A unique aspect of DIS Summer Sessions 2, 3, and 4 are the Study Tours. My Positive Psychology class traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland where we spent five days exploring the beautiful country, as well as learning about and applying our knowledge regarding positive psychology. Throughout our time in Scotland, we participated in many different activities. Upon arrival, we went on a walking and food tasting tour of Edinburgh. We made five stops in total and got to try traditional Scottish cuisine at each place, such as ox cheek and haggis. Our tour guide, Ian, also informed us about a lot of Scotland’s history and related it to the places we were visiting and the food we were eating. Fun fact: ox cheek was actually consumed by the poor because it was perceived to have a bad taste and the wealthy people would rather have the meaty belly of the ox. However, people soon realized that ox cheek actually tasted very good and it has become a popular delicacy.
We also got to speak with different people who incorporate the concepts of positive psychology into their careers and daily life. We met with Dr. James Hawkins, who informed us about his wellbeing and positive psychology approach at his general practice. We were lucky enough to meet a Buddhist nun at the Kadampa Meditation Center in Glasgow. She was extremely helpful in finding new ways to help us relax and teach us meditation techniques. We also learned that she was in the circus prior to becoming a nun. We also visited Healthy n Happy, a non-profit organization in Glasgow that strives to improve the communities of Cambuslang and Rutherglen. The staff and volunteers were extremely excited to talk with us and tell us about the wonderful organization. This is such a unique organization and I look forward to continuing to follow Healthy n Happy, as well as incorporating some of the things I learned there into my everyday life.
One night, we participated in a walking ghost tour of Edinburgh. It was neat to learn about the history of Scotland through a different lens. Our guide, Steve, was very passionate about the history and a great storyteller. During the tour, we went into the underground vaults, which were incredibly spooky, dark, and cold. It was definitely a bonding experience for us all, as we made sure to protect one another and stay together. One afternoon, we were lucky to experience a traditional Scottish High Tea at Windows Restaurant in Glasgow. Here we got to have tea, a bunch of small delicacies, and enjoy our afternoon talking with one another. The snacks included an array of finger sandwiches, carrot cake, white chocolate mousse in a chocolate cup, biscuit and chocolate bites, fruit tarts, and, my personal favorite, scones. Everything was delicious and we had a phenomenal time chatting with one another and having many laughs.
We spent one afternoon hiking Arthur’s Seat, a hill in Edinburgh. It was a beautiful sight the entire way up to the top. The hike was a great time where we got to know one another better and talk with each other. When we got to the top it was extremely windy and we were all being blown around. Standing up to try and take a picture was very difficult, but we all managed to capture the moments. The views from the top were spectacular and offered you a 360-degree view of Edinburgh and the surrounding area. It was relaxing and breathtaking to just sit at the top and admire the beauty all around me. Another activity that offered us incredible views of beautiful Scotland was the canoeing. We canoed for a couple of hours on Loch Lomond in Luss. Our guide, Stewart, provided us with interesting information regarding the Loch and the surrounding area. For instance, one family owns a majority of the land that Luss sits on, as well as Loch Lomond. Also, to dictate between a rock and an island in Scotland, the patch of land needs to be able to sustain 10 sheep for a year. Although the midges, Scottish mosquitoes, were a bit annoying, as mosquitoes typically are, the views and great company made the adventure well worth it. Seeing the highlands from a whole new perspective was incredible and it is actually very hard to put into words.
This Scottish adventure was amazing and I am so glad to have experienced it with a group of people I consider my family. It was most definitely a learning opportunity and I am so thankful to have been given the chance to learn and grow in Scotland. I surely will not forget this incredible trip!