This trip to the United Kingdom for the Castles and Cathedrals trip has been truly amazing. Last year I studied abroad in Costa Rica, and I didn’t know what to expect for this trip. I thought it would maybe a little similar, but I was wrong. This course was a truly unique and different experience compared to anything I had ever done before. The group bonded together and formed a dynamic that I can’t even begin to put into words. This course changed how I look at the history not only our country’s history, but also the history of other countries besides the United States. I think that the U.K embraces their history and they are proud of their history, whereas the U.S. doesn’t always talk about or refer to their history in a positive manner. This course allowed us to learn about things that don’t exist in the U.S because the U.S. is only about 300 years old, while here the history is hundreds to thousands of years old. I am now much more interested in history now compared to what I was before I took this course.
I think my favorite day on this trip was the few days that were on the island of Iona. I am from a small town, and Iona is a place where there was only 150 people on the whole island and the hostel was relaxed and made me feel like I was at home again. Not only was the environment ideal for me, but the things we learned there were very interesting to me. The Iona Abbey and the wildlife tour at the island of Staffa were two awesome experiences that you can only have in Iona. The Iona Abbey was unique because it was considered a very holy place due to the people there and the work they accomplished. The history and story behind St. Columba really caught my attention. This was a person that left the only life he ever knew, in which he had success, and moved to Iona in order to dedicate his life to religious work and remove any distractions that may affect his work. The works that St. Columba completed were considered some of the holiest works ever done, and it was cool to learn about the dedication and work ethic that St. Columba had. This made him very well-known and one of the most commemorated among the religious community.
The Staffa wildlife tour was another thing that stood out to me on this trip. We took a boat from Iona in order to get to Staffa. Seeing all of the other islands that surround Iona and seeing the views from Staffa of the other islands was truly amazing. The group saw a cave within the island of Staffa, and also seen the water and the landscapes that exist from some of the high points on Staffa. This experience was truly unique to Staffa and Iona, and something that couldn’t be duplicated anywhere else in the rest of the world in my opinion.
I will miss a lot of things from this trip. I will miss the friends I have made, some of which are graduating from Wartburg in a few days. I will miss the feeling of having a fun and new adventure each day, not knowing what lies ahead or what we will see. I will miss hanging out with the group during our free time, but I will always remember the experiences we had and the memories we made together. Whether it was hanging out at the pubs, eating different types of food, or doing homework together in the final days of the trip, it was an amazing group, and I’m proud to be able to say I was a part of it. And last but not least, I will miss Dr. Lindgren and all the stories she told us and all the advice I received from Dr. L. I learned more history from Dr. L and this course than I had ever had before, and I just want to say thank you for that. There’s only three days left on this trip before we return home, and I can’t wait to see my family and friends. For the last time, to this wonderful group and to the blog readers, as they say here in the United Kingdom, CHEERS!