Discover Your Island

‘Islanders in Scotland’ Explore Geology, Climate and Society While Mapping the Scottish Isles

October 21, 2015

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The College of Science and Engineering and the College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi hosted its first ever study abroad program to Scotland. A select group of 23 undergraduate students, four professors and one academic advisor immersed themselves in Scottish culture for five weeks over summer 2015. Each “Islander in Scotland” earned six credit hours while abroad.

“My ancestors are from Scotland and I had always wanted to visit,” said sophomore Geographic Information Science (GIS) student Joana Scott. “It was a chance of a lifetime for me, as I had never left the country before. I didn't even have a passport when I decided to go.”

The group stayed in the three-century old Dalkeith House, located near Edinburgh, Scotland. During the trip, students and faculty visited historic Scottish locations such as the Museum of Lead Mining & Glacial Features, the Isle of Skye and Trossachs National Park.

“The professors who helped organize this trip put together a unique, memorable, and educational program that benefited both the student and professor,” said Dr. Richard Smith, Assistant Professor of GIS.

Courses offered on the study abroad trip included Essentials of Geology, Climate and Society, Public Speaking and Introduction to Geographic Information Systems.

“The part of Scotland we visited was an absolute dream for a geologist because many of the science's forefathers lived and worked there,” said Dr. Mark Besonen, Assistant Professor of Geology. “In fact, we saw some of the same rock exposures that these forefathers used 250 years ago to establish some of the fundamental principles of modern geology. The sketches are in almost every introductory geology textbook that exists.”

The estimated program fee was $4,000 plus tuition, and included airfare, accommodations, breakfast and lunch, ground transportation, academic excursions, and insurance. Study abroad scholarships are available for those who qualify.

“My best learning experience was being in the field, being in such close relation to nature, and enjoying an excellent view while learning about Scottish geology,” said sophomore GIS student Juan Martinez.

The study abroad program not only helped students feel closer to nature, but helped professors feel more connected to students.

“The study abroad gave me the chance to see a country that I have never seen before and work with scholars from different disciplines than mine,” said Dr. Michael Sollitto, Assistant Professor of Communication. “I connected with students on a personal, fun and innovative level.”

To learn more about study abroad programs offered by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, email study.abroad@tamucc.edu; or call 361.825.2789.

To view more pictures from the Scotland trip, click here.