The Intern Life: Scottish Parliament

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6:45 – Wake up!

I know it’s early, but get excited to start a new day at Parliament!


7:50 – Leave Robertson’s Close (your University of Edinburgh accommodation) and start your walk to Holyrood

Feel free to stop in Holyrood cafe, Starbucks, Cafe Nero, or the Parliament cafeteria for breakfast along the way. (Tip: What we call ‘coffee’ Scots call “filter coffee”)


8:10 – Arrive at Parliament at Holyrood.

Use your security badge to scan in at one of the side entrances, so you don’t have to pass through security. (Tip: Ask for a lanyard – you’ll look cool and you won’t lose your ID)


8:30 – Meet your MSP (Member of Scottish Parliament) in your office and discuss the plan and schedule for the day.


9:00 – Committee meetings begin.

Stop at the security desk in the main lobby for passes.

I would recommend stopping by the Devolution Committee! They discuss the division of powers between Westminster Parliament and the Scottish Parliament. (Look alive! You’re on TV!!)


11:00 – Your MSP may stop by the office between meetings, but you can use this quiet time to work on assignments for them.

These can range from research to returning phone calls to writing speeches.

One day my MSP called up to the office and said there was an emergency and I needed to come to the chamber immediately. I ran down and he was holding that cat suit... Apparently its a mascot from his district and some constituents asked for a photo of him with it. It ended up being one of my favorite photos from the trip!

One day my MSP called up to the office and said there was an emergency and I needed to come to the chamber immediately. I ran down and he was holding that cat suit… Apparently its a mascot from his district and some constituents asked for a photo of him with it. It ended up being one of my favorite photos from the trip!


12:00 – It’s time for Questions!

Members of Parliament can ask the First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP) questions about the government and policy. Tickets in the chamber are hard to come by for this event, but it’s also broadcast throughout the parliament on CCTV – Grab some interns near you and watch it together!


12:30 – Lunch!

All the interns sit together in the Parliament cafeteria, where the food is amazing (I’m not kidding, it’s actually fantastic and the chefs love it when you remind them of that).


13:30 – Back to Work!

Your MSP will probably be around their office for most of the afternoon, so this is a great opportunity to discuss your research, or just shoot the breeze and learn a little bit about football. (My MSP taught me to bagpipe!)

You can also use this time to stop by the Parliament research center, SPICE – they have tons of resources and they’d love to help you with whatever you’re working on.


15:00 – Chamber debate!

Be sure to check the schedule to see what’s being debated each day and if your MSP plans to make a speech. (Grab tickets!)

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16:45 – It’s time for voting.

Your MSP will be in the Chamber voting and you can watch the vote on CCTV. A few minutes beforehand warning bells will sound throughout the Parliament complex – don’t be surprised!


17:15 – You’re done for the day! Stop by the pub for a pint or a dram on the way home.

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Maddie Gallagher is a student at Bucknell University and studied and interned abroad with IFSA-Butler’s Parliamentary Internship Program at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Article by Maddie Gallagher