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Tom Huang reflects on his time at SYP

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Working and living halfway around the world has been absolutely terrifying, but an experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Coming from Los Angeles, California, a place where it’s consistently sunny and seasons don’t exist, to Edinburgh has definitely been a huge change. From being granted the amazing opportunity to work at the SYP, to flat hunting and trying to memorise the different types of coins, have collated into four months of intense (and very useful!) work that I will remember for the rest of my life and experiences that I will take into my future career.

Back in California, previous internships and jobs I’ve had were nowhere near as immersive as the Scottish Youth Parliament. While they did look good on my CV, none of them made me feel that I was truly a part of the team, where my work was actually able to influence change. SYP have given me the chance to flourish and grow. My main focus has been a literature review for SYP’s upcoming manifesto for 2021-2026. This literature review outlines youth-focused organisations’ priorities, campaigns, and policies which are relevant to SYP policy.

While the Literature Review was the main project that I worked on at my time here, I’ve also been fortunate enough to be involved in consultations, youth engagement sessions, and even a trip to view the UKYP sitting in London. I could not have asked to work alongside a more well-versed group of young people who play a influential role in decision-making in Scotland!

While the majority of my time was spent in Edinburgh, I definitely took advantage of the cheap airline tickets to travel. With this being my first time in the UK and Europe, I was very enthusiastic to explore, and was lucky enough to go to Amsterdam, Iceland, Rome, and Paris. Each destination was amazing in their own way: Scotland and Iceland for its beautiful picturesque landscape, to Amsterdam and Rome for their amazing food scene, and Paris and London for its nostalgic cityscape and historical landmarks. These past four months have been the absolute best time of my life, and have given me memories that I will cherish. I’m extremely grateful to have been a part of this experience, and I wish every MSYP and everyone at the SYP office the best of luck in the future.

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