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One reason why Andrea, a third-year health sciences student, decided to leave Winnipeg and study at uOttawa was that she wanted to be a House of Commons page. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to study political science or dream of becoming the next prime minister to be a page. For Andrea, her interest in politics actually grew as result of her page experience.
What does a page do? A page helps parliamentary sessions at the House of Commons run smoothly by delivering messages between MPs and distributing documents. “It’s the perfect job for a first-year student because Parliament is so close to campus. You can just walk to work!’’
As an out-of-province student, Andrea felt the page program helped her transition to a new city and university life.
“I made many friends though the page program. Now, I have connections across the country.”
Students in the page program have a floor reserved for them in the 90U residence and an academic adviser to make sure they receive all the support they need for their classes.
“First-year students already have a lot of support but, as a page, you get a little extra help!” Andrea says.
Andrea says the page program was key to her finding a job. It offers many opportunities to work with MPs or as a parliamentary guide. She is still working at the House of Commons as a proceeding and verification officer, in charge of recording the sessions. ‘’I loved the experience (as a page) and the opportunities that it gave me.”
Justin Trudeau, Barack Obama, Malala Yousafzai, kings from around the world and Canadian Olympians are just some people Andrea had a chance to see. “As a page, you watch history every day. All the big news that you see in print in newspapers later — you see it live!”