16 Chevening Scholars based at Scottish universities were recently treated to a unique visit to the Scottish Parliament and Royal Society of Edinburgh.

The event, organised by programme officer Gabriela Gavrila, was just one of a number of enrichment activities that will be put on by Chevening throughout the year.

Mexican scholar Mariana Espinosa tells the tale:

“On Tuesday 18 November, 16 Chevening Scholars studying in Scotland had the opportunity to visit the Scottish Parliament. On that day, we were able to hear and see Alex Salmond’s last speech as First Minister, who stepped down after the Scottish people voted against independence in a recent referendum. Opposition party leaders also appraised the good initiatives he implemented during his time in the role. It was an emotive demonstration of how civil servants in Scotland work for their people and the nation.

We also had access to a private tour where we were able to learn of how the parliament of Scotland was convened and approved by the Scotland Act 1998, which defines its functions, roles and delineates its legislative competence. The parliament is represented by 129 members, each democratically elected for a four year term. The parliament operates in commissions, where different topics are discussed, including energy, climate change and education to name a few.

To conclude the day, we had a lovely meeting with the General Secretary of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, an educational charity operating on an independent and non-party political basis. The organisation aims to develop evidence for policymaking process and provide public benefit throughout Scotland. All of their members are qualified academics and experts.

It was a fantastic day, and a great experience. Thank you Chevening for providing this opportunity!”

Scholars listening to the tour guide’s explanation during the tour of the Scottish Parliament – pictured here in front of the Public Stairs 
Tour guide going over a scale model of the Scottish Parliament building
A group photo in the lobby of the Scottish Parliament
Networking at the end of the visit at the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE)