Farewell from the ESC Intern: Sarah Allen-Sutter

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A Bittersweet Goodbye

Today is my last day of work as the Programme Intern with the ESC Study Centre.

Five months ago, I stood outside the door of the Edinburgh Study Centre, radiating with anticipation, ready to start my new job and my new journey in Edinburgh. I tried not to have too many expectations, because as I learned from studying abroad, living in a foreign country will almost never be what you expect. And that was certainly the case this time around.

Three months ago, I watched our students head home, feeling tremendous sorrow as their study abroad experiences were cut short due to a worldwide pandemic. Now my time abroad faces the same obstacle; so even though it is a bittersweet farewell, I must practice what I preached to our students: Rather than dwelling on time lost, I’ll try to focus on the positive moments I was able to experience during my time as the ESC Programme Intern.

I lived in my favourite city.

I never thought I’d have the chance to move back to Edinburgh again, to live in my favourite city in the world, and yet here I am. I may have expected to travel more while living abroad, but instead I had more time to explore my city—to stroll through Princes Street Gardens, to jog along the canal as far as my feet would carry me, to meander around Dean Village—activities I never seemed to have time for when I was here studying abroad.

My coworkers were wonderful.

I had wonderful, supportive coworkers, and our weekly video calls helped keep me sane and motivated during lockdown. I’ll always have fond memories of my brief, 2-month, pre-lockdown job: grabbing wraps from The Nile Valley Café, watching SNL reruns during lunch breaks, or chatting idly as the sea rushed past our train on the way to St Andrews. I’ll dearly miss all of the lovely people I’ve had the chance to work with here.

I fell in love.

I fell in love, something my mom insisted that I not do in Scotland (for fear I’d never return to the U.S.). There’s no one else I’d rather spend lockdown with, and every day I think about how lucky I am to have found him.

I learned.

I learned so much about myself: through this internship, through lockdown, through my relationship. Not to mention, I picked up a ton of practical skills along the way and had the opportunity to try activities that I’d always wanted learn but never had the time to dig into, such as video editing, photography, and graphic design.

I performed.

I thought that the end of university meant the end of performing, but moving here gave me the opportunity to re-join my old acappella group, Tone Up. It was a short-lived reunion, but in five short weeks I performed in three competitions, and we even won the Scottish Acappella Championships. It felt amazing to be back in my element—learning an entire set of music and choreography in one week and with only two rehearsals—and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to perform and compete once more.

I was inspired by students.

And lastly, I got to meet some truly inspiring students, who made every part of the job worth it. From orientation dinners, to tours of the Supreme Court, donuts and coffee in the office, and even watching musicals in London, time spent getting to know students and hearing about their experiences was the most rewarding part of the position.

What’s Next?

This question may just win the prize for my least favourite question. I spent last summer responding to an endless barrage of questions about the future with one big fat shrugging emoji. Now I am once again facing the terrifying aspect of deciding what is next. A doctorate degree? Film school? Another job? Even though I’ve learned so much about myself throughout this position, I’ve still got a lot of self-reflection to go before I make even one of the seemingly endless decisions before me.

But whatever the future may hold, I’m so grateful to have had the chance to work and live in Edinburgh, helping others achieve their dreams of studying abroad, and meeting so many inspirational students and coworkers along the way.

Where’s Loony??

(final round)

Each of my blog articles contains an image of my sister’s pup, Luna (AKA “Loony Luna”). Can you find her??