Moving to Edinburgh was definitely an adventure in itself. From lost luggage to hotel reservation mishaps to not having a flat to live in, it was chaos that I attained many lessons from. I learned to be grateful for Scottish hospitality from the very beginning as airport staff helped me retrieve my suitcase at 11PM, as my Airbnb host graciously showed me around town despite having classes to attend and as my current flatmate welcomed me, a stranger, in with open arms.
Because I come from an English speaking country, I didn’t expect that the differences between American and Scottish culture were going to be so vast. While I anticipated that there would be some level of miscomprehension due to varying accents, I assumed that everything else would be somewhat similar.
Clearly, I was wrong.
Even the English words they use in their everyday conversations are so different! For example, what we know as “zucchini” in the states is actually a “courgette” here. An eggplant? Aubergine. Parking lots? Car parks.
I learned that waiting your turn in line, known as “queues”, is incredibly important. I may or may not have learned that the hard way when I plopped myself onto a bus before realizing that the cluster of people behind me were actually in line. While no one said anything, their looks of dismay said enough. Needless to say, I’m glad I learned early as I plan on taking the bus quite frequently. Thankfully, Edinburgh is very convenient as almost everything is within walking distance and if not, public transportation is very accessible. This made me realize how I should consider these alternative options when I’m back in LA or San Diego because my constant driving contributes to my carbon footprint significantly…
As seen through the images above (all taken by me), it’s really easy to get lost in the beauty of Edinburgh and forget why I’m here in the first place, as an intern for the Scottish Parliament.
Before I even applied for the internship, I was intrigued when Scotland announced plans to meet the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and even more-so when they revealed that they would meet their net zero carbon emission goal by 2045.
This inspiration, alongside an interest in their social welfare system and refugee resettlement policies, led me to apply and in October, I received notice that I got the position!
This past Monday was my first day and within one week, I wrote a speech for my MSP (Member of Scottish Parliament) regarding Scotland’s current progress towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, sat in the Debating Chamber and witnessed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speak regarding the future of Scotland and assisted with constituency casework to further improve communication between my MSP and his constituents.
Writing the speech was definitely more difficult than I expected because 1) it’s my first time working for a foreign government and 2) it was my responsibility to write on behalf of various organizations and sectors of parliament, to ensure that specific agendas were advocated for. However, after long grueling hours of research and writing drafts (a process that I hope shortens), I can say that I officially wrote a speech that was given by a Member in the Scottish Parliament!
It was only week one but I learned so much and am excited for the upcoming challenges and opportunities for growth.
If you made it all the way through, thanks for reading. As the Scots would say, cheers! :’)
2 thoughts on “Week One of Scottish Livin’”
I love hearing about all your adventures and what you are doing as a part of your internship. Enjoy it all!
Aw thank you! I’m excited to write more!