Interning in Edinburgh

Ben Kaufman


The phrase “so much to do, so little time” had never felt as true as it did this summer while interning at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe takes place in the month of August, and it is the largest arts festival in the world. It started in 1947, just after World War II, as a way to revitalize the culture in Europe and lift everyone’s spirits. What started out as less than 50 shows has now turned into a festival with over 2,500 shows and over 4,000 performances that occur at almost all times of the day. Many famous actors, including Mike Myers, Hugh Laurie, Caroline Rhea, and Alan Cumming, have performed at the Fringe.

I was in Edinburgh as part of the Business of the Arts Program, which is organized by the University of Edinburgh. It is an eight-week program with four weeks of business courses and then four weeks of an internship at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The first month was jam-packed with my attempts to see all of the main tourist attractions. The two adventures that stand out the most were exploring Edinburgh Castle and climbing to the top of Arthur’s Seat, the largest mountain in Edinburgh. The castle is filled with rich Scottish history and culture that one can experience first hand by walking around the museums of the castle. The castle, built on top of a hill, gives great views of the entire city. I found my experience at Arthur’s Seat significant, because it was the first time I had been hiking in the longest time. Those who know me well know that I am the opposite of an outdoorsy person, so climbing Arthur’s Seat was a completely different experience for me; I will never forget the beautiful views. Being able to say that I was the tallest person in Edinburgh at one point is also pretty cool.

The second month was the internship at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. I was placed at a medium sized venue called Sweet Venues, which is a company based out of Dundee (about two hours away from Edinburgh). The venue was located in one of the highest traffic areas for visitors. I was doing press and marketing for them, helping out with their Facebook and Twitter pages, hanging up posters and flyers for the various shows at the venue, looking over press releases, and taking pictures for events. While the venue is medium sized, in terms of the number of shows they perform and the number of production companies that perform in their venue, the staff size is very small, with only 15 people employees.

With this tiny staff, one can imagine how chaotic the start of the internship was, especially setting up and bringing everything together in time for the festival’s start. While it was hectic, this internship was one of the most rewarding experiences that I have ever been a part of. It gave me an opportunity to meet many interesting people who I never would have met otherwise. The people who performed at Sweet Venues were not only from Scotland, but from places around the world, like Dallas, Texas, and Sydney, Australia. My position allowed me to be a part of really cool events, like a charity event that was held at a Bowling Club in Edinburgh.

From my fellow students in the program, to the people I worked with at Sweet Venues, everyone was incredibly welcoming to me and helped make my time in Edinburgh incredibly unique. Hopefully I can go back some day to expand on my experience abroad.

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