FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 6, 2010
Contact: Sarah Perry
Students in MUW Study Abroad Program travel to Scotland
COLUMBUS, Miss. – A group of 19 honors students and two professors of the Residential Honors Program at Mississippi University for Women recently returned from a four-week study abroad trip to Edinburgh, Scotland.
The participating students, who are incoming juniors, were led by Dr. Thomas Velek, coordinator of the Study Abroad Program and history professor, and accompanied by Dr. Thomas Richardson, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The semester before and into the trip, the students studied Scottish history with Velek and literature with Richardson.
When they settled into their flats, in the heart of Edinburgh, all were already somewhat familiar with their surroundings after studying the culture featuring various monuments and actual places in the city. Finally, the entire semester of studies came together visually.
Velek said, "I am happy that the Gordy Honors College is able to offer its students outstanding opportunities such as this. In an increasingly global world, it is essential that our students have experience studying overseas." The Ina E. Gordy Honors College at MUW provides an opportunity for academically advanced and motivated students to participate in a learning experience that is intensive and innovative.
Student’s mornings were spent in class with the afternoon available for sightseeing and time to work on their history research project for Velek. Students were asked to pick a neighborhood site and gave an oral presentation to the class about how it engaged in the social and economic development of the city.
Lizzie Locker, a junior English major who traveled with the group, said, “Studying the city and its history was a fascinating topic to begin with, but actually living and immersing myself in the culture while doing my research there was more incredible than I can describe. I was chose the Museums of the Royal Mile as my research topic. This meant I studied the individual histories of four museums located on Edinburgh's Royal Mile-the Museum of Childhood, the People's Story, the Writers' Museum and the Museum of Edinburgh - as well as the impact they have had on the city and the important roles they continue to play. I was actually quite surprised at how much I enjoyed such intensive research probably because I was so interested in my subject and because I was surrounded by material and resources at every turn.”
In addition to the actual history of Edinburgh, it was also interesting for the students to see the sites that were featured in some the fictional books they read in Dr. Richardson’s literature class.
Richardson said, "The distinctiveness of the literature of Scotland is in large measure defined by its strong sense of place. And place is not merely physical location. It includes landscape, language, history, culture and the character of its people. The experience of living in the place in which the texts were created enabled the students to achieve a much deeper level of understanding than merely reading the literature in an MUW classroom."
The trip wasn’t all about the books. The group also ventured on four side trips to Glasgow, the Scotish borders, Crighton Castle and New Lanark. They saw a production of “Peter Pan” at the National Theatre of Scotland and went to a céilidh which is a traditional social gathering, which usually involves playing Gaelic folk music and dancing.
Each year 20 freshman are admitted into the Residential Honors Program and for the past four years the group has gone on three study abroad trips at the end of their sophomore year. This was their first time to Scotland.
To learn more about MUW’s Study Abroad Program visit http://www.muw.edu/studyabroad/.