A Snapshot of Scotland: A Geneva Student’s Experiences Abroad
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A Snapshot of Scotland: A Geneva Student’s Experiences Abroad

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Study Abroad

Picture this: You never imagined how a place on earth could look like a land from a fairy tale, but as you walk across the rough and rugged landscape to the sea, you sense that maybe fairy tales were real after all. Ancient castles and bridges all with magical and mysterious stories of those who once inhabited them are the tangible relics that make this country incredible.

Bethany Cerbus, a n English Literature major, took advantage of the opportunity that Geneva provides to study abroad in Airdrie, Scotland. The Semester in Scotland program through Geneva allows students to fulfill a 15-credit semester by taking a variety of classes in theology and history along with weekly excursions to famous historical, scenic and cultural sites.

For Bethany, who was born and raised in Indiana, Scotland is a place where assumptions about life are brushed aside and a new perspective of Christ’s creation is born. “Through studying in Scotland, I have really come to understand humility. Particularly as an American I think that we tend to sometimes think that the way we do things is the way they should be done—but that totally isn't true.”

Bethany’s experiences in meeting village locals, eating foods that she’s never tasted before and attending a Scottish wedding adorned with a fascinator are just a few of the countless experiences that have shaped her new perspective of how life should be done.

“I have been humbled by realizing that there is no one way to live life,” explains Bethany. “I had to learn quickly to stop comparing my life back home to the life that I live here in Scotland, because they will never meld. And that's okay. I love life here in Scotland simply because it is so different from Indiana, and I will be sad to leave it.”

In her time in Scotland, Bethany visited countless castles in Scotland, as well as in Northern Ireland. She visited the homes of authors and poets, along with sites that were said to have inspired the works of C.S. Lewis and Sir Walter Scott. The courses included for a week-long Reformation Tour of St. Andrews, Edinburgh, and rural sites in East Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway.

She continues, “My interest in literature has been intensified since I have arrived here in Scotland. It is not hard to see why poets such as Keats or Burns were inspired by the rugged landscape and the people here. There is such a raw beauty about the place that is hard to put into words.”

“I went on a trip to Belfast and got to see the lamppost at Campbell College grammar school that is thought to have inspired C.S. Lewis in his famous novels. I have studied Scottish Covenanters who inspired Sir Walter Scott to write his novel Old Mortality. Bethany exclaims, “And more and more, with every trip I take, I am becoming more and more intrigued by the idea of how history, landscape and childhood experiences affect a creative mind!”

Being abroad in Scotland encouraged Bethany to stoke a fire she has toward studying literature, and helped her to find an appreciation for literature in a new way.

She concludes, “This experience makes me want to study literature even more than I did before coming to Scotland, which I wasn't sure was possible. Coming to Scotland has been one of the best things I could have done for my major. I have a new zeal for literature that I think I lacked before, and I only want to study it even more now than ever.”

Bethany says that she has developed a new perspective on culture, literature and creation. Humility and an open mind have inspired Bethany to strive for greatness, just as other literature scholars before her have done. 

-Celia Harris '16

Opinions expressed in the Geneva Blog are those of its contributors and do not necessarily represent the opinions or official position of the College. The Geneva Blog is a place for faculty and contributing writers to express points of view, academic insights, and contribute to national conversations to spark thought, conversation, and the pursuit of truth, in line with our philosophy as a Christian, liberal arts institution.

Feb 3, 2016
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