Two cities, two Parliaments, 15 motivated UC interns. The Scottish and Irish Parliament Internship Programmes offer UC students the possibility to spend a term in Edinburgh and Dublin, respectively, and further they political knowledge and experience by working closely with members of these two Parliaments. On top of their internship, students attend lectures: in Edinburgh, they learn about Scottish law; in Dublin they focus on Ireland’s history, society, politics and literature.
What are our interns doing exactly and what do they think about their experience abroad? Here are some of their stories…
Emily Taing (Dublin):
I have been being able to watch the Houses of Parliament in session discussing legislation issues. I like working in my TD’s (Congressman) office because I get hands on experience with constituency work and politicians, which is a great supplement to my seminars on Irish politics.
Byron Roos-Collins (Edinburgh):
The internship has been a blast. I’ve been given substantial, engaging work including speechwriting, interview writing, research, auditing, and more. Currently, I’m designing a pilot scheme to help bring remote notarization to island communities. The people of Scotland are friendly and love to tell stories. If you can get over the dreich weather, this place is truly incredible. I highly recommend any UC students interested in politics to go for this program. That being said, you may not want to go back to American politics after six months in Scottish Parliament!
Working at the parliament has definitely been one of the most rewarding experiences! Being able to see policies discussed with such fervor in the House of Parliament has most certainly reaffirmed my passion for politics. The amiability of the representatives towards their constituents is like no other. Overall this program is most certainly the perfect combination of academics and work experience!
Sabrina McGraw (Edinburgh):
It is incredible to have the opportunity to work in the Scottish Parliament because we are given so much responsibility to do so many different things. Now, I can return home with a whole new set of skills that I gained from a high-profile internship to help me in my future career. By working in the Scottish Parliament and by hearing many different perspectives on Scottish politics from people of varying different backgrounds, my knowledge of Scottish politics is far more encompassing than it would have been if I had learned about it in a classroom back at home. Studying abroad here in this diverse environment has pushed me to think more critically than I have ever done before and it has allowed me to have an incredible and unique experience that I will never forget.
Heidi Kang (Dublin)
The internship has been such a great opportunity, and I have really enjoyed this experience! I have been working on policy analysis, looked at documents that focus on children and youth affairs, mental health, and the budget, and I have also worked on posters and creative designs that have highlighted statistics and information and put them on online platforms. Every week, I sit in on meetings with my TD and her Parliamentary Assistant. My TD started a new party so there is always events or talk about events going on in the office. In the meetings, I learn about the business that is going on during that week. For the most part, I am doing research on the issues my TD cares about I feel really lucky to have worked in the Dail and an elected official. Ireland’s politics are unique, and I have definitely learned skills I can take back home.
Myriah Smith (Edinburgh):
Edinburgh is by far the most incredible place I have been. Not only is the city beautiful, as if straight out of a fairy tale, but the atmosphere is vibrant and refreshing. There is always something going on, some new part of the city to explore; and the fact that the people are also friendly helps for good conversation and a chance to feel more immersed into the Scottish culture. My internship with the Scottish Parliament has only enriched this cultural experience. Working in a fast paced and energetic body has allowed me to do and learn about so many different aspects of Scotland, and see them in a political perspective as well. There is rarely a dull moment, with a plethora of tasks continually piling in each day, each one requiring a careful and quick response. From conducting research to writing speeches, I have gained so many opportunities to grow both professionally and personally from this internship experience. I would highly recommend for anyone looking to study abroad, to come to Edinburgh and try the Scottish Parliament Program. Not only does it provide the chance to live in a truly magical city, but it also gives valuable work skills which will set anyone at an advantage in their future endeavours.
UCEAP Scotland has recently launched four new internship opportunities, available from fall 2016. Open to all majors, these non-parliament programmes are a great opportunity to get some hands-on experience and enhance your career prospects. Read about these new programmes here.