The Best Gift UNC Has Ever Given Me

Before Elizabeth Grady ever set foot in Chapel Hill, she knew she wanted to leave. Studying abroad was near the top of her list of college goals — a dream she fulfilled by traveling to London during the spring of her sophomore year as part of the Honors Study Abroad program.

A junior from Greensboro, Elizabeth came to Carolina with a strong interest in journalism and political science. But she never imagined how those two interests would converge through an internship in the British Parliament.

“I always wanted to work in a foreign government and understand how other nations operate, but I never thought in a million years that I would have a chance to work at Parliament. It was an amazing experience,” Elizabeth says.

She worked as an intern for Jenny Willott, a former chief whip, and helped her manage a variety of constituent issues.

“It was a real world experience,” she says. “There was no training. I just jumped right in.”

The experience taught Elizabeth two important lessons: that the world is much bigger than the bubble of Chapel Hill, and that your dreams can never be big enough.

Elizabeth came to appreciate certain aspects of the American political system, while recognizing other areas that were ripe for improvement. And at the end of the day, she was certain that she wanted to pursue a career that combined politics and media.

Spending a semester in London taught her other valuable lessons as well: Take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself. Learn something from everyone you come in contact with. Embrace the experiences that present themselves.

Elizabeth was determined to soak up her experience. She attended every event she could find, focused on making connections with everyone she met, and spent the weekends traveling to Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Prague, Greece, Austria, Germany, and beyond.

She successfully forged lasting relationships with Carolina alumni, fellow Honors Carolina students, and professionals she met while working at Parliament. Today, she remains connected with a contact at Parliament and Honors Carolina alumni, leveraging her network to gain career advice and open doors that may guide her future.

Her advice: “Take advantage of every opportunity you can and run with it.”