One of the best ways to immerse yourself into your new host city is to find ways outside of your host university to be involved in the community. Bryn Lemon, a third-year studying abroad in Edinburgh from UCSB decided to devote time volunteering at the annual Edinburgh International Science Festival. Read about her experience and what she gained below!
The Edinburgh International Science Festival is a fantastic event that occurs each year during the month of April all across Edinburgh, essentially filling the entire city with science! It’s primary goal is to encourage children and young adults to foster a love of science at a young age to encourage them to pursue it as a passion and a possible career later in life. The festival also hosts adult programs in Summerhall to encourage people of all ages to develop or renew a love of science. The variety of programs and workshops offered is unbelievable from talks on climate change to giant Lego building activities in the National Museum there is something for everyone to love.
I worked in the City Art Centre as a science communicator for a Photolab. In this role I taught children ages 5-18 about the chemical process behind photography. I led workshops every half hour instructing children in the creation of shadowgrams, photos created by exposing a sheet of photographic paper to a controlled light source which then reacts with the silver in the sheets and the chemicals in the developer solutions to display a shadow image of whatever design is chosen. (Below you will see my close friend Ben and his younger sister Brodie with their designs– a turtle and the Joker).
The festival was an incredibly fun and challenging event to work as it involved constant energy, engagement and enthusiasm but all of this came naturally when working in such an encouraging and fun environment. I would highly encourage any students who are studying abroad in Scotland in the future to apply to be on staff!
The opportunity to work events like these in a city that I love is proof of how amazing UCEAP is for facilitating my journey to Edinburgh and aiding my smooth transition into this beautiful city that now feels like home.