Studying abroad is one of those college opportunities that I have been wanting to do for a while. In particular, I’d love to go to Ireland because most of my ancestry comes from that beautiful country. The castles, ancient sites, literary and film locations, cultural events and natural scenes also make Ireland my first choice for both study abroad and international travel in general. These reasons as well as many ancestral ties also draw me to visiting Scotland, England and Wales. My dream travel experience would be to visit all four of these countries in one big first trip across the pond.
Of course, the traditional time for study abroad tends to be during a person’s undergraduate college years. I’m in my final semester as an undergraduate, so I could probably apply to a short / summer program that offers graduate level credit. Whether or not studying abroad happens, I definitely want to my ancestral countries anyway. I want to see the ancient and medieval sites and feel the history in person; I want to go to many cultural events; learn some Irish, Gaelic, Scottish and Welsh; taste the food and listen to great live music. I would be taking a lot of photos during my time in Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. Just from the places I’ve been to so far, I have built up an extensive travel photography portfolio on Flickr.
I found information about some ancestral tours in Scotland, based on various surnames. My Scottish ancestors had surnames such as Sinclair, Baldwin and Gibson; there are many others in England and one surname in my Welsh ancestry is Evans. I don’t know for certain if there are ancestry tours in England or Wales, although the many literary and film sites will give me a great deal to see. In my final undergraduate semester, I’m completing a minor in English with a concentration in film studies. Given that, it would be a great follow-up to see the places associated with writers such as Shakespeare and Jane Austen and any places used in film adaptations.
Such a travel experience is all about really experiencing the home countries of my ancestors and the great culture that came from the UK. With my interest in these countries, I would love to work on a related media project incorporating my journalism skills from traveling there. I also feel that I will be inspired in terms of creative writing by seeing the UK with my own eyes.
Until I do get the opportunity to visit Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales, I love learning about them. I have a few books about each country and other books that combine information on all four. Some of those books focus on castles, abbeys, old great houses of the countryside or lighthouses along the coast. Other books cover ancestry, general history or tales of places believed to be haunted throughout the UK. This book in the photo below was one that I borrowed for a little while last semester from my campus library.
It gave me more ideas on what to see on that trip to Ireland that I hope comes true.