Meet Lisa McGovern, a 2015 UK Fulbright Summer Institute Scholar!

Lisa (front row, second from left), with her Fulbright Summer Institute cohort in Scotland.

August 25, 2015

Lisa McGovern, Bachelor's student in history with a concentration in teaching, participated in the 2015 Fulbright-Scotland Summer Institute.  The UK Fulbright Summer Institutes are fully-funded study abroad experiences for US citizen freshmen and sophomores who seek an intensive academic and cultural experience at premier universities across the United Kingdom.  Applicants choose from approximately nine institutes with diverse themes, ranging from three to six weeks in length.  Lisa recently discussed her summer at the Universities of Dundee and Strathclyde in Scotland:

"I spent 2.5 weeks in Dundee on the East Coast of Scotland and 2.5 weeks in Glasgow on the West Coast. We also took several trips around the country including Loch Ness, the Highlands, and Edinburgh, the capital. The theme of our institute was Scotland: Identity, Culture and Innovation. Each day, we would learn something new about Scotland and its identity, culture, technologies, and history, while also seeing amazing and integral sites that fortified what we learned in lecture. For instance, we were given a lecture on Scottish media and then taken to BBC Scotland later that day. Throughout the trip, I didn't really understand why the institute chose those three areas to focus on: identity, culture, and innovation; however, after spending 5 weeks there, it was obvious. Scotland has one of the strongest national identities of any country, rooted in its truly unique culture (especially unique from England), and to top it all off, is one of the most innovative nations in Europe! I learned that Scotland is not just gorgeous highland landscapes; it's a fast-moving, progressive nation that has true impact within the UK, but also on the rest of the world.

Every day we went on a bit of an adventure. In Dundee, we saw Glamis Castle and explored the archives of a family that lived in it for centuries. We also had opportunities to go to St. Andrews to explore the historical city and even attend the British Open! While we were in Edinburgh, we saw the castle, talked to a Member of the Scottish Parliament, saw a photography exhibition in the Parliament, and even visited the US Consulate for a reception. In Glasgow, we toured the Irn Bru factory (a Scottish soft drink that is actually more popular than Coke in Scotland). It was all massively eye opening to Scottish culture and how it's more than bagpipes, whiskey, golf and plaid - although, that is all there too.

Being exposed to entities like the British Council, US Consulate, and Scottish Parliament had me considering what my role in education could be on a more international, political level. Although I still fully intend on pursuing my degree in secondary education and history, I am taking my potential minor in international relations more seriously, and brainstorming ways I can become a more global educator. Ultimately, Scotland has broadened my perspective on history and culture and greatly advanced my intentions for more travel in my future."

Want to hear more about Lisa's experience?  Check out her blog, Sampling of Scotland!

Thinking of applying? National & International Scholarships Program will hold a UK Fulbright Summer Institute information session and application workshop on Thursday, January 28, 2016 from 3:30-4:30pm in room 514, Illini Union Bookstore Building.