My Last Week

Jonny Schmidt Edinburgh, Scotland


August 6, 2016
By Jonny S., Museum Studies Internship Program, Scotland

So this would be my final week in Scotland, oh how time flies. I begin on Friday the 29th of July. I had my Friday off to work on my research project for Hopetoun House. So I stayed in Edinburgh Friday to work on my project by going to the National Library of Scotland. There is a whole process of bringing your ID and proof of address to get in and also having to order a book and wait and hour to get it. It was kind of frustrating, but I eventually got the documents I wanted and could start working on my paper more.

My paper for Arcadia was about how the Hope Family and Scotland were involved in the West Indies. Because of this project I had to spend of lot of my weekend writing and researching but I knew I needed to do it. Even with all this work I did go out every night, which was fun. There was this fun pub where they always had folk music, so I often went there with Rob and Dan. After working hard on Saturday, I decided that I had to go to Holyrood Palace on Sunday.

Holyrood is a giant palace at the end of the Royal Mile located across from the Scottish Parliament. It is the residence of the Queen when she comes to Scotland. I tried to go there weeks earlier but at the time the Queen was in residence. It was amazing with lavish furniture, a long hallway full of pictures and the ancient castle where Mary Queen of Scots lived. The rest of my day was spent going back up to Edinburgh Castle, shopping for gifts like socks for my kilt and visiting the new addition to the National Scottish Museum. That night I went over to the festivities in St. Andrews Square where there was a jazz performance.

Now for the past few weeks signs, new buildings, and grand stands in front of Edinburgh Castle have been set up around the city. This is for Fringe Fest, which is an annual festival that is held every august. It includes shows of all kinds that happen around the city, markets in the street and a Royal Military Tattoo performance. Now this festival brings a lot of tourists to the city, which Dan, Rob and I noticed immediately. The streets were more crowded than usual and more people seemed like they didn’t know where they were going (now, the festival technically starts on the August 5th, so I would only have one day of the festival, but more on that later).

Now my final week at Hopetoun would begin, we only have three days until we presented our project on Wednesday. My project for Hopetoun was different than my research project for Arcadia. My project for Hopetoun was finding how the Hope family were involved internationally throughout their history. I had already written and researched most of it by Monday but I needed more pictures and a few more paragraphs. So I went around the house gathering pictures. One other thing I had to do specifically was give a proper tour Monday. Every day at Hopetoun at 2 PM a guide will give an hour or so tour of the house for anyone interested. After already three weeks of being here I was my turn to give a full tour. I have to say I was nervous; I didn’t want to mess up or sound bad so I kept rehearsing beforehand. The tour actually went pretty well, I only said “umm” a few times and I reached 50 minutes. The other volunteers thought I sounded good at least. Rob was supposed to give his tour on Tuesday but nobody came so he gave a joint tour with Dan on Wednesday.

Wednesday was a weird day, because it was my last day at Hopetoun. I had my presentation and paper prepared for that night so after working all day Rob, Dan and I gave our presentations in the Tapestry Room. Rob’s presentation was on the horse stables and why they should be preserved. Dan’s presentation was on portraits in the house that aren’t that well known. Mine was on the Hope’s influence throughout there history going abroad. I think mine sounded pretty good. It was the longest and I gave it in a kilt so naturally people were impressed with that. After the presentation we had to say goodbye to Hopetoun House and head back to Edinburgh for the night. I enjoyed my internship there a lot; I got to learn a lot of how the house works and where they get all their research. I also got the opportunity to focus on my research and present it. The volunteers and all the other staff there were also very nice and easy to talk to, even if many of them were kind of old.

Thursday had come, my final full day in Edinburgh, and I decided to make the most of it. I began by getting my haircut, returning my books, getting my train ticket, and buying the rest of my gifts for back home. Because of the Fringe Festival had started everyone was handing out fliers for a bunch of different shows whenever I walked down the street. I decided to go to a few who were all stand up comedians. At 3pm I went to one in the Grassmarket who wasn’t that funny but still entertaining. The second one I went to at 5pm was actually pretty hilarious with some jokes that made bend over laughing. Third one I saw at 7:45 with Dan was actually the funniest, he had so much energy and it cracked me up.

To top off the night perfectly Dan and I went to the Royal Military Tattoo. I actually got tickets from one of the volunteers at the Hopetoun. There were so many people there and a long line but once we sat down it was amazing. The stands are located right in front of Edinburgh Castle. The performance is a bunch of different military band and dance groups performing for use. The military bands were from Jordan, Norway, New Zealand, Nepal, England, the U.S. (woo!), and of course Scotland. It the performances included guns, jazz, spies, motorcycles, fake snow and a lit up castle. It was such an amazing show and so many people were on stage that I was smiling the whole time. There were over a hundred bagpipers on the stage at one point, and it just felt like a perfect way to end my time in Scotland.

My time in the U.K. wasn’t completely over as the next day we gave our presentations for Arcadia at the Arcadia center. I thought they liked it and I gave it in my kilt again so I think I looked pretty good. After all our presentations were done, I had to head off to catch the train at 1 PM. The reason for the rush is I had to head down to London, as I had to fly out of there the next day. I also had to get to London to see a Shakespeare performance at the Globe Theater. So once my train got into to Kings Cross station, I had to rush to my hotel which was only three blocks away, but I had four bags of luggage which were hard to move around and really heavy, going up and down stairs was difficult.

Once I got to my hotel I dropped off my bags as quick as I could and rushed to the London Tube. I had two switch trains three times to get there but I made it with 30 minutes left. The play was The Taming of the Shrew, which I had never seen before but it was actually pretty good and the actors were amazing. When we got out it was 10 at night so I got to walk around in the London nightlife, which was awesome! I took the train back to my hotel and before I went in, I saw the place where only a few days ago an American woman got stabbed. It was very sad to see all the flowers, and the American flag, it made me feel a sense of national pride.

The next was my final day, to get to the airport I decided to take the Tube. I had to drag my four bags down to the train but once I got on there weren’t any problems and I reached the airport fine. Now that I sit here in the terminal writing this, I feel both relieved and kind of melancholy. I’m going to miss Scotland and I can’t wait to go back one day, and I will definitely go back one day. But I am excited to see my family again. This trip has been amazing, I knew I would have fun studying abroad and I definitely did. I have to thank Arcadia University for making this possible to do an internship in another country. The friends I met there were also amazing and I want to stay in touch with them. Maybe I can wear a kilt on campus when I get back.

Jonny S.Jonny is a student at Iowa State University and is blogging from his summer abroad with the Museum Studies Internship Program, in Edinburgh, Scotland.