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Have you ever dreamed of waking up and seeing a huge ancient castle sprawling outside your apartment window? Have you ever wanted to walk down the same streets where literary giants Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle found their inspiration? These experiences, and more, are waiting outside your door if you are living as an international intern in Edinburgh (pronounced Edin-burrah), the incredible historic capital of Scotland.
Edinburgh has long been a center of science, literature, and higher learning. It is home to the University of Edinburgh, a highly regarded institute with history extending as far back as 1583. Just outside the city, scientists cloned a sheep named Dolly. In 2004, due to the many gifted writers and scholars who represented Edinburgh through the years, UNESCO named it the world's first City of Literature.
As of 1998, Scotland has been able to maintain its own parliament and executive government with both branches based in Edinburgh. Edinburgh also has the most stable economy in the UK outside of London, as well as the second-most popular UK tourist destination. In addition, Edinburgh is considered one of the world's most beautiful cities, as well as a great place to live. Whether you are a student intern, or a recent graduate, this guide to internships in Edinburgh will serve as place to begin your explorations.
Traditionally the home of industries such as printing and brewing, Edinburgh has grown into a significant force in various industries. It boasts a strong economy and ample room for growth and development for any intern, especially in the fields of business and finance, tourism, and science.
Whether you are a current student or a recent graduate, there is a place for you in Edinburgh in many fields. How do you begin? If you are interested in any type of study or intern abroad experience, a great place to begin is with your advisers. Also, check out your college or university's study abroad office; your institution may have partnerships with universities and organizations in Edinburgh. For example, Arcadia University in Pennsylvania has a study abroad/internship program in Scotland. There is a wonderful website called Edinburgh: Inspiring Capital which is bursting with information on living, working, and studying in Edinburgh. The sections that follow contain more specific information about interning in Edinburgh in general, as a place for prospective interns to get started.
Most internships in Edinburgh are offered year-round; however, that depends on which field in which you want to gain experience. Internships can last from 8 to 12 weeks, sometimes longer. However, do not wait until the last minute to apply; application deadlines can be a couple of months in advance of the actual internship.
You can find internships through direct searches of the company's websites you are interested in, such as the Royal Bank of Scotland. You can also look through websites like Talent Scotland, which is full of information about living, working, and studying in Scotland in general. You can also visit the International Students section for the University of Edinburgh and Napier University.
As a bustling capital city, Edinburgh can be expensive, and there is so much to do! However, with a careful budget plan, interns can enjoy their life in the city. Examples of a student budget plan can be found at Edinburgh- Inspiring Capital. Be sure to use a currency converter. Some internship programs provide shared accommodation for their interns; however, some people decide to strike out on their own. Like anywhere else, apartments vary in cost and quality, but generally a good 2-bedroom apartment can cost as much as $985 USD a month. Apartments are cheaper in areas such as Leith and Gorgie. You might spend as much as $60 USD a week on food, but again it depends on your lifestyle. Remember too that for food, transportation, and entertainment, you might get special discounts as a student.
Interns and students, including international ones, are able to work a part-time job on the side to contribute to their learning expenses. You can work as long as 20 hours a week during a semester and up to full time hours during breaks. Under British work and labor laws, you can make about $7.50 USD according to the National Minimum Wage if you are aged 18-20. If you are over 21, you can make about $9.00 USD. Some interns and students can work in the museums, cafes, pubs, restaurants, and other areas throughout the city.
As in every workplace, interns do follow a certain protocol of behavior, depending on the company culture. Some are more laid-back than others. It's best to take your cues from your colleagues, especially while you are navigating another culture.
All American interns are required to sign up through BUNAC for assistance with visas. As stated earlier, international students are permitted to work part-time up to 20 hours a week during the school year. The UK uses a Tier immigration system. Interns fall into two Tier categories: Tier 4 for students or Tier 5 for temporary workers. This system is also explained in-depth by the United Kingdom Border Agency. Canadian and Australian interns, fall under the scope of the Youth Mobility Scheme.
This guide has just provided a starting point for future interns interested in Edinburgh. From business to tourism, as well as politics and science, Edinburgh does have something for everyone. As artist Benjamin Haydon stated once, "Edinburgh is a dream of great genius." Now it is time for you to add your own dream to the history and future of Edinburgh.
Whitney Zahar is originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, and has always longed to travel, write, and make a difference in the world. She got her chance in 2009, when she started teaching English in South Korea. Currently, she lives in Taiwan, where she still teaches, as well as participates in freelance fiction and ESL writing projects, and raises a beautiful active son named Preston. Follow her on Twitter @WhitneyZahar.
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