As part of the University of Georgia’s College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences’ Study Away program, I had the incredible opportunity to embark on a journey that blended education, cultural exchange, and environmental awareness. My destination? Scotland—a land renowned for its rolling hills, vast lochs, and rich history. During my time there, I had the privilege of teaching Scottish primary and secondary students, an experience I would be hard pressed to soon forget.
Teaching in a foreign country allowed me to witness firsthand the precious job our educators have in shaping the mind of our future citizens. Stepping into the classroom, I was greeted with curious faces and eager minds, ready to embark on a learning adventure… most of the time at least! However, I will not claim that every student was enthralled to have been in school. One of the most notable parts of our teaching experience was that of being able to teach at different levels in the education system of Scotland. Adapting our lessons, pedagogy, and even our body language and demeanor based upon the age of our students (which ranged from p4- about 7 years old, to s2- about 14 years old) was one of the most challenging, yet rewarding parts of the classroom. The entire teaching experience was a test of our resilience, adaptability, and problem solving skills, yet I can say with confidence that our group was able to adapt and grow. We engaged in lively discussions with students, exploring topics ranging from forensic science, to college and careers, to Walmart and Jolly Ranchers! Truly working with young minds was a rewarding and refreshing experience for this Avian Biology major.
Beyond the classroom, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in Scottish culture. From exploring ancient castles, hiking miles and miles in the Highlands, and eating an abundance of traditional foods, every moment was a chance to discover the unique aspects of Scottish life. Sharing stories of my own heritage and the American way of life sparked conversations that transcended boundaries, fostering mutual respect and appreciation for our similarities and differences. Learning of the Scottish higher educational system was an especially rewarding event on numerous occasions of dinner and conversations with University of Glasgow faculty. Thanks again, Carlo!
This journey has taught me the importance of embracing diversity, cultivating empathy, and fostering a global perspective, be it in agriculture or beyond. It reaffirmed the power of education to shape individuals and communities, transcending borders and creating lasting connections. The students I had the privilege of “teaching” taught me more than I could ever begin to reciprocate. These amazing students embody the boundless potential that lies within each young mind, regardless of cultural or socioeconomic background, and are the future of our societies. Our students kept us on our toes during our time in the classroom, and their bright smiles and burning passions are something that I know I will cherish in my heart as I return to the states and to UGA CAES.