Scotland, the third country to visit for class in our program, did not disappoint. The long 5 hour train ride gave way to beautiful scenery and endless fields of the country side. Everything is so green and luscious. I love London but it was a really nice break to see more than the hustle and bustle of the city. I felt relaxed and at peace during our stay at Pollack Halls, Edinburgh University.
Edinburgh is known as the “birthplace” of Harry Potter, where J.K. Rowling wrote the award winning series, so it was easy to feel inspired from her journey. Our experiences and research into her life proved the importance of not letting time pass you by. Stop and smell the roses. Giving yourself time to think is vital to allowing your brain to creatively work. Inspiration is everywhere so always be open to it and keep something to write with on you because you never know when it will hit you.
The common theme of our adventures through Scotland consisted of storytelling, whether it be from the BBC, Harry Potter books or the National Museum of Scotland. Each has it’s own unique way of communicating an intended message. The museum was one of my favorite actives because of the assignment that went along with it. We were tasked with relating our visit to our major and how we would look at it differently from that lens so I was able to see a new perspective. Although not all the pieces in the museum were just from Scotland, collectively they painted a picture of the country. Advertising is all about promotion and defining a uniqueness and this is what the museum does for Edinburgh and largely Scotland. Additionally we were asked to find forms of communication throughout the exhibits and it wasn’t hard at all to find our required amount of five.
Communication is everywhere so when I realized this applied to the museum I was intrigued to see each piece separately and how they all fit in together as a whole. So many forms of communication were used in synergy of the whole museum variety of direct and indirect. My first impression started with the map we were handed as we walked in, a straight forward visual communication of how to maneuver through the building. The entryway on the first floor lead to displays of past forms of communication methods – an old printing press and railroad signal. This was really cool to me because it shows how technology has improved over time and thus our communication methods. The correlation between technology and communication is so interesting because it seems like better technology allows for better and easier communication. This is true in the practical form of being connected and digitally communicating but it is tremendously hurting human interaction, face to face communication.
Our generation is entering a digital era where so many new things are available at our fingertips, without leaving the house almost anything can be done online. Even Skype and FaceTime are diminishing the need for face to face interaction, screens are replacing faces and a need for human contact. Social media is a great way to share socially your pictures, likes, interests, opinions, ect. But a person needs to be able to network themselves online and in person. I am worried the way of digital communication is getting too advanced too fast for our human nature to adjust to a happy balance. In America we are all about convenience and tend to take the lazy route so this is dangerous. In Scotland and the whole United Kingdom it’s people respect traditional customs. I have noticed citizens here don’t have their phones out very often, especially when out to eat for example. I really like this part of the culture over here because all you see back home are tables full of people on their phones and not conversing out loud. Even our group and me personally have been guilty of doing it over here whenever we find Wi-Fi. It is nice to be connected but it is also exhausting always keeping up. Once again the theme of stoping to take time and think applies to digitally as well. Stepping back from my smartphone and taking in all the experiences I had in a day is something I have been trying to do each night here to make sure I process everything.
We have to write a blog post each day of scheduled class but that doesn’t cover everything done and seen in one day. It is a more formal reflection too, what I have condensed from my thought process to relate back to media. After learning about how the story of Harry Potter arose and viewing communication in so many new ways and atmospheres I have realized how important self reflection is in every aspect of a person’s life.
On the other hand the ease of communicating ideas across the world with one click is amazing. The museum provided free Wi-Fi for guests to use as they please. Whenever I saw something cool as I was touring, I took a picture and sent it to my Snapchat story to share with friends back home. Within seconds I was communicating visually to my followers across the world. This was something I enjoyed doing and felt like it was a way for me to share the experience. But this hinders verbal communication because when we all met up at the museum cafe everyone was on silent on their phones.
It’s a bad habit but I am a culprit of this behavior here and back home. I respect the culture in Scotland and really appreciate how when they are out to dinner, drinks or coffee they focus on each other and don’t even have their phones on the table. I am learning through observation and want to try to work on this when I return back home. I have been working on it here as well because we have less than a week left now and I don’t want to miss a thing. I won’t be having dinner with all of these people in a week or grabbing coffee before class so I need to make the most of it while it lasts.
Overall Scotland is a beautiful country and I thoroughly enjoyed every opportunity I was given.