My time at Chicago Scots

Nazia Ali Intern, Chicago Scots
Theatre & Film, Queen Margaret University

Now nearing the end of my internship, I am able to reflect on my time here in Chicago this summer. This is the first time I have travelled to the states and my first trip outside of Europe in 10 years.

I have learnt a lot from my time at Chicago Scots with my internship. By organising events I have been able to work with vendors, marketing teams, and donors. The skills I have acquired will help me hugely in life. I had arrived two weeks before we were hosting a Highland Games for 10,000 people and so I was thrown in to the deep-end with a lot to do. It was intense but really good fun seeing the hard-work pay off when we attended the Games, with over 45 pipe bands competing too! Meeting lots of Scottish people who now live in America was interesting as I got to hear about how their Scottish life brought them to Chicago and other places in the States. It was great to meet people from back home and showed me how small the world is.

Post Games the work was more relaxed than the first couple of weeks. Maddy and I explored the city and went on a boat tour that showed us the history and architecture behind Chicago's skyline. We visited the beach that sits at Lake Michigan and explored the Old Town and Chinatown. It was great to see Chicago in the summertime as there are festivals on every week and constantly lots to do!

I chose to intern at Chicago Scots as I loved the idea of promoting Scottish history and culture in a new environment. I was eager to see how people from other countries view Scotland. Working with Scottish identity in the states was really interesting as Americans have a close relationship with their heritage.

At around the half-way point I travelled to New York to meet up with interns and to celebrate the 4th of July. It was really great to have to opportunity to meet up with people In New York and to see how their internships were going.

Currently, we are planning for our 107th Annual Picnic to show our appreciation for volunteers at the Highland Games. This will take place the weekend before we leave so will be a really nice way to finish the internship off. Chicago Scots has given me the chance to network and speak with professionals in my hopeful career field. This internship has given me a lot of opportunities that I am grateful for. I've been able to work hands on in this role and will take back skills that will be useful for the future. The support that has been given has really pushed me further throughout this internship.

I am very grateful for Entrepreneurial Scotland, Saltire Scholar programme, and Chicago Scots for supporting me and for the valuable experiences and knowledge I have gained from this internship.

Written by: Nazia Ali
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