I can hardly believe that it is already August. Just a few weeks ago, it felt as though this infamous month of departure would never arrive. Scotland was a dream; a figment of my imaginary future, bringing excitement and anticipation to my days. Now that the true count down is beginning, with only 26 days left in the USA, my emotions are truly indescribable. I am a whirlwind of feelings, unable to accurately express them through the confines of text on a computer screen. The Skype meeting I had earlier this morning with the Program Coordinators in Edinburgh only added to this fire.
Around the lovely hour of eight, UCEAP held a Skype meeting so that future interns, such as myself, could ask questions and chat with Hilary and Fraser, our coordinators in Scotland. Unfortunately, only three of us nine interns were able to attend the call. However, I would call it very informative and successful nonetheless. Being able to place a face and a voice to the people I’ve been corresponding with for months made me even more eager to travel abroad so I can finally meet them in the flesh.
During the call, I learned several things about the program that I’ve been dying to know about. For starters, the “daily life” of our internship was explained. Monday through Thursday we will be at the Parliament from the typical workaday hours of 9 to 5. Our members of Parliament (still unknown to us) will be in the office Tuesdays through Thursdays, while Monday and Fridays they will visit their constituency elsewhere in Scotland. On Fridays, all interns will take the fifteen minute walk to the UC Study Centre, to attend class for a mere two hours. Our tutor, Dr Ashley Cole, will teach two classes during our fifteen week adventure: Parliamentary Studies and International NGOs. The remainder of the time, we are free to do as we please.
Compared to the hectic, packed, and over achieving lifestyle I am used to living, this academic/working semester will be the most relaxing I have ever experienced. I have no doubt I will grow and learn so much in this time though. Hilary and Fraser explained that the program allows interns to grow very close to the MSP he/she is paired with. The Scottish Parliament is much smaller than the US Government, and most MSPs will only have one assistant rather than whole teams of staffs working for them, allowing for a closer relationship and bond between MSPs and interns. I am so looking forward to that opportunity! I have an inkling that I’ll be working with Rhoda Grant and David Stewart, and after some light researching of them on the interweb, I am confident it will be a worthwhile experience.
I must admit, I am looking more and more forward to meeting all the people of Scotland. Apparently, other interns from the University of Edinburgh will also be in Parliament during the time we are there. I think that will hold such a wonderful opportunity to get to know the younger generation of Scotland on a better level.
Alas as I continue to count down the days and cross things off my ever decreasing checklist of things to accomplish before I leave, the wonderful dream of an adventure I prayed for over a year ago is finally beginning to come true. In the words of Michael Palin:
“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life”