US alumna Stasha Healy on tracing her Scottish roots, writing while travelling, and helping East Coast alumni to celebrate Burns Night.
|Name||Anastasia (Stasha) Mills Healy|
|Programme||Junior year abroad|
|Year of leaving||
Your time at the University
My junior year abroad studying Scottish Literature, English Literature, and Scottish Ethnology changed my life. Living and travelling internationally on my own opened my eyes, enriched my life, instilled confidence, and set me on a path for a career combining my writing and editing skills with my passion for learning about world cultures. I have Scottish ancestry so living and studying in Edinburgh and making a pilgrimage to Eigg, from where I can trace a bloodline, was a dream come true.
Your experiences since leaving the University
My career in the travel publishing world has taken me to 64 countries (goal is 100) and all 50 US states. I have been an editor at Conde Nast Traveler magazine, Fodor’s Travel Guides, and Travel Agent magazine, and I’ve been responsible for New York City’s official tourism information.
I’m now a freelance communications professional, writing travel stories for a variety of outlets and helping travel companies like tour operators and visitors’ bureaus craft their content. I also create every form of communication content imaginable, from social media posts to annual reports, for a variety of businesses and non-profit organizations ranging from museums to craft breweries. In my spare time (ha!) I am putting the finishing touches on a young adult novel that I hope will find a receptive literary agent.
When I moved to the suburbs of New York City I couldn’t find a Burns Supper near me so five years ago I started my own. The University invites area alumni and the event has been growing: This past January, 100 people celebrated Rabbie with a pipe band, haggis, and whisky! I had never heard of a Burns Supper before living in Scotland. My time studying Burns has prepared me well for writing my annual Immortal Memory speeches.
When I moved to the suburbs of New York City I couldn’t find a Burns Supper near me so five years ago I started my own.
Take advantage of every opportunity that interests you—classes, clubs, museums, performances, etc.—both at the University and in Edinburgh. Make time to travel and learn about the world firsthand. Experiencing other cultures is not only educational and fun, it is an asset for a global workforce and critical for humanity in general. I firmly agree with Mark Twain who wrote in 'Innocents Abroad': “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”
Stasha's travel blog (external ink)
Stasha's profile was written before the UK COVID-19 lockdown.