In May 2011, I had the opportunity to travel to Scotland for a May Term course. What an experience! The topic of the course was “SCOTLAND: Artistic Legacy and Cultural Identity” and the course was led by an English professor, Dr. Dana-Linn Whiteside, and my advisor, Art History professor Dr. James Hargrove. The itinerary included Glasgow, Stirling, Inverness, Orkney Isles, and Edinburgh. I had always wanted to visit Scotland due to my ancestral background, and the course description intriuged me even further:
Scotland: misty highlands, craggy coastlines, castles, battles, cities of granite spires… from Viking sagas to Romantic novels, Victorian monuments to modern art… This course is a multidisciplinary study of Scottish culture as manifested in art, literature, and landscape. Scotland has produced celebrated writers and made major contributions to the history of art and architecture in Britain. While Scotland is part of the UK, it maintains a distinct cultural cohesiveness – aspects of which we shall study during two weeks of travel around the country.
Combining a country I was already interested in with Art History, my major, was a perfect union! James also went on the trip, as well as my pledge sister, KG, who I roomed with, and James’s KA brother, Rosa. We also became friends with Lindsay and got to know a lot of other new friends–I guess you get to know people pretty quickly when you are traveling abroad with them for 2 weeks!
Highlights of the trip: castles, gorgeous views, Braveheart soundtrack playing in all gift shops, bland food, super old and beautiful buildings, strong accents (sometimes we couldn’t believe they actually spoke English), tartan, Scotch, monuments to cultural icons, finding a Starbucks, buying hot sauce to actually give food flavor, currency exchanges, hotel fire alarms going off in the wee hours of the night, travel by bus, getting motion sickness on a treacherous ferry ride, windy/rainy/cold, & a plethora of museums!
The trip was a fantastic experience and even led to the topic for my Art History Honors thesis (Celtic Circles: Margaret and Frances MacDonald and the Development of the “Glasgow Style”). The trip certainly wet my appetite for travel and I can’t wait until I can visit Europe again someday. Here are a few photos to sum up the experience (click for slideshow view):