So what is all this mysterious UK visa business about? Yes, I know have been secretive about what is happening, but it’s partially because the actual departure seemed so far away and at the time I didn’t want to jinx anything. If we flip back to late February, some of you may remember I mentioned that I was heading off to New York for an interview. This interview was for the Royal Horticultural Society Interchange Fellowship. (It was previously known as the Martin McLaren Horticultural Scholarship, but funding changed and so did the name.)
This fellowship is “a reciprocal exchange…sponsored by The Garden Club of America in the US and the Royal Horticultural Society in the UK” (CGA) and every year both organizations select only one fellow to send overseas. The chosen fellows from the UK are placed at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania for 12 months. Though if they are graduates, they may choose to attend the first year of a Masters Program at a US university of their choice instead. The US fellow has the ability to pick a variety of garden placements within the UK – though that maybe changing soon – for their 10 month stay.
This exchange was founded in 1948 with the aim to “foster British-American relations, promote horticultural studies and the exchange of information in this field, and of course to develop the horticultural and educational leaders of the future” (RHS). Since then more than 100 fellows have participated in this Interchange Fellowship and many have gone on to shape and hold important positions in the fields of botany, horticulture, and landscape design.
I’ve always wanted to see the gardens of Britain and I’ve always dreamed of living in the UK for a bit of my life. To be selected as the next RHS Interchange Fellow, all of my dreams (and more) are coming true and many doors are beginning to open. I’ve just arrived yesterday morning to my first placement at RHS Garden Wisley, and I will be working here for the next few months. I can’t believe I am here – it is so exciting!
Come along with me on my grand British adventure right here on this blog!
PS Thank you Annie Jung for the banner!