For the past month and a half, my home has been in Edinburgh, the charming capital of Scotland. I have chosen to spend my time abroad studying and interning through Arcadia University’s Scottish Parliamentary Internship Program.
The program consists of five weeks of comprehensive classes on U.K. and Scottish government and society and ten weeks of interning and researching for an MSP (Member of Scottish Parliament). As of right now, my classes are over (with the exception of a few more finals), and I’ve got my suits and umbrella ready to go for the rainy months ahead walking to Parliament each day for work.
The MSP I am working for is Sarah Boyack, Labour Party MSP (the U.K.’s major socialist party) for Edinburgh constituencies. She also serves as the Shadow Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Rural Affairs.
The majority of the internship is spent researching for Sarah’s policy on the sustainable renewing of low income Edinburgh housing, as well as helping prepare its budget I also draft briefings, letters, petitions, and do the occasional grunt work.
It’s exciting that this semester isn’t just for a grade or a professor, but is actually for the “real world” and has the potential to influence policy and society. What’s even more exciting is seeing the Obama poster hung up next to my desk every time I enter Sarah’s office. She claims it’s always been there, but I like to pretend “Team Boyack” put it up just for me.
Besides classes and the beginnings of Parliament adventures, I’ve been gallavanting around Scotland and experiencing the major sights. The Isle of Skye, the Highlands, Stirling and Glasgow have kept my weekends busy with spectacular architecture and phenomenal natural beauty. I’ve also experienced my fair share of haggis, bagpipes, kilts, sheep and hairy coos … all adding to the charm of this experience.
My time in Edinburgh so far has completely surpassed my expectations, and there’s nothing greater than knowing the ins and outs of a new place and comfortably calling it home.