Trudy Coates

Trudy Coates

Lantzville intern compares local government to German system

NANAIMO – German post-secondary student working as an intern for the District of Lantzville.

International internships can be a great opportunity for post-secondary students to gain real-life working experience all while getting the chance to explore a new country.

And that’s exactly the case for Heidi Hahn, a student from the University of Applied Sciences in Ludwigsburg, Germany.

During the next three months, Hahn will be working as an management intern for the District of Lantzville alongside Trudy Coates, the district’s director of corporate administration, where Hahn will learn about day-to-day operations and complete tasks such as bylaw indexes and drafting council agendas.

Hahn’s first day was March 1. She said she is looking forward to how municipalities work in Canada.

“I hope that I learn something about local government in Canada so that I can compare it to Germany,” she said. “It is very interesting to see the differences.”

Among the differences between the two countries is the number of councillors a town or municipalities have. Hahn said in Germany a town with the population similar to Lantzville’s would have around 12 to 14 councillors.

“We have more councillors here,” she said. “For example in Germany we have eight up to 60 councillors but it depends on the population of the city.”

As part of Hahn’s requirement to graduate, she must complete a three-month internship in another country. Her pathway to Lantzville began a couple of years ago when she applied to the Town of Qualicum Beach.

However, when it was discovered that Qualicum was not taking any more interns, Coates, who previously worked for Qualicum and has previously worked with interns, stepped in and hired Hahn.

It’s the first time Lantzville has had an intern in this capacity, according to Coates.

“We know that it is a quality program,” Coates said.

Hahn, who is impressed with the beauty surrounding Lantzville, said she prefers working in smaller communities versus the big city because public administration work is more hands on.

“When you work in a smaller community you have more variety of tasks,” she said. “In a bigger community you only have one task that you have to do.”

Hahn is hoping to land a job in public administration after she graduates.