The First Goodbye

Jonny Schmidt Edinburgh, Scotland


July 12, 2016
By Jonny S., Museum Studies Internship Program, Scotland

My weekend before my fourth week in Scotland was very exciting. Arcadia had scheduled a tour to the Luss Highland Games that took place next to Loch Lomond on the 2nd of July. Most of the other students, including myself, decided to sign up. We took a bus through Glasgow up to Loch Lomond to get there. To make the experience even better, I decided to wear my kilt again.

So the Highland Games took place in a large field surrounded by tents filled with food and cloths. There were some men doing shot put in the middle of the field while others were doing various activities such as throwing a giant stick, lifting weights, running around the track, and playing bagpipes. And of course, they all had to wear kilts. It was a very festive experience even though it was raining on and off the whole time. It was definitely cool to see them compete because the people were incredibly strong. On our way back to the bus, we also went to the shores of Loch Lomond, which were steeped in mist. On our way back to Edinburgh, we also stopped at Hill House, which was designed by Macintosh. This house was an architectural marvel and reminded me a lot of the Frank Lloyd Wright house. It was definitely a good trip and that night, we celebrated the “July birthdays” in our group, including mine. The next day, Sunday, was pretty relaxing as we relaxed a lot.

On that Monday though, we had class off so we got a bus tour that went up into the highlands. We left at 8:30 in the morning, first heading to the western highlands. We went to Glencoe, which was an amazing sight to see with all the fog amidst the beautiful landscape. Next we drove to Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the United Kingdom and after that, we stopped in Fort Williams. As we were touring all of these places, we got to hear stories and tales of Scottish lore and interesting facts about where they filmed for movies. Finally we headed up to Loch Ness, which is a really long loch. We took a boat tour on the loch and got to see the ruins of a castle though I was unable to see Nessie. The drive back to Edinburgh was a little long, but we got back at 8:30 PM that same day. The trip was definitely worth it.

This week was our last week of our regular classes and also the last week with all of the Scottish history students, seeing as some would leave after this. So on Tuesday we had our last Scottish history class with Jen in which we covered all of modern history and headed down to the Scottish Parliament afterwards. We got a free tour and saw the main debate chamber and side rooms. The building felt like a place that was bustling with energy, especially because of the debate over Scottish independence. It was later that night we went to go see France and Iceland play, which was really sad because Iceland lost and I was rooting for them. For the next few days, because our classes were coming to an end, I had to spend a lot of time writing essays that were due on Friday. So lots of my Wednesday was spent writing them.

For my Scottish History paper, I had to write about the Scottish witch trials that involved a lot of deep research. For my museum studies class, I decided to write about organization within museums. This involved looking at how museums use orientation to engage visitors in exhibits and where to go. I looked at some of the previous places we went to, like Edinburgh Castle. I did get to take a break Thursday morning when we decided to go up to Arthur’s Seat, a large hill in the middle of town. I could see the whole city from the top including all the way across the Firth of Forth. It was amazing to be up there. Afterwards, everyone in the program went out to a goodbye lunch. We all hung out that night as well as finished our essays. Friday morning, Dan, Rob, and I presented our museum studies presentations to our professor, David. The rest of the people were all in Scottish History so they would be leaving on Saturday, leaving only Rob, Dan, and I to do our internship for the next four weeks. It was sad Friday night as we all went out together, realizing most of them would be leaving and I probably wouldn’t see many of them again. It made me realize how close I had become with them in four weeks and how it would be really hard in the morning seeing them leave. But at least I got to spend one more night with them.

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.