My time in Scotland was an absolute blast! Having this opportunity was a great way for me to grow closer with my peers that went along on the trip and a great place to study geology there. First, the culture was something new to me; this being the weather, various accents, and my favorite being food. As the trip went along, the group had several stops to understand the geology that we had previously studied and got to see. This being ancient volcanoes, faults, unconformities, and glacial features. All these geologic features were astonishing because you can see how the landscape has changed over time through several different processes. With this however, the unconformities are tough to wrap my head around because of the time differences in rocks. An example of this is at Knockan Crag where one billion-year-old rock sits atop of ~500-million-year-old rock. Other locations of unconformities are Siccar point and Newton’s Point, both of which were found by James Hutton, the father of modern geology.
Starting off with the weather, I am glad I packed accordingly. When I arrived in Edinburgh, it was sunny and hot, but as we went further north, it began to get cooler and very wet. Particularly in Inverness, a small group of us went on a hike and the weather seemed to be decent as we went up the mountain, but as soon as we reached the top and almost the entire way back to the hostel was a constant downpour of rain. Again, glad I packed accordingly.
Another aspect of this trip that I found more challenging than expected was understanding the locals. Even though they speak English, their Scottish accent was in some cases hard for me to understand what they were saying.
The food in Scotland was absolutely delicious. They had all kinds of foods that I had never heard of, and some that they prepared in their own style. One of which I’ve heard of is haggis. I will let the reader find out what haggis is made from, but to be honest, it was pretty good. It had a similar flavor to sausage but the consistency of refried beans. With this said, another restaurant prepared haggis a little differently, where it was fried with an Indian recipe, and I was not the biggest fan of it. One of my favorite foods to get while in Scotland was definitely fish and chips (fries). I had this meal almost every day if I could 1. because it’s very common, and 2. because it is freshly caught and delicious. My favorite meal of the trip had to have been the final group meal. It was at a restaurant named Vittoria. It is an authentic Italian restaurant that had the best pasta I’ve ever had. It is in Edinburgh just before the Royal Mile, and when we first arrived on the trip, I noticed it and wanted to go there, but didn’t. Luckily on the last night we went there to kick off our final and eventful night in Scotland.
Isaac Thompson (BS Geology) spent part of July 2023 participating in a faculty-led trip to Scotland with the Geology department. Isaac had the following to say about studying abroad, “Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience a totally new culture and way of life. It forces you to take a step out of your comfort zone, but all within the limits you desire. It also creates new opportunities to make new friends and potentially network on a global scale. All in all, if you have the opportunity, take it and gain academic knowledge and make some of the best memories of your life!”
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