Field Trips for Stirling, Scotland
In September and February, there is a complimentary local bus tour led by student guides to show new students around. In addition, the Students’ Union organizes activities for international students through its active International Society, as does the Study Abroad Office, which offers optional field trips to surrounding areas for nominal fees.
Semester students have one day excursion and one overnight field trip included in their USAC program fees; year students have one day trip per semester and one overnight trip in either the fall or spring included in their program fees. Possible destinations are listed below, but destinations and the details of the itineraries are subject to change due to availability or other unforeseen circumstances. There is a refundable deposit for both trips which will be returned to you if you attend the field trip.
Scottish Borders: Melrose, Abbotsford, and Rosslyn
This visit to the heart of the Scottish Borders will give you a chance to uncover the myths and legends around the Da Vinci code, the Knights Templar, Melrose Abbey, and Sir Walter Scott’s Abbotsford House. We’ll start at Rosslyn Chapel, made famous in Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code and then proceed to Melrose Abbey, widely regarded as one of the most beautiful ruins in Europe. This magnificent ruin is decorated by unusual sculptures, including hobgoblins, cooks with ladles, and a bagpipe-playing pig. The abbey is also thought to be the burial place of Robert the Bruce's heart, marked with a commemorative carved stone plaque within the grounds. Romantic Abbotsford House is stunningly located on the banks of the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders, and it sits at the heart of the landscape that inspired the poetry and novels of its creator, Sir Walter Scott. From there we will follow the River Tweed through Peebles and then north to the mighty River Forth where we will have a chance to stop at South Queensferry and marvel at the engineering feat of the Forth Railway Bridge, completed in 1890.
St Andrews: Castle Campbell and its medieval town
We’ll visit Castle Campbell and Gardens, dramatically situated above Dollar Glen, that was the lowland stronghold of the powerful Campbell Earls of Argyll. Then on to visit the historic city of St Andrews, home of golf and University of St Andrews, the oldest university in Scotland and the third oldest in the English-speaking world. You’ll have free time to explore the Cathedral, Castle, and University. Enjoy the medieval streets and take a walk along its beautiful sand beach next to The Old Course, the home of golf. The day will conclude with a stop in Dundee, where you can step on board the Antarctic expedition vessel, RRS Discovery, and hear the fascinating story of her career, the lives of the men on board, and the harsh conditions they faced.
Loch Ness and Scottish Highlands
This overnight field trip will give you a chance to explore the beauty and history of the Scottish Highlands, including time spent in the beautiful Trossachs and the stunning Glencoe mountains, at the Glenfinnan Viaduct (better known to many as the Harry Potter bridge), and Eilean Donan Castle, possibly one of the most iconic Scottish castles, set on a loch in majestic scenery where three great sea lochs meet. Visit Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness, Culloden—one of the most important historical battlefield locations in Scotland where Bonny Prince Charlie and the Jacobite troops were defeated by the Government’s men, and the Caingrom Mountains. Yearlong USAC students will choose to attend either in either the fall or the spring semester.