Written by Dana Lyons ’17
Our arrival into Edinburgh, Scotland was one I will remember forever. Our class took an overnight train from London to Edinburgh which was about a six hour train ride. This was my first time visiting Scotland, so I was very excited when we arrived. Upon our arrival, we saw beautiful buildings that looked like castles. Most of the buildings were covered in stone and they each had their own unique style, therefore, no two buildings were alike. Edinburgh was also surrounded by mountains and I found this to be very beautiful. The buildings were not all one height and if you looked off into the distance, you could see the Edinburgh castle sitting on top of a hill which overlooked the whole town.
While exploring Edinburgh with the class, we were able to visit the Holyrood Palace. The Holyrood Palace was built in the 16th century and is where the royal family stays when they visit Scotland. After visiting the palace, we walked the royal mile that took us from the palace up to the Edinburgh castle. This is considered the royal mile, because it is where the royal family march progresses on their visit to Scotland.
The class stayed in Edinburgh for two nights before we moved to Braemar, where we stayed another two nights. Braemar is north of Edinburgh, therefore, the weather was really chilly while we were there. The small town was surrounded by mountains which gave the town a peaceful and calm atmosphere. The mountains were very beautiful because they were massive and had snow on their peaks.
At Braemar there was not much to do, so we had class time in the hostels and took a class hike around the town and up one of the mountains. The weather on this day was perfect for hiking because the sun was out but it was chilly. On our hike, the trail was easier to climb than I was expecting. When we reached the lookout point on the mountain, we were able to see the Braemar Castle that was just outside the edge of the town. For the course portion of our trip, we compared different parts of Scotland to the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare. While hiking the mountain we were able to see how the woods were and pleasant to explore, almost like it might have been in the play.
Near the end of our trip in Braemar, we climbed Dunsinane Hill which also took place in Macbeth. Visiting similar areas relating to the plays that we read for the course put a different perspective on the play that would not have been gathered by just reading the play in the classroom. Studying away is a great opportunity to do something different and to gather a deeper understanding of the course and I am really glad that Hiram College has a wonderful study abroad program that allows students to gain this once-in-a-life-time experience. I can honestly say that I have learned more on my trip to the United Kingdom than I expected. This is because there so much more than just the course material that can be gained when traveling to a different country.