Hey everyone, it’s been about two weeks since I last gave you an update and a lot has happened since then.
Last weekend I went on a three-day two-night tour of the Scottish Highlands with some other members of the University of Stirling’s International Summer School students. It was absolutely beautiful! We saw some amazing scenery and learned a lot about Scottish history and folk beliefs. Our guide was from the Highlands and he taught us about the Jacobite Wars, the Highland Clearance, the Scottish Clans, and fairy belief in the highlands. Seeing such historic sites that are several centuries old was definitely a new experience. In the US most of our historical sites are less than 250 years old but since I've been in Scotland I've seen sights that are over 800 years old. One of the most interesting things we learned about on that trip was definitely also the darkest thing we learned about, the Highland Clearance. This was when the English invaded Scotland and forced them to give up their Gaelic culture and conform to English rule or leave. Many clans and families fled to the New World. I learned that my ancestors were likely among those who fled as my last name is Johnson which is derived from the Scottish clan Johnstone. I knew that I had some Scottish ancestry but this trip allowed me to see where they came from and why they went to America in the first place.
I have also had the opportunity since my last blog to be more independent as I explored my host university’s city of Stirling and Glasgow. I left the host city on my own for the first time this past weekend when I visited the city of Glasgow. I had to navigate taking a train for the first time and a new city by myself. As someone who still lives with my parents and commutes to my home university from their house, doing things like this on my own is a new experience for me. I think it's also a very helpful experience for me to have as it has better prepared me for my future independence after college. Glasgow is a huge city with many towering buildings and museums. I went to 2 very interesting museums while I was there: the Kelvingrove and the Glasgow Police Museum. The Kelvingrove had a little bit of everything from Scottish history to Egyptian canopic jars to medieval weaponry. There was a lot of varied history and perspectives. The Glasgow Police Museum was very interesting to me as I am taking a Crime and Justice in Scotland course and also my major being Homeland Security with aspirations of getting into federal law enforcement or intelligence. The modern model of policing was created in the UK and the Glasgow police force was the first in Scotland. Learning about the origins of policing and the way it changed overtime helped me to better understand today’s law enforcement.
Being in Scotland has been an absolutely amazing experience and I will really miss it when I return home at the end of the week. Check back in next week to hear my final thoughts on this once in a lifetime experience.