CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – This summer, 35 Islanders took flight to study abroad in Dalkeith, Scotland as part of the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s 2017 Islanders in Scotland Study Abroad Program. Designed as an interdisciplinary learning experience, students studied the social sciences and humanities with Drs. Kathryn Santos, Pam Brouillard, and Andrew Garcia, J.D. – plus – Professional Assistant Professor Tom Murphy and Study Abroad student worker Phoebe Bu. The five-week trip, coordinated by Murphy, allowed students and faculty to engage in a learning community, conduct primary research and immerse themselves in a culturally-rich environment directly related to course materials.
“I advise my students to ‘be prepared to be unprepared.’ Flexibility is the key to a great experience abroad,” said Brouillard, Chair and Professor of Psychology at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “Studying abroad can be the highlight of a college experience. It changes your perception of yourself and the world around you in ways you can’t imagine.”
Islander students, along with faculty and staff, were challenged to acclimate themselves to a country outside the U.S. and engage with locals as they traveled in and around Edinburg while staying at Dalkeith Palace – the past residence for many historic figures, including Mary Queen of Scotts. Professors arranged field trips at locations such as the Writer’s Museum of Edinburg, the National Library of Scotland, the National Museum of Scotland and the Roslyn Chapel. Students and faculty also participated in a research excursion through the Highlands where students worked in groups on a collaborative research project on the topic of “Stories of Scotland.”
“The student’s presentations revealed the many ways that we can learn about a country and its cultures by working together to chart the fascinating historical, literary, mythological and criminal stories that circulate in a wide range of social contexts,” said Santos, Assistant Professor of English at A&M-Corpus Christi. “I felt excited to know that students would return home not just with an understanding of Scottish culture, but also with a new set of skills and a different perspective on the world that would enhance their remaining time at the Island University.”
Students were given the opportunity to dive into Scottish culture, crime and history through classes such as Technical and Professional Writing (English 3301), Major Authors: Shakespeare (English 4305), Scottish Crime Fiction (English 4390), Criminology (Criminal Justice/Sociology 4335) and Gender Issues in Psychology (Psychology 4367).
“During this trip, I enrolled in two classes with Dr. Santos and immersed myself in the Scottish culture,” said Sarah Reeves, a senior English major. “While staying in another country, I had to adjust. I realized how much your own cultural bias affects your perception of the world around you. Overall, traveling abroad requires you to have an open mind and respect for the country you are visiting.”There are several different opportunities for Islanders to expand their horizons by studying abroad. To find out more, visit studyabroad.tamucc.edu.