At first glance when signing up for the course, I was a bit anxious about how spending two weeks in another country would work. What if the people are mean and I am clueless? How does the currency work? What if I get lost? These were some of the questions I had when the opportunity to take a class studying abroad was presented to me. However, as time went on, I started to come to realize that there was really nothing to worry about. Also, spending time studying what I was there for also help to keep me focused and not worry too much about what was going on around me.
Studying geology over there was great and a once in a lifetime trip. We covered a wide range of topics that are even introduced in most beginner geology courses offered. Starting in Edinburgh, we learned about the local geology in that area. Mainly hiking up Arthur’s Seat which is where an ancient volcano has ancient dykes around the outside providing evidence of its ancient and explosive past. We also saw Hutton’s great unconformity which provided evidence of deep time. Here, Hutton was able to revolutionize the science of modern geology and learn more about the Earth. Here very old rock had been thrusted on top much younger rock. What has been called the “Abyss of Time” had been observed here, which is where we can see an older Earth that is still undergoing processes that had been happening long ago.
From here, we headed west, traveling through Glasgow and through the central lowlands until we headed north up through the Grampian Highlands. We would stay in hostels making dinner for ourselves in the kitchens that were provided for us as guests. Some days, though, we would go out and explore and visit and learn about the cities and towns were visiting. This would also be where we would meet the locals who would provide us information about the towns, Scottish history, and current major events happening in Scotland. Our group was in Scotland during King Charles’ coronation, so it was interesting hearing about that and Scottish Independence while we were over there. Learning about different cultures while were over there I feel helped to enrich my experience while we were there. Especially since while over there, we did not hear much about American politics or really anything happening in the United States while there.
Another great thing about the trip and studying abroad was meeting the locals and meeting new people. While we were over there, the Scottish people were very kind, warm, and friendly. Hearing our accents and that we were not from there they very helpful. Asking if we are enjoying our stay in the country, helping with directions, or even just giving out recommendations on traveling or things to do. The Scottish people have a deep history with stories that have been handed generation through generation that they enjoy sharing and telling.
While I was anxious to study abroad at first, the trip ended up being a good experience for me learning about geology in the country where geology was revolutionized.
Quillen Thornton (BS Geology) spent part of July 2023 participating in a faculty-led trip to Scotland with the Geology department. Quillen had the following to say about studying abroad, “Stare into the Abyss of Time and discover more about the history of Earth and become more connected with the people who live on it.”
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