There’s no doubt that 2016 has been a wild ride of a year, least of all for me. Exactly one year ago I was scrambling to fill out my visa documents, shoving jumpers into my suitcase, and rushing around town to say my goodbyes, all for the one thing I’ve been wanting since 2014– I was headed back to Scotland.
After I came home from my semester abroad in Glasgow, the only thing I could think about was coming back as soon as I possibly could. I didn’t know how, but dang it, I’d find a way. In swoops this internship opportunity, a guiding light as my passage back to this country I so dearly loved. Before I even knew what was happening, I hopped on a plane out of LAX with my dreams and a cardigan. Though I knew this experience would not resemble my semester abroad in the slightest, there was a small part of me that hoped I would pick up exactly where I left off, despite being in a completely new city and completely new context.
And boy, was I wrong. I won’t even try to deny the fact that it was heinously difficult at first, being in a brand new city where I knew no one and was so far away from my family and friends. You take the university setting for granted whilst you’re immersed in it; I would have given anything to be surrounded by peers and people of a similar age when I first arrived in Edinburgh. But if there’s only one thing I can take away from this year, it’s that you can always count on the kindness of strangers and the welcoming arms of Scotland to outsiders.
The amount I’ve learned this year racks up a nearly endless list: the fastest route from my flat to city centre, where the best hot chocolate in all of Edinburgh (if not the world) is, how to successfully create and present orientation sessions to over 200 UC students, how to write a successful grant proposal, which Katy Perry song bops the hardest, how to deal with rejection in any and all forms, flying to London on a whim may not always be the best idea, getting rid of a giant spider without touching it, organising a successful reception for a Nobel Laureate and so on.
I can drone on and on about my year here, but I’ll keep it short: I have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams, and that is in large part of the magic that was created by the people I’ve met here. The Edinburgh and London Study Centre staff have been unyielding in their support and kindness, and special shout-out to Hannah and Rhiannon, the London Study Centre Interns, for being all-around amazing.
I’m sad to be leaving, there’s no question about it. I’m scared of a lot of things: where I’ll go next, when I’ll be able to come back, whether my next workplace will be as fun, what I’ll do without a Greggs just a few steps away from my house. 2017 is a year of great uncertainty for many people, myself included, but there’s something so thrilling about the unknown, so hopeful and full of yet undiscovered opportunities.
I love you Scotland, I always will. I’ll be back before you know it.