ANTH 197: Scotland Embedded Course
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Adrianna Shevlin

Major: Linguistics
Minor: n/a
Hometown: Roanoke Rapids, NC

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this experience through my academic adviser. As I was talking with her about possible classes to take as electives that would bring me the most benefit, she mentioned ANTH 197. She told me about the embedded study abroad component and encouraged me to enroll in the class. It gave me the opportunity to go abroad even though I don’t have a spare summer or semester since I am graduating this spring. I enrolled in the class, and in November we were given a survey to fill out to express our interest in the trip.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Fourteen other students and I had the opportunity to travel all around Scotland over a period of eight days. We began in Edinburgh, did an orientation that provided some tips on how to navigate ourselves both socially and geographically as well as a detailed itinerary. We had our first tour about whisky in Edinburgh on March 5, which was highly informational and gave us an excellent foundation of knowledge to bring with us on the rest of our tours. The next day we traveled to Lindores Abbey, which is the site of the earliest written record of Scotch whisky. Later in the afternoon we were given a tour of Blair Athol distillery. The next day, March 7, we toured Dalwhinnie Distillery, noted for being the “highest distillery in Scotland” (around 1,100 feet above sea level). The following day we toured an all-organic brewery called Black Isle and were able to compare/contrast the process of beer production to whisky production. On March 9, we toured Talisker Distillery, on the Isle of Skye. The next day, we toured Oban Distillery and also attended a lecture about the history of whisky in Scotland and its social impacts in the country.

"This gave me a tangible glimpse into the anthropology of alcohol’s influence on different cultures"

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience taught me quite a bit. I learned a lot about the whisky production process and why whiskies from different places taste different even though they all use the same ingredients. This helped my understanding of the production of other alcohols, which in turn helped me to understand why different areas of the world produce different types. In addition to the factual, process-based education about whisky production, I also learned about the social impacts of alcohol in Scotland and how it is viewed and treated differently there than it is here. This gave me a tangible glimpse into the anthropology of alcohol’s influence on different cultures -- I was able to make real-world connections between history, anthropology, and modern practices and attitudes that wouldn’t be as easy to pull out of a classroom lecture.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I am presently not very clear on what my career goals and plans are at the moment. I know it is very vague, but my ultimate goal is to help people in some capacity or another. I want to connect with other individuals and help them in whatever way they may need. My experience in Scotland just made that desire stronger, because while I was there, I connected with people from vastly different backgrounds than my own. My experiences interacting with the people of Scotland were pretty much entirely positive. Being in Scotland helped me to draw connections between the similarities of my class and the people we encountered, as well as seeing how our differences were not all that drastic. I want to continue to work towards helping people because it means I get to connect with all types of people and maybe make the world brighter.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would absolutely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. The trip was not entirely focused on anthropology, but was rooted in real-world application of various different disciplines, including anthropology, history, sociology, linguistics, ecology, economics, etc. It was a very wide-reaching trip. I was able to learn not only things directly related to class content, but other things that touched upon my personal interests, as well as having the opportunity to simply learn about different people and do it all in a beautiful and different landscape.

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