There is no better way to learn than immersing yourself in a brand new city to experience life and culture. As well as learning in a classroom, I had the opportunity to explore two separate cities of Scotland outside of Glasgow during the first three weeks we were here led by our professors. These places offered me new insight into the books we are reading as well as the general history and culture of Scotland. The places we visited always had multiple overlaps with the texts we are studying and were able to give me a different perspective.
Trip to Edinburgh
This day started very early on an hour-long bus ride to Edinburgh and ended with me falling asleep on the way back to Glasgow. The trip to Edinburgh was jam-packed with so many new places discovered, and every place was just as good as the last. The first place on the agenda was Edinburgh Castle. The castle had so much rich history and interesting places to discover. We even got to see the Crown jewel, which belonged to many notable figures in history like Mary, Queen of Scots. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures of the crown!
After the castle, we traveled to the Writer’s Museum. The museum celebrates three authors, but Robert Louis Stevenson was the most notable because he is one of the authors we are studying in my Children’s Literature class. He was the author of Kidnapped and Treasure Island. We headed to the National Museum of Scotland where even if you dedicated a whole day to it, you still would not be able to get through it all. The museum is home to many different displays and art that range from fashion to science and technology. Greyfriars Kirkwood was next on the tour and we got to see many graves and memorials of notable people of Scotland, including Thomas Riddell’s grave. It is rumored that this name was J.K Rowling’s inspiration for the main antagonist in the Harry Potter series, Tom ‘Voldemort’ Riddle. During our first week in London, my children’s lit class will be studying Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone where we first meet Tom Riddle. The last thing on the tour was Grassmarket street which is a historic marketplace and home to many cute shops and restaurants. The road is winding and hilly, but the colorful shop fronts are worth seeing.
Trip to Moat Brae
Moat Brae is a center for children’s literature and storytelling and is the birthplace of Peter Pan. The author of the Peter Pan books, J.M Barrie, attended school in the town of Dumfries where Moat Brae is located. Again for my Children’s Lit class, we are reading some of the Peter Pan stories, so it is interesting to see where the inspiration came from.
Moat Brae is a museum, as well as a playhouse for children. During the tour of the museum, we got to see all the interactive things the children get to experience and learn about. Outside in the gardens of Moat Brae, there are ladders and slides to climb up and slide down for children and some young adults. However, I would suggest not wearing white pants while climbing through the course, especially after a fresh rainfall! But, I could not pass up feeling like a kid again. The museum seems to come alive with all the Peter Pan-inspired sounds that can be found throughout the gardens.
The three weeks I spent in Scotland is a time I will never forget. I learned so much, inside and outside the classroom, but especially during the excursions outside of the city. I learned about literature I always knew about in a different light. I learned about the history and culture of Scotland that I would have never known any other way. Engaging with places on my own teaches me a whole new perspective from the one I would have gathered only in a classroom. As I said before, the three weeks in Scotland will stay with me forever, and so will the city I was lucky enough to live in while I was here. But, Glasgow is a beautiful city with rich history and educational values that deserves its own recognition. Stay tuned for my next post, focused on this city.