Intern for the Scottish Parliament
Give a brief description of your internship.
Entering the Scottish Parliament for the first time was intimidating, especially knowing that I would work one on one with the equivalent of an American senator or congressman. However, my fears soon were relinquished by the warmth of my boss, Dennis Robertson MSP. Instead of being treated like an intern, I was treated like a colleague—an equal. I was thus given a large task list. Writing press releases, drafting up political debates, planning out committee meetings, submitting motions and revisions to laws, attending confidential government meetings, assisting in community projects, meeting with top government and business officials, I often sat in my desk (next to my boss) trying to finish or even start my lunch.
What was your most memorable experience?
At least I feel this way after re-reading what Frances, essentially my boss, told me when she opened up about her opinion of me and my work ethic, saying: “Both Dennis and I are very disappointed that your internship is about up. Most of the time, we are quite happy for interns to head off and when their time is up, it’s normally a good thing. But we have often discussed in the elevator on how much we have enjoyed you staying here and how we would love for you to continue your internship . . . if you really wanted, maybe even indefinitely . . . I know that Dennis would more than happily recommend you to receive any position or job within the Parliament, and if you must go back, he would even be willing to write a letter of recommendation for you (not just have you write a letter of recommendation for yourself and have him approve it) . . . I think that you have potential to do anything! Forget Oxford! Go to Cambridge and become a Footlight! Or really go anywhere you want. We usually don’t like interns this much or appreciate the work that they have done for us as much as we have enjoyed this.”
Was there a specific person you remember in regards to your internship?
Too many to actually think about. Almost every single person was so kind to me. But one of my favorite people was my boss. I worked one on one with him and despite my lack of experience, I essentially became his personal assistant, while also being one of his researchers. He really wanted to see me succeed in any aspect of my life, offering my opportunities to research my own passions and help look into new laws and regulations that could be added for the Scottish people. I was also amazed at his drive and work ethic, often arriving at 8 in the morning and leaving at 10 at night, while only receiving minimal payment for all of his work. He was always going and you could not really see that he was stopped or slowed by his blindness. He was and is possibly one of the most brilliant men that I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know.
What was the strangest thing that happened during your internship?
If I did not have teachers (and colleagues) help, I would never have had opportunities like attending the Cross-Party Group Meeting for Germany. To my great astonishment while being here, I was invited to sit at the table with all of the German, Austrian, and Swiss representatives, even asked to introduce myself. As a former student at a Goethe Institute, I was able to offer some of my support in building and strengthening the intellectual ties between Germany and Scotland. Now, I am a shy person by nature; one that hyperventilates and has to pray before talking with a professor, girl, or even my friends. This internship has helped ease those nerves to talking with people who I regularly interact with, even helping to calm my fears with talking to foreign dignitaries.
If you ate anything crazy, what was it?
Haggis and many other odd things which I did not dare ask about.
What do you think was the most rewarding aspect of your internship?
To me, it has been remarkable to see how much more personal these Scottish politicians are with their constituency members than most current politicians. Yes, the Scottish Government and politicians are not perfect, but to almost every member, they did not become a politician for the money (especially with its relatively low wages); they wanted to make a change in their community. I now understand why many American interns have moved to Scotland after their internships to work for the Scottish Government and people. I myself am quite tempted to do the same.
What do you wish every future intern would know or do?
Just have fun. Sometimes your internship provider wants to see the real you. Of course do not go crazy, but they want to see you, not a robot (unless if you are interning as a robot, then completely disregard my comments).