Roanoke senior dives into Scottish literature and culture during summer study program

Emily Cranwell '13 explores the Scotland countryside while studying at the University of Edinburgh last summer.

Emily Cranwell '13 explores the Scotland countryside while studying at the University of Edinburgh last summer.

Spending a summer studying in Scotland has made Emily Cranwell, a senior at Roanoke College, passionate about studying abroad.

Last spring, she received the English Speaking Union Scholarship, which provides funding for a student to study in an English speaking foreign country for up to three weeks in the summer. The purpose of the ESU is to promote the educational advancement of English-speaking people and increase international communication.

Cranwell chose to study for two weeks in Edinburgh, Scotland this past summer.

She was Roanoke College's nominee for this travel scholarship, which allows student recipients to choose where they want to travel and study.

Cranwell, an English major at Roanoke, was part of the Scottish Universities International Summer School program. This program brings selected students from all over the world to study at a participating Scottish university for a two-week session. Cranwell's interest in Scotland emerged through the relationship between Scottish and Appalachian literatures, which she studied at Roanoke.

In Scotland, Cranwell studied Scottish literature from July 23 to Aug. 4 at the University of Edinburgh. Her class was intense, covering 12 works in nine days. The students read novels, drama, and poetry, all written by Scottish authors during the 20th century. 

When she was not studying and discussing Scottish plays and poems, Cranwell experienced the Scottish way of life. Learning was interwoven into her everyday experiences.

Cranwell attended a traditional Scottish gathering called a ceilidh. She described it as a Gaelic celebration where people bring their own instruments and everyone sings and dances together.

Cranwell also saw a bird's eye view of the whole city while hiking up the Crags. Located in Holyrood Park, the Crags is a rocky summit that offers a challenging hike. It is well worth the effort at the top, which reveals breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding area.

No true Harry Potter fan can visit Edinburgh for any period of time without stopping by the Elephant House. This small café is known as the birthplace of Harry Potter, because author J.K. Rowling wrote much of the novel while sitting in a back corner of the establishment. Cranwell could not pass up the opportunity to stop by the location where this cultural phenomenon began.

Through her time spent in Scotland, Cranwell said that she has received a new outlook into what education does for a person.

"Education is supposed to enhance every part of a person's life," she said.

"This experience has helped me become aware of other cultures around me. I have developed willingness and a need to explore outside of the classroom," she added.

In November Cranwell will give a presentation to the ESU about her experiences in Scotland and how her trip can be used to help other students at Roanoke College.

Cranwell said she wants to use her experiences to encourage other students to study overseas. "Every American student should experience travel abroad by themselves," she said.

-published Oct. 10, 2012


About the Author

Kayla Fuller '14 of Damascus, Va., is a student writer for Roanoke's Public Relations office. She is a communications major, with a minor in literary studies, and she is involved in several campus organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Young Life and Lambda Pi Eta, a communications honor society. She also is a tour guide for Roanoke's Admissions office. Kayla plans to pursue a career in public relations.