Six months in the lives of five ICAO interns

It really is tough when internships come to an end - we've been very lucky. We never want to say goodbye (we get attached) but we are very excited that we are currently recruiting candidates for a new round of internships. Links for more information can be found at the end of this article.


We had five new interns join ICAO’s Product Management Team at ICAO during the pandemic.  Through their internships with us, young professionals are able to explore careers in different areas of a civil aviation regulatory environment.  We look for energetic, motivated candidates who have strong communication and interpersonal skills and demonstrate their willingness to learn. Following their recruitments, Caitlin, Chahinez, Jose, Lina and Nam began their six-month journalism and marketing internships. Though Montreal serves as ICAO’s home base, because of public health thresholds related to COVID-19 at the time, many of them were able to work remotely from where they were stationed outside of Canada. These interns used their diverse backgrounds and experiences to significantly impact every project they worked on. As their internships came to a close, we asked them to share their thoughts on their time with ICAO and transcribed what they had to say here.  

Caitlin: What I appreciated most about my time at ICAO was the blend of learning opportunities and the community-building it provided. Collaborating with the other interns and seeing the different skills they brought to the table, from copywriting to video editing, was rewarding. Some of the most memorable moments from the internship were those created outside of our traditional working hours. On one of those days we filmed a video for a competition between the other teams in our unit and not only was that a lot of fun, but we got to showcase our skills in producing it. 

Chahinez: ​​One of my favorite moments was the visit to ICAO headquarters in downtown Montreal. Before the internship started, I would pass by the ICAO building and always wondered what it was like inside.  Because the organization was working remotely, when we did visit the building, we were able to see the different conference rooms where ICAO holds its events.  

Throughout my internship as a Journalism and Marketing intern, I have been able to work on various projects that included editing, writing, and even publishing my own articles on this blog. I crafted social media posts and helped with marketing campaigns. Interning at ICAO and collaborating with my team for the past six months were rewarding experiences. I did not have a background in aviation before starting at ICAO so I knew from the beginning that I would learn so much about this industry. With COVID-19 heavily impacting aviation, I discovered how vital ICAO’s work is to the industry’s recovery. I am also proud to have contributed to the Organization’s work by raising awareness about many of these contributions, such as promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

Lina: I agree. The orientation tour of ICAO headquarters was such a unique opportunity; I was very excited about that. Aesthetically it’s a beautiful and impressive building, but what it represents for civil aviation and our city, makes it a Montreal landmark. To get a tour of the building and see where a lot of civil aviation decision-making takes place, was surreal. 

For me, it was the combination of projects and experiences that we worked on individually and as a team that made this the fulfilling experience that it was. This internship was very special because I worked for an airline for many years and was familiar with ICAO’s role and responsibilities in the industry. Now that the sector is going through its most turbulent time in history, it was extra special to learn about the efforts, initiatives, and technologies that could be game-changing in its recovery. To have contributed in some way makes me extremely appreciative of the opportunity and proud to have been part of it.

It was also particularly cool that ICAO’s new Secretary-General, Mr. Juan Carlos Salazar, began his mandate soon after we started our internship. We got to virtually attend his welcoming hall meeting and learn about him as a person and about his vision and approach as the industry slowly bounces back. 

Jose: Well, it’s incredibly hard to choose just one thing that stood out to me the most from the last six months. Every single day at ICAO has been full of interesting projects that have allowed me to learn and grow as a journalist and a marketer. Some of them have been quickly used, and some have had to be archived, but that has also been part of the learning curve–there is a time and a place for everything. 

As Caitlin and Chahinez mentioned, one of my favorite memories was the team retreat we had. This was the first time I met the team (or most of them), and I can sincerely say that the people I got to work with have been the highlight of it all. Everyone in the team is brilliant, dedicated and, most of all, incredibly kind. You don’t always find a group of people that have each other’s backs as much as my PTM unit, whether you were an intern or the boss. 

ICAO has been a (virtual) space that I’ve been lucky to work in, and I will always cherish what I’ve done here, the people I have met, and the memories!

Nam: I agree with all of these thoughts. This internship has been a valuable experience. As Jose said, the biggest value of this internship is that I worked with incredible team members from different backgrounds who are not only talented in their fields, but respectful individuals who brought laughs and smiles to the meetings every day. With their sincere, professional feedback on projects, I was motivated to work harder to bring better-than-expected results. Everyone valued my skill sets and character and that made me feel comfortable in the working environment, which boosted my morale to push harder, to bring an even better outcome. I am lucky to have met the team and cannot express how grateful I am working every day at ICAO with so many talented people. I learn every day from them.

As a digital marketing intern, I worked on many different projects. I created weekly social media posts and email marketing campaigns and I made videos and monitored the campaign results for the ones we launched during the internship. Every project that I worked on was valuable, but if I had to choose my favorite project that I worked on, I would say it was the ICAO TV trailer I created. Working with one of the senior designers, we started from a blank space and built the trailer by pitching in ideas and core concepts to make the video that we envisioned. We created all the assets in the video from scratch and took an extended amount of time to complete the project, so I’m very proud of my work on it. 

Jose: It’s true that every meeting and every project was met with constructive feedback delivered in a caring way. The clear objective of everyone in the team who was working with us was always to help us grow and learn as professionals.  This is why the projects we worked on, and as you say, Nam, especially the ones we started from scratch, were imbued with meaning and, sometimes, even sentimentality. Our assignments were never “keep-them-busy work.” 

Caitlin: I agree, Jose, the work we were assigned was always intended to help us grow professionally, to ensure we learn a new skill, something about the aviation industry, or something that would enhance our areas of interest. These were important projects we got to work on. Even though we were interns, we were respected as permanent members of the team and were given trust in what we produced. I would truly recommend this internship to anyone who is interested in the work that ICAO does as well as those who are passionate copywriters, journalists, video editors, marketers, and the list goes on. Time spent as an ICAO journalism and marketing intern is time well spent. 

ICAO is right now recruiting interns! Though we are right now looking for Journalism, Digital Marketing and Graphic Design Interns to work on the kinds of projects these five interns worked on; there are many opportunities that are available on the ICAO vacancy site.

The small print at the end, with a note from the team: we were so appreciative of all of you for your service and professionalism. We very much enjoyed working with you over those six months – we appreciated your dedication and hard work as much as we appreciated the energy and enthusiasm you brought to the team. We wish you the very best in your careers and have been thrilled to hear where your journeys have taken you!