Studying Abroad in Edinburgh by Samantha Albanese, a 3rd year History student minoring in Archaeology, with pictures by Samantha.
To me, spending a semester abroad was exactly what it meant to ‘make the most of your time at university’. I knew that I wanted to study in a place that was rich in history and had a wide variety of interesting classes. Based on this, I quickly chose the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. The faculty of History, Classics, and Archaeology here is filled with phenomenal teachers who are experts in their fields and who teach exciting class material. I have been lucky to take fantastic classes in archaeology at Carleton, but here, I was able to expand and learn about subjects that I was always interested in but did not have as much access to in Canada.
Something else that I love about living in Scotland is the sheer beauty of this country. I get to live and work in Edinburgh’s Old Town which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I am constantly taken aback by how beautiful the historic buildings and cobblestone streets of this city are. I have also been lucky enough to explore more of Scotland in general, and I can’t imagine ever growing tired of the Highlands. The countless mountains, lochs, and rivers are so breathtaking and are so integrally connected to the culture and history of Scotland. This area of Scotland almost feels magical- in fact, I may have stuck my face in a freezing cold river in the Highlands for seven seconds because legend says that those who do will be granted eternal beauty, by none other than faeries!
Participating in a semester abroad in Europe has not only allowed me to study at a prestigious school and explore a new and beautiful country but has also further benefitted my academic pursuits by bringing me closer to the actual objects that I am studying. Being in Britain allows me to be closer to many archaeological sites of interest, particularly Hadrian’s Wall, Stonehenge, and Skara Brae, to name just a few. On my reading week, I was lucky enough to travel to Berlin, Germany. I was only there for a few days and I knew that there were too many museums I wanted to visit and not enough time. I was lucky enough to visit the Neues Museum and the Pergamon Museum. There, I was able to see in person the wonderful artifacts that have always interested me, and that I have learned so much about both at Carleton and Edinburgh. At the Neues, I was able to see some of Priam’s Treasure from Troy, and many artifacts from Rome and Second Intermediate Period Egypt. At the Pergamon, I was able to view the Market Gate of Miletus, the Ishtar Gate and so many wonderful artifacts from Assyria, Sumer, and Babylon. You can’t imagine the grandeur and historical weight of these artifacts until you see them in person.
Life is made by the opportunities that we do or do not take, and I feel so fortunate that I was able to take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad in Edinburgh. My studies so far in Edinburgh and my trip to Berlin have only further heightened my love for history and archaeology and I’m so excited to see where my adventure here takes me as an individual and an academic.