Summer in Scotland: Culture, castles, kilts and classes
The University of St Andrews is one of two places where participants will study.
Scotland is home to medieval castles, kilts, the Loch Ness Monster — and JMU’s first study-abroad program focused on earning general education credits.
The Office of International Programs has partnered with University Studies to offer JMU students a unique opportunity to study in Scotland over the summer. Program participants will spend four weeks in Edinburgh and four weeks in St. Andrews while receiving 12 credits in general education courses.
“This program is meant to benefit JMU students by increasing the study abroad opportunities for them, especially those with a fairly rigid curriculum who often have trouble incorporating a semester abroad into a four-year undergraduate program,” said Dr. Linda Halpern, dean of University Studies at JMU.
During the eight-week program participants will learn from traveling JMU professors, as well as faculty from the University of Edinburgh and the University of St Andrews. “[We chose] Edinburgh and St. Andrews because they are two of Europe’s best and most prestigious universities,” said Dr. Bernd Kaussler, the program’s director, who received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of St Andrews. “Having a general education program offered abroad really is the icing on the cake for our students.”
This new program is open to all majors and grade levels, but is geared toward rising sophomores. Dr. Raymond “Skip” Hyser, professor of history, said that at the recent study abroad fair the Scotland program drew interest from nursing, pre-med and music students “because it would allow them to have a study abroad experience and fulfill general education requirements, while not impeding on their progress in their major or program.”
Program participants will visit Stirling, Glamis Castle, Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Scottish Parliament and Dunnotar Castle, as well as attend a ghost tour of Greyfriars Graveyard, hike the Scottish Highlands, visit the Isle of May and more. In addition, students will have their weekends free to explore other parts of Europe.
The general education courses being offered during the summer 2014 program are Scottish literature, physical geology, global politics and micro-sociology. Admitted students will also enroll in a one-credit, eight-week course during the spring semester. This course will provide a time for students to meet, prepare academically and plan travel arrangements. In future years, the Scotland program will always offer students courses that satisfy requirements for Clusters 2, 3, 4 and 5, but the courses being taught may change from year to year.
By Katie Casey (’13), JMU Public Affairs