I just returned from Scotland! It was my "Long Study Tour." The purpose of the tour was to see how elements of my core course (Positive Psychology) are being implemented in the real world, but also to give the students time to hang out with each other and to get to see another country.
The trip started on Monday with a flight to London and then to Edinburgh. The flights weren't that bad (had to be at airport at 9:30 so I did not have to wake up super early) but we did have a somewhat hectic layover in London as we had to wait in long lines to get through security and customs again in order to be able to move around the UK. I did nothing else but go from one gate straight to the next and I only got there with literally 3 minutes to spare. Anyway, we got to Edinburgh and went to our hotel (Holiday Inn Express). After getting settled, we went on a walking tour of the city (which was really cool) and then had dinner at a bar. The city was extremely pretty. The architecture was very old and gothic and there were some amazing old buildings and churches. The city has some very interesting history and stories as well (too many to share).
Also, for those of you who do not know (I did not know before going), Scotland is part of the UK and has its own parliament. It has recently (2009) passed some legislation with the intention of improving overall mental health in Scotland, which is part of the reason that Scotland was our destination for the long study tour.
Anyway, we then went back to the hotel and I went out with a few friends for a drink at a pub (a very Scottish thing to do). I went back to the hotel early as my roommate was getting together with a friend who is studying in Edinburgh. My roommate was named Asa and he is a cool and friendly person; he also likes to go out a lot (he went out 4 out of the 5 nights in Scotland).
On day two, we woke up and went to the PlayField institute in Fief for our first academic visit. The institute is designed to cater to children in both psychiatry and therapy. The institute is also designed to assist and provide workshops for anyone who interacts with children, whether that be parents, or teachers, or psychologists working with children. The institute invites people to do workshops and not charge the institute that much so that the institute does not have to change locals who want to take advantage of the workshops that much. In general, it sounds like the institute has been very successful and has been able to provide a large number of workshops and information to the people in Fief, and Scotland. I think everyone in my class enjoyed the visit which consisted of a lecture, lunch, and then some activities related to positive psychology. (If anyone is interested and wants more information about the institute and their work related to positive psychology, go to http://www.handsonscotland.co.uk/)
After that visit we got back on the bus and went to the Glengoyne Distillery which is an old distillery located right on the border between the lowlands of Scotland and the highlands. By the way all of these bus rides took us through the very pretty Scottish countryside which was filled with rolling hills and roughly 5 billion sheep. Anyway, we got to try a few different types of whiskey of very high quality (and alcohol content). I was not the biggest fan but some people enjoyed them (and got drunk). After that we went to a lodge on Loch Lomond and had a fancy dinner. It was dark so we were unable to see much of the Loch (but we went back on another day) so we just had a nice dinner. We then went back to Edinburgh, it took about two hours and I had some good talks all the way back. I went ahead and went back to my room while Asa went out.
So that was the first two days of my adventures! They were fun and there is more to come in the future! I know everyone at SU is on their Fall Break, so enjoy your time off! I'll talk to everyone again soon!