If Rhiannon is the new, eager young buck ready to take London by storm, Shannon is definitely the weathered, cynical, world-weary sheriff that has seen and been through too much. Jokes, jokes. We’re happy to report that Shannon’s just as, if not even more, upbeat as when she first arrived to Edinburgh. Now that she’s over halfway through her time at the ESC, she has some pearls of wisdom to share. Read on to find out more about our favourite redheaded intern!
Could you introduce yourself?
Hi all! My name is Shannon and I’m the current ESC intern. I’ve been living in Edinburgh for over
half a year now. I graduated in 2015 with a BA in English Lit from the University of California Irvine, and I had studied abroad at the University of Glasgow via UCEAP during my Spring 2014 semester. All in all, I’m the luckiest girl on the planet to be back in bonny Scotland.
What was one of your favourite memories from your time studying abroad?
I could go on forever and ever about my favourite memories from my semester abroad, but one of the best ones has to be my spring break trip to Belfast with two of my best friends. By chance, there was a boxing match taking place that same night we had gone out. The three of us were fortunate enough to run into some well-known Irish and English boxing figures and had a lovely time chatting and getting to know them! It was a surreal experience and definitely one to remember and treasure.
How has studying abroad impacted your life for the better?
I had never been to Europe or travelled overseas without my parents before my semester abroad, so it was a great period of personal growth for me. I learned how to be independent and solve my own problems without the help of my comfort bubble back at home, and it was amazing to see how much I was capable of. And of course, all the cliches about travel are so true; your eyes are really opened up to just how big the world is, and how small you are in comparison. It was so humbling and liberating to see this first-hand; suddenly all of the problems or annoyances in my life just seemed so insignificant in retrospect.
What advice would you give to students who are considering studying abroad?
You really will never have an opportunity like this again in your life, so do it. Travelling is not the same as studying abroad, and working abroad is not the same as studying abroad. To be a student in a completely new city thousands of miles away from everything you know is a unique experience that you will only get a chance to do at this time in your life. Many people I know who didn’t study abroad absolutely wish that they did; it is a truly amazing thing that’s worth the hype.
What has been your favourite thing about working for the ESC so far?
It’s been really amazing to see the magic that is worked behind the scenes. When I was studying abroad, I didn’t think much about the ESC and the role they played. Now that I’m actually a part of the office, I get to see first-hand just how much work is put into making the experience as seamless and effortless as possible for students. I never had a doubt that the ESC cared about its students, but now being a part of it all, it’s even more evident and apparent. It’s also wonderful to be reunited with the ESC staff again, and to get to know them better as individuals. There’s been a lot of laughs, home-baked goods and spontaneous Katy Perry karaoke in the office, so it’s safe to say I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to work with.
What has been the most challenging thing about working for the ESC so far?
This is outside of the realm of the workplace, but quite honestly, the most challenging part was finding my footing in terms of social and personal life in Edinburgh. While the office is a supportive and very positive environment, there were only two other people at the ESC when I had arrived. I didn’t know a single person in Edinburgh, so it was difficult trying to figure out how to socialise outside of work. I’m naturally quite outgoing, but it was a challenge putting myself out there to find friends as a working adult. You really do take the student environment for granted when you’re a part of it!
What do you miss most about California?
I miss the abundance of cheap, good food (In-n-Out and King Taco always), my family and friends, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and Target. I will always miss Target when I’m abroad.
List one interesting or unexpected fact about yourself!
There is a two-degree separation between me and President Barack Obama! Which means you all have a three-degree separation through me. You’re welcome.