Ben Lytle ’17
We were about to take off from Philadelphia International Airport. I was with a group of people totally new to me, and we were going to be stuck together, like it or not, for three weeks in Scotland. Most of the 16 kids going, eight guys and eight girls, I didn’t know. But at least we were all there and ready to go… wait, Parker was still stuck somewhere over New Jersey at that point. No worries though, he turned up in Oban [in Scotland] a couple days later.
This summer I was fortunate to spend three weeks in June traveling abroad with the Woodberry In Scotland program. Seven of my Woodberry classmates, and eight girls; four from St. Mary’s School in Raleigh, two from Durham Academy, and girls from both Carlisle High School in Martinsville and Foxcroft School in Middleburg, VA. The whole group initially met in Philadelphia (except Parker) and from there we flew into Glasgow, Scotland on June 7th.
Once in Scotland, the Stancill’s wasted no time, the day after we landed (and found Parker) we took a trip to Kilmartin Glen and began to scratch the surface of the almost 2,000 years of history we would digest in the following three weeks. Our day in the Glen started a chain reaction, nine cities and 1000+ road miles later and we were in the airport about to go home.
But if that’s all I had to say this article wouldn’t be interesting. There’s no fun in skipping the good parts, and it’s not like any of us wanted to go home anyway. First things first – our group was outstanding, we came together in the Philly airport even before day one in Scotland, now that I think about it that eight hour layover probably had something to do with it. Nonetheless our group connected quickly which made the trip that much more fun. We stopped in each of the nine cities we visited for two nights, with the exception of our extended stays in Oban and Edinburgh. A typical day consisted of; breakfast and coffee in the hotel, followed by a morning site visit, break for lunch, then we’d have our classes in the afternoons before our dinners. On June 23rd, we were lucky enough to bear witness of history in the making. The UK’s referendum vote to leave the European Union was monumental, and now we can only wait and see where Scotland will go from here. We were all very excited to be present for the announcement, especially Mr. Stancill – after all, it is a once in a lifetime event. Mr. and Mrs. Stancill made history fun. If you don’t believe me, then I guess you should just apply for Scotland and see for yourself. I can assure you that you won’t regret it. Maybe you’ll bear witness to the next big thing in Scottish politics. Either way, at least you’ll go to Tesco.
The trip couldn’t have been better, but characteristic of all big events it’s the little things that you really remember. I’m not saying I can’t still tell you when St. Andrews University was founded, (1414 for the record) but my friends made the trip great. Listening to Mr. Jones in the car, and Jackson’s hate for anything non-Zeppelin, self high-fives, nicknames, and Jane Brown kicking all our butts in anything academic were just a couple defining quirks of our trip. Jet lagged 4am hikes to the coliseum, Wallace’s ability to sing any Taylor Swift song ever produced, Jackson Purrington being the ladies man he is, and Scott lip-syncing every word to Frozen (Which scared us all). Hundreds of pesos, some bucket hat fanatics, scavenger hunts, study sessions, cookouts and binder readings brought us all together. These inside jokes and Scottish memories will stick with me forever, and I will stay in close contact with all my friends, I’d go back in a heartbeat, but remember, don’t go to Dusk.
Mrs. Stancill told me at the beginning of the trip, “You won’t believe me when I say it now, but this trip is going to fly by, so enjoy every minute!” I now realize she was right. My article does little justice to the memories made, sites witnessed, history learned, and culture absorbed during our Scottish experience. Though I hope it provides a little insight to a great summer trip, and I urge anyone on the receiving end of this article to apply, trust me, you’ll regret it if you don’t. Peace, Love, Scotland 2016.