2022 Summer Academics Breanna Kemp United Kingdom

Getting to know Glasgow through classes and major sites and having to say goodbye

My first impression of Glasgow was through the eyes of someone who was tired and hungry. Thankfully, a full meal and a good seven hours of sleep helped me bounce right back the following day for our exploration of Glasgow. Before arriving in Scotland, I did not know much about Glasgow, so I did not have any expectations of how the day was going to go. However, I know I did not need any expectations because of all the beautiful places we visited. The city is very historical and the architecture is there to prove it. Just walking down the streets, you see building after building with centuries-old architecture that point to the long line of history. The people in Glasgow are also the kindest people who will always stop to help, hence their tagline ‘People Make Glasgow.’ 

The first place I visited with the professors and students in my program was the Glasgow Museum at Kelvin Hall, which has teachings, research, and access to many collections, some of which were directly related to our course material. We did not stay long because we had a long day ahead of us, so we did not get to see much. However, our tour guide mentioned many of the exhibits and displays that were in the museum. For example, the tour guide mentioned the museum had an exhibit on Scotland’s history in the slave trade, which we have discussed in my Representing Race and Diversity class. Prior to this class and arriving in Scotland, I did not know much about the role Scotland played in the slave trade. Through the classes and a few walking tours around Glasgow, I have a better understanding about Scotland and its role. 

After Kelvin Hall, we walked to the Hunterian Museum, which is located at the University of Glasgow. Before seeing the university for the first time, I did know about the Hunterian Museum. I did not know much about the Cloisters, however I have seen enough pictures across all social media. (And of course, I had to add to the collection!) It was definitely a surreal experience seeing something you have only ever seen in pictures or videos. I think seeing the University of Glasgow and Cloisters really cemented that I was here in Scotland, a whole different country.

The Cloisters at the University of Glasgow
University of Glasgow

Our next destination was the Glasgow Cathedral and the Necropolis. The cathedral was beautiful, from the architecture to the stained glass windows to the small details engraved into the structure. We had the chance to listen on headphones to all the cathedral’s history, and it was interesting to hear and understand the history better as I moved around the cathedral taking it all in. Above the cathedral, on a steep hill, sits the Glasgow Necropolis. It is a Victorian cemetery where fifty thousand people are buried. Our final destination was supposed to be the People’s Palace, but our trek around the city ended in Glasgow Green because everyone was tired from the jet lag/walking all day and the palace ended up being closed.

The Glasgow Cathedral
The beautiful mosiacs in the Glasgow Cathedral!
The Glasgow Necropolis

Glasgow was the first city in a different country where I have lived on my own before. Of course, I made friends while I was here and I had resources close by, but I didn’t have the comfort of my parents to fall back on. This was my first time living independently in another country and because of that, Glasgow will always have a place in my heart! 

I spent my last week in Glasgow soaking in all the memories I made. I left Scotland with all the new education and lessons from my classes that will follow me forever. I am in London, England now and although I am very excited to experience London, I will miss Scotland. To be able to engage with Scottish culture by visiting museums, walking famous streets, and studying notable figures, I have been able to better understand the literature I am studying, which has inspired my desire to write and share my experiences with everyone. These last few weeks have been an experience that I will always remember and I am so glad I had the opportunity to explore the country.

Take a look back at my explorations of Scotland outside of Glasgow.

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