Oscar turn their focus towards their other commitments - focusing on their final Grade 12 courses and being leaders in the NJC student community. Along with interning at the Embassy, they also work together in the Model United Nations club. At their latest conference in Basel, Switzerland, both received awards as notable delegates at the conference (Julia - “Honourable Mention” - and Oscar - “Best Delegate in Crises”). It is without a doubt that no matter where these two end up, they will continue to make the NJC community proud!
To learn more about extracurricular experiences offered at NJC, visit our “Step Outside” page.
Neuchâtel Junior College offers the unique opportunity to study Canadian curriculum abroad. While living in Switzerland in a French community, students enjoy an international education through travel and experiential learning in Europe. Gap year and Grade 12 high school students gain international experience and develop independence and life skills that prepare them for university and the global workplace.
A Canadian high school in Switzerland | Grade 12 & Gap
Neuchâtel Junior College Crêt-Taconnet 4 2002 Neuchâtel, Switzerland 011.41.32.722.1860 (from North America)