Mannkal Economic Education Foundation

Mannkal Student Internship Blog

Institute for Liberal Studies

Nick Vernon | Week 5: And… the results are in!

Nick Vernon, 25 July 2016

Canadian Parliament, Ottawa.

I had such a blast last week, but I was glad nonetheless to be back in Ottawa. It has been such a fantastic experience so far, and I could not be more grateful to Mannkal for giving me this opportunity.

We got a measure of the outcomes of Freedom Week in Vancouver in the form of survey results. The ILS surveys participants before and after Freedom Week to understand how their views change during the program. I was not particularly surprised to see the results taken before the program: the students were socially progressive, but generally more unsure or illiberal on economic issues. At the end of the program, the average response to each question had become more liberal. The standout changes were on war, privatisation and views on ‘capitalism’. Students came out of the program more averse to overseas military intervention, more in favour of privatising postal services, and more favourable to capitalism as a means to improve the lot of poor people. The biggest, and arguably most important, change was that the students became more opinionated! Rather than responding ‘unsure’ to many questions, the students were more likely to take a stance on the issues. I take this as the outcome of a week of hearing both liberal perspectives and arguments against these.

I (finally) finished Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom this week. I find it surprising it took me so long to get hold of some Milton Friedman, given how influential he has been on the economics of the past decades. He remains one of the best communicators of economic ideas available today. The ILS have provided me with so many attractive books I cannot wait to read. Just this week, Matt provided me with a copy of Jane Jacobs’ The Economy of Cities, and Pierre Desrochers’ The Locavore’s Dilemma (In Praise of the 10,000-Mile Diet).

The site of Liberty Summer Seminar 2016, in rural Ontario.

This weekend I went rural! Sort of. I camped at the 2016 Liberty Summer Seminar, held at an Ontarian ranch. This was the sixteenth LSS, a tradition that was inherited by the ILS a few years ago. It was at the 2006 seminar that the founding of the Institute for Liberal Studies was announced in public. The speakers were fantastic, including Wendy McElroy, who has been an anarchist for the past five decades and was friends with Murray Rothbard, and Pierre Desrochers, who co-authored the book The Locavore’s Dilemma I mentioned above. A later addition was Joanna Szurmak, who argued (with Pierre) that patent regimes can often hinder innovation and creativity.

Joanna Szurmak speaking on creativity and innovation at LSS 2016.

It’s hard to think I only have two weeks left in Canada. I will be so sad to leave, but how am I going to get through all the new books I have other than with the 30-hour trip home!

Some anarchists enjoying Sunday morning at Liberty Summer Seminar 2016.

P.S. We were joined at Liberty Summer Seminar by two special guests. See the photo above.

Nick Vernon | Week 4: Vancouver to Vegas

Nick Vernon, 20 July 2016

Vancouver, British Columbia

Taking a break from Freedom Week on Burnaby Mountain, British Columbia.

The ILS’s Freedom Week at Simon Fraser University was a fantastic experience.

I was able to experience the incredible city of Vancouver. I met renowned professors of law and economics from across North America. I saw the mountains and bay from the heights of Burnaby Mountain.

Dr Jennifer Dirmeyer from Ferris State, Michigan, could not have made her point clearer: the market is amazing. It’s easy to become bored with the market. The things you see every day seem ordinary. What seems ordinary, it is tempting to take for granted. And for what you take for granted, you may exaggerate the negatives. Dr Dirmeyer wanted the Freedom Week students to take on a bit of her enthusiasm: free exchange is the best thing to happen to humanity ever, because it allows billions of people to coordinate and cooperate without even knowing one another.

Thomas Bell (JD) from Chapman University in California presented his insight on the nature of law. Rather than focusing on law as solely the instrument of the state, he suggested that we may describe law as polycentric. The law established and enforced by the state is not the only law that people choose to follow. Bell encouraged us to think about social, religious, and other conventions that people choose to follow. Laws can be created by any group or person, it just depends whether anybody chooses to follow them.

Glenn Fox from the University of Guelph, outside of Toronto, gave introductions to free market environmentalism and Austrian economics, topics often treated with great skepticism. He drew a distinction between political and free market environmentalism. The former tends to focus on feeling good, whereas the latter tends towards making the most of imperfect circumstances. Key themes he associated with Austrian economics are: the subjective theory of value (value comes from the consumer’s valuation); the distributed nature of knowledge; and, (voluntary and invisible) social coordination rather than efficiency.

Dr Erik Kimbrough, from SFU, ran a simulated double auction with real money incentives. The results were astounding. Kimbrough had calculated all of the potential gains from trade given our (arbitrary) values and costs. In the first round, we achieved 92% of these potential gains. In the third, we achieved 98%. In the second, we faced a price ceiling. We achieved only two thirds of the possible gains from trade, and the number of trades that occurred dropped significantly.

On Tuesday, we walked up Burnaby mountain. The views of the mountains across the water were incredible, it was an honestly humbling experience.

On Wednesday afternoon, I went into the city with friends to explore Granville Island and Yaletown. We were loud and laughed a lot. We had craft beer in Granville, sushi in Yaletown and (my first ever) Dairy Queen in the downtown. I have to say, I completely understand North America’s obesity issues after trying one of their Blizzards. That treat is a work of pure evil and delight.

Exploring Vancouver on the Wednesday afternoon.

On Thursday, I left for San Francisco, where I caught a connecting flight to Las Vegas. The free market delighted me yet again with a burrito restaurant right outside my gate at SFO. I arrived in Nevada close to 11pm, and at Planet Hollywood Resort by midnight. It was great to be reunited with the other North American Mannkal scholars: I’d missed them!

Las Vegas, Nevada

In The Venetian

Standing on a bridge within The Venetian in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas is proof that people are willing to go anywhere to get cheaper booze and gamble. It’s an arid city to which regular people come to feel like stars.

After a day of listening to interesting talks on Austrian and development economics, a particularly lively debate on the pros and cons of having a President Trump, and Gary Johnson and Bill Weld making a pitch for why they can and should win the election in November, we went out on the town. We had burgers for dinner at a Gordon Ramsey-branded restaurant, and then took a stroll along the Strip. The general plan was to head to see the Venetian and then go to the top of the Stratosphere. Unexpectedly – although I don’t know why I didn’t expect this – the stroll took 3 hours, and entailed more than one literal rollercoaster.

The Mid-Year North American Mannkal Scholars with FEE's Jeffrey Tucker.

The city is, quite frankly, insane. The ceiling of the Paris Hotel’s casino depicts the sky of a perpetually beautiful Summer day. We followed this ceiling through the Paris Resort all the way to The Venetian on the other side of the Strip. The excess is astounding, unlike anything outside of a theme park, but brings with it a good deal of charm.

The next day, after more networking and seminars, we attended the FreedomFest Gala. I have never seen so many libertarians in one room, in this case the Celebrity Ballroom of Planet Hollywood. I loved Vegas, though by the end I was looking forward to returning to Ottawa!

Nick Vernon | Week 3: Reading Groups and Vegans

Nick Vernon, 11 July 2016

The past Sunday in Ottawa was one of the nicest days I have ever experienced, and I spent most of it outdoors. I walked across the Alexandra Bridge to Île d’Hull, Québec, to see the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Suddenly, the proportion of French speakers rose from a quarter to about three quarters of the people I came across. Aside from its sometimes strange accents, being in Québec felt like being in France again. The Quebeckers share more than just language with France; the provincial government is severely indebted and the economy is slowing under the burden of pointless regulations, but alcohol is comparatively cheap because it is one of the few industries for which taxes and regulation are low! I spent the afternoon looking at indigenous totem poles, basking in the sun across the river from Parliament Hill, and conversing in French with locals.

It was a busy week at the ILS, as we made the final preparations for Freedom Week in Vancouver. We also hosted a number of university professors on Wednesday and Thursday, with Michael Thomas from Creighton University (Nebraska) presenting on reading groups. Personally, I was inspired! The idea is not to have a group of ideologues reading libertarian books and echoing one another at every meeting. Instead, the idea is to get engaged people from diverse backgrounds to discuss questions and books relating to liberty. Thomas gave the example of how the reading group he directs at Creighton is reading Sarah Conly’s “Against Autonomy” in the coming semester. He is getting his students to read one of the fiercest and most acclaimed defenses of paternalism in recent years, because books that challenge your way of thinking are the best books to read.

The past few days have involved tasks and ideas that I’ve never really encountered before. It is incredibly useful to have these experiences at this age, because they shape you into a more productive person in the future.

On Friday I discovered an organic supermarket and café near work. I am definitely not a subscriber to the ‘organic’ movement, but the fact is that organic businesses almost always have some amazing vegetarian options. (I made the individual decision to be vegetarian about four years ago.) I often wonder about vegetarianism and free markets. It tends to be the case that vegetarians are more ‘left’, but to me this is somewhat ironic. Whenever I go to a vegetarian restaurant, I take a second to think about the mechanism that has brought my smoked tofu and me together: the free market. Individuals who put themselves in the minority by choice (vegetarians like myself, or the religious) find a natural friend in free commerce. If you have the money, someone will generally produce what you want to purchase, whether it be kombucha or halal lamb shanks. If you live in the USSR, there’s one kind of sausage at the shop, and it (probably) has meat in it. This is an extreme case, but vegetarian alternatives are not free from interference in modern food markets. In Canada and in the EU, producers cannot sell milk alternatives as “milk” thanks to bolshie dairy industry lobbies. Branding may seem like a fringe issue, but consumers should really be the ones to decide these things. Any confusion is too insignificant to merit this regulation. One of the biggest free market advocates in the Unites States today is John Mackey, the co-founder of Whole Foods Market (WFM). Whole Foods is one of the world’s most successful organic and vegan-friendly supermarkets. I’ll see him speak next week at FreedomFest in Las Vegas.

James (the other Mannkal Scholar in Ottawa) and I braced stormy weather on Saturday, but managed nonetheless to be productive. Where we live is right between the bustling restaurant district of Elgin Street and the beautiful Rideau Canal, so we always have things to do when the work subsides. On Sunday, I walked to the Canadian Museum of Nature (le musée canadien de la nature), where I found accurate models of moose, grizzlies and other iconic Canadian animals. Despite being caught in a swarm of children (I blame the museum’s current exhibition on dinosaurs), it was awesome to see these animals (or, rather, lifelike representations). I have spent the end of this week packing. I’m off to Vancouver early on Monday for a student conference run by the Institute for Liberal Studies, followed by Las Vegas!

Till next week!

Nick Vernon | Week 2: And Canada Day!

Nick Vernon, 4 July 2016

What a week!

I had my first proper day at the office on Monday, and launched right into one of the most (if not the most) critical operations of a think tank: fundraising. Non-profits like the Institute for Liberal Studies need solid financial bases, and that means making sure donors know you exist and know that the work you do is making a difference.

Another project I’m working on is an upcoming debate with Cardus, an Ottawan think tank looking at policy from a Christian faith perspective. It’s always interesting to see where faith and classical liberalism overlap and clash, so I’m looking forward to this! I may actually be one of the debaters.

Friday was Canada Day, and I had a blast! True, it could have done without the torrential rain in the early evening, but that hardly dampened the atmosphere. Everyone seemed to be out in the streets celebrating one of the freest countries on the planet. The very existence of Canada has helped millions of people to flourish, from relatives of mine moving to British Columbia from a life of poverty in Scotland at the start of the 20th century, to the Syrian refugees arriving in Canada in 2016. (Note: Evidence, albeit superficial evidence, of human flourishing can be seen in the photo of me with a “beavertail”.)

Nick Vernon | Week 1

Nick Vernon, 28 June 2016

Waking up to a new city is something I enjoy greatly. Last Wednesday, I did just this in Ottawa, the federal capital of Canada. It is a beautiful city, and is more vibrant than its population alone would suggest. Nonetheless, there is a sleepiness to this city that I like.

My internship at the Institute for Liberal Studies (ILS) began in the best of ways, with the beginning of the think tank’s Summer Fellowship. Each year, the ILS sends a select group of Canadian students to intern at other think tanks around Canada. This Summer, there are 6 fellows: Michelle from McMaster; Leo from McGill; William from Sciences Po; Lauren from UOttawa; Franco from Calgary; and, Caleb from Carleton.

The ILS is managed day-to-day by Matt Bufton and Janet Neilson, two independent thinkers with a real commitment to seeing classical liberal ideas talked about in Canadian universities. They are also really, really nice people.

It’s not all about liberalism: the ILS is a firm advocate for the socratic method, and this is how we began our discussions. Janet is very fond of public choice theory, which, it has to be said, is a really interesting lens through which to look at the way decisions are made in democratic societies. For the uninitiated (as I was until recently), public choice is all about taking economic theory and applying it to politics. We spoke about theory, but also about the conclusions we can draw from public choice. For example, do the criticisms in public choice theory lead us towards principles for how we govern only and not specific policy ends?

It has been a really positive beginning. I’m looking forward to where this is going.

Quentin Wong – ISFLC (Week 8)

Quentin Wong, 29 February 2016

Since when did 8 weeks go by? It just felt like yesterday that I was basking in 30+ degree days in Australia and now suddenly I rejoice whenever the mercury reaches over 0. Needless to say, my return to Australia will be a very warm welcome (pun intended). The cliche is true – time really goes fast when you’re having fun.

We spent the week exploring all the ins and outs of DC. Dan and Sophie from Atlas have been great hosts and have showed us all the hidden gems of DC (and as it is the end of our trip, all the cheap eats!) One thing I would recommend to anyone that visits DC is to befriend someone who works on the hill. If you can’t, know someone that does. What we assumed was simply going to be a tour of The Mall turned out to be a complete behind the scenes private guided tour of the Capitol. Thanks to Tremayne and John for making this happen. To say that I stood once where Barack Obama and the Pope did as they gave their respective state of Union addresses/papal blessings, is something I’ll never forget! A more easily achievable recommendation is hiring a bike and touring around DC yourselves. From the Washington monument to the historic Georgetown, bikes were the cheaper, greener and more efficient way to explore the city. Museums are also a must when one goes to DC. My favourite was the spy museum, which contrary to popular belief is in fact aimed at university students and not little children.

Selfie from the speakers Balcony!

The Canal that cuts through Georgetown

This week myself and the other North American Mannkal Scholars attended the International Students for Liberty Conference here in DC. With more libertarians than those in the free state project – this was the place to be. The opening ceremony felt more like a concert than a conference and the constant stream of notorious B.I.G remixes was something I didn’t expect. I actually began the conference in a private seminar sponsored by Libertyfund. It was intimidating, thought provoking and encouraged critical thinking.

The conference had various breakout sessions and I don’t have enough words to do them any justice. So I’ll concentrate on a poignant moment when I realised why the pursuit of liberty was so important. Yeonmi Park’s recount of her experience escaping North Korea was met with laughs, tears and by the end a standing ovation. To be able to speak so freely about the horrors of what she endured is a testament to her strength and determination for liberty. The session was just what I needed, as to be honest I had become so focused on the specifics I lost track of why the libertarian movement is so important. Other highlights include learning my rights if I’m ever pulled over by a police officer and by pure chance meeting the president of Liberland at the Foreign Policy Breakfast networking event.

Yeonmi Park North Korean Refugee and Human Rights Activist

Now from organising my own entire event to meeting some truly inspirational people, all this could not have happened without the help of Mannkal. I have truly been blessed with this amazing opportunity and want to thank everyone that has helped me along the way. Extended thanks go to Matt and Janet at the ILS, Thomas Sweeny for putting up with me (or was it the other way around) for 2 months, the staff at Mannkal (Paul, Becky, Alex and Ruby), the other North American scholars for making this last week so much fun, and of course Ron Manners – to which without we would have never been able to proudly call ourselves #mannkalscholars15

View from the Speakers Balcony

Quentin Wong – Final Week at the ILS office (Week 7)

Quentin Wong, 22 February 2016

We had first assumed that we were warm, if not actually hot, as we wheeled our suitcases filled with maple syrup paraphernalia for what felt like hours to get to our Air BnB. We were in fact correct in our first assumption as it was 20 degrees. Now that may not sound that warm but to two Australians who have spent the majority of our summer break in the heart of an Ottawa winter – it was paradise. I had forgotten what it felt like to wear a t-shirt outdoors and the comforting warm embrace of a good pair of sneakers. We were now in D.C

My last week in Ottawa begun with a snow storm. With just under 50cm of snowfall  in just one day, Ottawa was suddenly blanketed in white snow. Most mornings this week were spent at local cafes as I tried so desperately to savour every last moment in this city. Even during the snow storm business remained as usual as if nothing had happened, unfortunately the same could not be said about me.

Most snowfall in one day in Ottawa 7/2/16 - previous record was 40.6cm in 1947

With work quietening down as most university students are currently on mid-semester break, I had some time to truly reflect on all that I had achieved these past 2 months. It wasn’t until I was looking outside our window watching what felt like tons of snow falling, that I realised time had passed so quickly. It was only yesterday that I was doing data entry and now I can say I had ran and organised an entire event on a topic I found incredibly interesting. Matt and Janet at the ILS are incredible people that saw my potential from the start and I am incredibly grateful. Thank you for all the people you have introduced me to, the challenging work you assigned me and of course all the food recommendations. I am looking forward to seeing you guys in a week for the ISFL (International Students for Liberty) conference here in DC!

Snow Storm in Ottawa

Now as I try to finish this blog a stack of paper is taunting me. Having been invited to partake in the Liberty Fund round table discussion on Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments I have only a short time to become an expert on the role of ambition in morality. Seemingly impossible, but I just know that there will be some great discussion and I thank the ILS for encouraging me to apply. I am also very excited for the conference itself. Having just finished Yeonmi Park’s book – In Order to Live, I cannot wait to see her in person and just admire everything she has achieved to date. No spoilers, but Yeonmi escaped North Korea and is now a human rights activist. The other speakers (many who I have somehow already met/heard about because of the ILS) are all set to have amazing talks and my only wish is that I could have multiple versions of myself so that I can every session.

Lincoln Memorial

Quentin Wong – 新年快乐 (Week 6)

Quentin Wong, 15 February 2016

With the beginning of this week marking the start of the Lunar New Year I found myself paying respects at a local temple after a much needed Asian feast. To my surprise there were no lion dances, fireworks or fire crackers but instead the quiet hum of chanting and bells which truly gave me a moment to reflect. With my time at the ILS quickly coming to an end it was really great to just think about all that I have achieved as well as pray for the success and good fortune for the New Year. Believing I had such good New Year fortune we decided to go the Casino just over the river in Quebec. Armed with some red packed money (snuck into my suitcase by Mumma Wong), clearly I should have prayed in French because luck was not on my side. That said, meals were half price which more than satisfied the loss suffered at the roulette and blackjack tables.

With this week the ILS was host to four events in four days (the first time since its inception in 2007). It was great to see all our hardwork pay off. With the first event in Toronto, Professor David Henderson discussed the case against foreign military intervention. The second event, How Should Canada Respond to ISIS, was by far the most popular. Held at Carleton University to a packed lecture theatre, Professors Paul Robinson and John Robson debated for and against military intervention. A definite highlight was when I overheard a student say “I’ve never seen two people who have such opposing views have a debate with so much respect”. Both professors produced sound, considerate and justified points that by the event of the night I was questioning even my own stance. The third event was by far my favourite – How Private Property Rights Can Save the Environment.

“My name is Quentin and I have the joy of bringing everyone here tonight. I am currently interning at the ILS but am on loan from Australia. Speaking about Australia, we don’t really have the best track record when it comes to Environmental management. We actually have a new bill about Biodiversity Conservation that practically gives complete discretion to our environment minister and even encourages short term declines in fauna to foster development. Environmental issues are complex and it gives me great pleasure to introduce Professor Bruce Pardy (Environmental Law Professor at Queens University and previous adjudicator and mediator at the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal) to discuss how private property rights, and not government regulation, that can save the Environment” – my opening remarks

It was a refreshing take on environmental rights and it was really rewarding to see this event from beginning to end.

Introducing Professor Bruce Pardy

On Thursday we went to Montreal to hear from Vincent Geloso on Uber and how technology and free markets can work for everyone. It was my third and final visit to Montreal for this trip (but don’t worry I will definitely be back!) Since we drove up I had the chance to visit the Notre-Dame Basilica as well as several famous Montreal bagel stores. With a long weekend just around the corner I plan to have a very restful weekend. I am looking forward to my last week at the ILS before jetting off to DC.

St Viateur Bagel

Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal

Quentin Wong – Cinquième Semaine (Week 5)

Quentin Wong, 8 February 2016

There seldom comes a moment where I wish time would stop. As I sit here in a little café watching people pass by on the stone cobbled streets, whilst slowly sipping from my 3rd coffee for the day, this is one such moment. There is a somewhat irresistible charm that keeps me coming back to la belle province – Quebec.

This week Matt had sent me off to Montreal to attend a lecture on bottom-up federalism hosted by the Research Group on Constitutional Studies at McGill University. It was great to see the potential power of states and just how out of hand federal jurisdiction reached. One point which I found particularly of interest was the analysis of the (Elastic) Commerce Clause in the American Constitution.

Article I, Section 8, Clause 3, states that

[The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

The case of United States v Lopez demonstrated the audacity that some people are willing to rely on this clause as a constitutional argument for government intervention. Lopez had brought an unloaded gun to school and was charged with an offence under the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990. Upon appealing the decision it was found that this clause had a history of being abused. The Supreme Court found that Congress had no standing to make laws that regulated the carrying of handguns in public school under this commerce clause. There was simply no evidence that carrying handguns affects the interstate economy on such a scale that it warranted government intervention. This was a landmark decision that ended decades of governmental abuse and reinstated the power to the states. Sorry for the slight detour into constitutional law, but I found it so ridiculous that this clause had been used successfully in the past!

In between sampling all kinds of French pastries I managed to have meetings with Professor Jacob Levy (Political Science Professor from McGill University) and Jasmin Guénett (Vice President of the Montreal Economic Institute). Both have had such amazing careers thus far and it was really rewarding meeting with people who simply love the work they do.

From Montmorency falls to Vieux Quebec this is truly the heart of French Canada. One of the highlights was definitely – Hôtel del glace (Ice Hotel). This is simply an engineering marvel, with individual themed rooms, an ice chapel and even an ice fireplace, it’s amazing how everything doesn’t melt.

Just tucking in for the night at the Ice Hotel

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Montmorency Falls - click on the link to watch a short video showing just how amazing these falls are

Montmorency Falls Video

In ILS’ first full year of existence (2007) it hosted two events. Next week, ILS will be doing four events in four days and I am proud to have been apart. Hosting Dr. Bruce Pardy (Queens Law Faculty) we will be having a discussion on how private property rights are the key to saving the environment. I am looking forward to some thought provoking discussion and I simply can’t wait to see this project from start to end. Until next time – Au revoir.

Santé! Cheers!

Quentin Wong – Week 4

Quentin Wong, 1 February 2016

This week marks the halfway point of my journey to the Great White North. I am ashamed to admit it but this is actually my first full weekend spent in Ottawa. The amount of parallels that can be drawn between Perth and Ottawa are plentiful. Lazy Sunday mornings spent in cafes, outdoor festivals (albeit in very different climates) and shops closing by 9 – all add to the charm of these cities.

This week we had the honour of hosting professor Gad Saad as he presented a talk on just how far political correctness has gotten out of hand at universities. To a packed lecture theatre, Professor Saad detailed how political correctness limits the free exchange of ideas on campus. I think it’s integral that university students attend such lectures, not to be brainwashed, but to become informed. I will admit that there are things that I didn’t 100% agree with (the rejection of all trigger warnings), but I went in with an open mind and a willingness to be challenged.

I have actually split my time between offices this week. After an opportunity arose to shadow a prominent MP, I jumped at the opportunity. Walking up the steps of parliament, brief case and lunch in hand, I had to pinch myself on several occasions as surely this couldn’t be happening. It wasn’t the very comical tennis match like question time, nor was it sitting on meetings, that made me consider to be a politician. It was actually when I was addressing the concerns of a constituent in one of the MP’s ridings that I thought this could very be a future career.

From the House of Commons to the Supreme Court of Canada, on Tuesday, I had the honour of meeting Justice Russell Brown. I thought my heart had only room for one Justice (The Great Dissenter – Justice Kirby), but when we started talking about standing desks and the office (the greatest television show in existence) I instantly felt at home. Justice Brown was approachable, friendly and even gave me some advice about who to contact if I wanted a career in Environmental Law.

Justice Russell Brown and one very overwhelmed Law student

On Thursday night I had scored an invite to Robbie Burns’ night at the British High Commission. Robbie Burns was one of Scotland’s greatest exports (scotch excluded) and is considered one of the greatest poets of all time. Between eating haggis and sampling scotch (all in the name of cultural appreciation) it was a great night. Australia day was spent listening to the hottest 100 countdown 13 hours late (p.s Drake was robbed from a top 10 finish) and watching the Simpsons.

Scotch, cider and the blessing of the Haggis at Robbie Burns Night hosted at the British High Commission

Also I can’t believe that I am more than half way throughout my internship and have only just made a snowman! I am honestly quite proud of my creation and what’s even better is that everything left on the snowmen was to be gathered up and donated to charity. With several more events in the upcoming weeks and several meetings already organised for my 4 days in Montreal, I look forward to what is to be an eventful second half of my journey.

Do you want to build a snowman?