This past summer Lewis College of Human Sciences hosted its third faculty-led summer study abroad program in Glasgow, Scotland. Open to all Illinois Tech students, participants spent four weeks in Scotland studying at the University of Glasgow and immersing themselves in the Scottish culture.
Rebecca Steffenson, industry associate professor of political science and faculty-lead for the program, taught a special topics course that explored the evolution of the Scottish state and society since the creation of the new Scottish Parliament in the 1990's. The class visited the Scottish Parliament, met with political parties, and explored urban neighborhoods to understand recent debates over Scotland’s United Kingdom and European Union membership.
“One of the most valuable experiences that I had while in Scotland was being able to put what I was learning in the classroom and apply it to what was going on around me,” says Hailey Borowczyk, fourth-year biology and food safety and technology major. “Professor Steffenson brought in a student from the University of Glasgow to talk to our class who was a student member of the Scottish National Party. It was very interesting to see how open he was to discussing his political views in front of the class because it is pretty taboo here in the U.S. He was also able to explain more about the political system and how it directly affected him and his friends, something we had not really been able to grasp just talking among the class. This experience really allowed us to ask questions to someone who was living what we were learning and allowed for further discussion which would not have been possible otherwise.”
In addition to the political science course, a course on Scottish History was also offered to the Illinois Tech participants. Led by Margaret Power, professor of history and chair of the Department of Humanities, the course explored key aspects of Scottish history, including the early inhabitants, the formation of the clans, the development of the Scottish nation, English colonization of Scotland and Scottish resistance, the impact of English colonization on Scotland, the immigration hundreds of thousands of Scots, and Scottish involvement in the British empire.
Classes were held three days a week, allowing students to travel in their free time. In addition to classroom excursions, the group travelled to Stirling and Edinburgh, Scotland, the Scottish Highlands, and Belfast, Northern Ireland.
“I have wanted to study abroad since high school and the Lewis College program was a perfect fit because Iwas looking for a way to explore new countries and learn about other cultures and their histories with people I knew I could trust,” says Rachael Affenit, fifth-year biomedical engineering and computer science major. “My favorite visit was our excursion to Belfast, Northern Ireland. We took a ferry across the water, stayed in a hostel, and spent our first full day hiking in and around the Giant's Causeway. The following day we stayed in the city to visit historic buildings and murals, then switched gears that evening and found several options for local food and music. The students had formed a more cohesive group by the time we went on this trip halfway through the program, which made the trip all the more exciting.”
The Lewis College summer study abroad program will return to Osaka, Japan in 2018. Learn more about this exciting opportunity.