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Adelante Abroad Ecological Conservation Program in Scotland
Dr. Raymond Barclay built and now oversees both the Study Programs (Equine and Ecology) and the Internship Programs (Research & Observation) in Scotland. Previously, he worked with the University of Arkansas for 20 years, with offices in Scotland for 15 years serving as Director of Global Studies. He is a former Fulbright Fellow and has evaluated technology and communication programs in Bolivia, Ireland and Scotland. He has conducted lectures in Bolivia, England, Greece, Ireland, Italy and Romania. Travel is second nature to him, and he feels it should be like that for most. He tries to make sure that everything in Scotland is prepared for program candidates, although they also do plenty on their own to truly grow during their time abroad!
Tell us a little more about this program, what makes it a unique study abroad experience?
Raymond: The Ecology Conservation Program provides students real-life and practical experiences concerning the current challenges and issues relating to the environment. Students have the opportunity to investigate a diverse range of habitats from the highlands to the lowlands, from freshwater streams to inland cliffs, woodlands and grasslands. Students learn how to manage some of these habitats and understand the ecological processes that link plant and animal species together.
Describe a typical day for students on this program.
Raymond: In addition to classroom lecture and the one course, students spend nearly 75 percent of their time in the field, talk with site managers and conduct field investigations that are both practical and academic. Unavailable to similar programs in the US are things like visits exploring habitat management with the Manager at the Scottish Wildlife Trust Preserves; or a "Seafari" to Firth of Forth. Again, not duplicated anywhere and access has to come from application acceptance via Adelante Abroad.
What are some extra-curricular activities program participants enjoy?
Raymond: Scotland has a rich cultural heritage. In addition to ecological research visits to the Isle of May, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, students have the opportunity to visit numerous historic castles in Edinburgh and Stirling, whisky distilleries, the famous golf course at St. Andrews and the beautiful landscapes throughout the Highlands.
What is one piece of advice you would offer someone considering this program?
Raymond: Bring rubber boots! And, this courses blends practical and research learning experiences together with field trips throughout the countryside. It is the perfect course to learn ecology and conservation skills and explore the history and culture of Scotland.
What were you doing in 1999? That is when Adelante Abroad sent its first candidate to Madrid, Spain, to do an International Internship Program there. She participated in a 6 month program, in a graphic design internship with a mid-sized company and lived, at first, on her own in a great little downtown apartment. By the following month we sent over two more candidates and have never looked back.
Internship, Semester & Summer Study, Teach and Volunteer Abroad programs define our menu of offerings and expertise now. Yes, you have your own room in a central, shared apartment, but meals are typically not included because we want you to grocery shop in your new country. Yes, we have staff on site full time but do they call you every day to check in? Nope. They are there if you need them but are trained to give you space to bump into things, make mistakes and finally find, on your own, how you fit in to your new country & home.