Well, the past fortnight has absolutely flown by as I continue to own the experience of being a Hansard Scholar here in London. My schedule has been jam-packed as I continue to work as a parliamentary intern, attend classes, complete assignments, study and live up the London lifestyle. Yes – that does sound like a lot of juggling, and it is! But I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is difficult to believe that I have now finished my last full week in London, with only days to go before I finish on Friday.
The past few weeks have seen me continue to immerse myself in a wide array of tasks within Sajid Javid MP’s Westminster office as part of my internship. A substantial component of the office’s workload is constituency casework, which sees us assisting residents with their concerns and/or any issue they would like to raise, and attempting to resolve the situation for them. These constituency casework tasks have been highly substantive in developing my knowledge of issues facing the Bromsgrove constituency and the United Kingdom as a whole, which I find really interesting. During my internship, I have also had the tasks of preparing briefing notes and correspondence, undertaking research, and the writing of press releases and articles amongst other responsibilities. It is still surreal to believe I am working in a political system with such rich history and tradition, and I continue to learn more each and every day. One of the (many) highlights of my parliamentary experience has been watching proceedings first hand within the House of Commons chamber. I can say without a doubt that this internship has been pivotal to the valuable learning outcomes I am gaining from the program, by complementing my academic study on a very involved and practical basis. I confident that this experience continues to aid in my professional development and I am excited to apply these skills into the future. I have been extremely lucky to have worked alongside such a supportive, dedicated and insightful team throughout my time here and will be somewhat saddened to leave what has been a phenomenal internship experience.
Whilst it has been hectic for us with our internship and study schedules in full swing, we have still made time for weekend travels. Take note – time management is the key! Last weekend I joined three other scholars for a weekend in Northern Wales where we hiked through Snowdonia National Park. We knew we were in for a great time before we even arrived, with the train journey treating us to a stunning Welsh sunset over the Irish Sea. Northern Wales proved to be a truly stunning destination at all stages and we wished we had more than two nights to explore all it had to offer. The views on the hike were phenomenal at all twists and turns, as we made it to the top of Mt Snowdon (which is the United Kingdom’s second highest point). The climb was well worth it as we literally stood amongst the clouds at the summit. During the trip, it was also great to enjoy some slightly cooler weather (compared to the heat wave London is currently experiencing) and we enjoyed relaxing by the warm fire at night following our days of explorations.
This weekend has been largely dedicated to finishing off assessment items as I prepare to submit two papers next week as the program sadly draws to an end very soon. I can tell you something though – sitting inside in London doing assessment on a beautiful day is pure torture! So much so that I ensured I made the most of my (well-disciplined) study breaks by enjoying a tour of Westminster Abbey in the middle of the day. This was an amazing experience with such rich history, and would have to be one of the most significant places of worship that I have ever been in. Sunday I enjoyed a day trip out to Tring, just North-West of London, where I was lucky enough to catch up with some very kind friends of my grandparents. I was treated to a fantastic tour of the local area and again more stunning countryside vistas which never cease to amaze me.
This week will continue to be busy as I finish the last days of my internship amongst finalising assessment items and studying for our final exam on Thursday. It is definitely going to be difficult to leave London, considering I have had a truly remarkable time. Following completion of the program on Friday, I will then embark on a trip visiting France, Spain and Italy which I am really looking forward to. Stay tuned for my next update from the Mediterranean!