SU’s first Fulbright Summer Institute participant has just finished her five-week cultural and academic adventure! Rising sophomore Hannah Butler arrived in Dundee, Scotland, in early July and is now returning to the U.S. after a busy few weeks of lessons, field trips, tours, and discussions.
The Fulbright Summer Institutes offer several fully-funded programs around the UK for rising sophomores and juniors. Program participants enroll in an exciting academic program at a UK university and explore the culture and history of the UK while strengthening their presentation, research, and communication skills. Each institute presents a unique theme, from history and archaeology to climate change.
Some of the 2016 Scotland Summer Institute’s activities included: lectures on Scottish architecture; climbing the extinct volcano Dundee Law; a tour of The McManus, Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum; tea in the Glamis Castle; a lecture on forensic human identification; a tour of the Royal Mile Underground; a tour of BBC Scotland; a discussion of the authenticity of Braveheart and Brave to Scottish culture and history; exploring the Ness islands; visiting author, historian, professor, and former member of the Scottish parliament Christopher Harvey in his home; a reception at the Glasgow City Chambers with the former Lord Provost Elizabeth Cameron; a lecture on infectious diseases and drug development; and a visit to the National Theatre of Scotland.
Hannah has blogged about her experiences abroad. We share her final blog post below.
Are you still in the chair you pulled up 5 short weeks ago? If so, thanks for sticking with me throughout this experience and I hope I was able to express a fraction of what I have experienced in this breathtaking country. So, to prevent the tears from falling as I write this on my last day, let’s dive into my final week at the Fulbright Scotland Summer Institute!
The day’s festivities started at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences learning about new medicines, better medicines, and better use of medicines. Several Dean’s fellows spoke about their individual research and I felt as if I learned a year’s worth of medical school information in one hour! From multidisciplinary approaches in the development of anti-platelet agents to neuroscience and diseases of the brain, I definitely received a science fix to last for the next few years.
Remember Irn Bru? The soda that is the national drink of Scotland? Well Monday afternoon we visited the production factory! Not only did we tour the logistics center and factory warehouse, but we learned about marketing and brand reputation from the Commercial Director of AG Barr (the umbrella company that includes Irn Bru, Rockstar, and several other carbonated drinks in Scotland). Irn Bru’s bold and irreverent marketing strategy leads to some pretty hilarious television adverts and we got to analyze the market audience and public response for several of their most famous commercials. It was another opportunity for me to put my marketing background to the test and I loved every moment. Plus, the taste test game of all the different AG Barr beverages was quite a delicious challenge!
You can take the girl out of Scotland but you can’t take the Irn Bru out of the girl!
Guess the soda challenge!
More soda then I have ever seen in my life!
Tuesday was a whirlwind as we had our second program sponsored Edinburgh day! I can officially say (because I’m in my last week) that this was the coolest day of the trip. It was on this day that I realized we weren’t normal tourists in the country, but rather guests of Scotland. The two major highlights were lunch in the Edinburgh City Chambers then an evening reception at the US Consulate! And despite the 60 or so important people who stood around mingling and sipping wine, we were the honored guests! The night was hosted by the assistant cultural attache and speaking with him about international relations prepared me even more to return to America as an ambassador for this great nation.
Jumping for joy at the British Council
All of Wednesday was spent huddled in our favorite cafe working on our final presentations. I wish I could tell you that there was more to the day then that, but alas, 5 weeks of adventures and no work on our final project had finally caught up to us.
PRESENTATION DAY! It was a special treat to share all I had learned and express my gratitude in a 15 minute presentation to our program coordinators from Dundee and Strathclyde. In addition, it was eye-opening to hear a different side of the experience from the presentations of my friends! The biggest thing I will take away from this program is a change in perspective and having the chance to share that new perspective with my professors and fellow #FulbrightScots was a chance I am so thankful I had.
After 4 hours in the presentation room, the night concluded with our farewell dinner at an authentic Scottish restaurant. After 5 weeks of cultural immersion and taking risks, I decided to take a few more as I ordered pheasant and ostrich as my appetizer and main course. The Hannah I knew 5 weeks ago wouldn’t have dared! I can confidently say that this experience has made me fearless.
It’s Friday, our final full day in Scotland, and I am writing this blog in an empty room but with a full heart. This morning, our program ended the same way it began with a Fulbright debrief with the head of undergraduate awards. I don’t quite know how I will be able to walk away from what has been the best 5 weeks of my life. I don’t use the term “life changing” a lot… But I can’t think of another way to describe what this program has meant to me. I will post this final blog, hurry to the town center to grab some final souvenirs for my friends, then stay up all night talking, reminiscing, and drinking Irn Bru with my 9 new best friends. We will then catch our 3 am cab to the airport with the vow to return for school, research, or holiday very soon.
One final thank you to the US-UK Fulbright Commission, the Universities of Dundee and Strathclyde, and my fellow #FulbrightScots for challenging and inspiring me throughout this process.
I arrived naive and stuck in the ethnocentric bubble that defines the United States but am leaving as an international ambassador who yearns to ask what I can do for the world rather than what the world can do for me.
My Fulbright Promise: never lose the bold spirit that Scotland has instilled in me
Cheers for the final time!