In each issue, The College of Global Studies will bring the readers of Impact magazine the successes of Arcadia University study abroad alumnus. We begin the series Alumni Profile with Dr. Aaron Allen, who in 1999 participated in the Scottish Universities’ International Summer School program at the University of Edinburgh.
Allen went on to receive his PhD and MSc in Scottish History from the University of Edinburgh, and his BSc in Liberal Arts with a History Option from Michigan Technological University. He is a tutor in Modern European History at the University of Edinburgh and has published, presented and researched widely in the areas of socioeconomics, urban history and material culture. He is currently completing a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Scottish History on the occupational topography of 1635 Edinburgh. The Arcadia Center in Edinburgh is proud to have Dr. Allen join us as a member of faculty teaching in our Scotland Summer Heritage Internship program.
Discuss the influence your study abroad experience has had upon your work with The College of Global Studies.
My own study abroad experience on the SUISS program gave me a priceless opportunity to meet many wonderful people from all across Europe and North America. I’ve always loved learning about new cultures, which is part of the reason I went on to study Scottish History. Now I have the opportunity to share my passion for my subject with international students in one of the most inspiring cities in the world, bringing together several of my interests in one course.
You earned your doctorate at University of Edinburgh in Scottish history. To what degree did your undergraduate experiences at the Scottish Universities’ International Summer School through Arcadia influence your decision to pursue your PhD in Scotland?
In historical studies, I’ve always felt ‘place’ was one of the more important factors, and Edinburgh as a place absolutely captured my imagination while on the SUISS program. I fell in love with the city and desperately needed to know more about its history. Because of this, I went home convinced that I wanted to pursue postgraduate study in Edinburgh.
This summer, Arcadia is offering a Heritage Internship in Scotland. How would you characterize the practical experiences that students will gain from this program?
Not only will the students gain practical skills and knowledge from interning in a thriving and dynamic heritage sector based in a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, but they will also have the benefit of being immersed in Scotland’s rich culture and traditions, not to mention the lively expat population from every corner of the world. The experience of being an international student in a European capital and the exposure to new perspectives are just as valuable as the core education provision.
If you could give every study abroad student one piece of advice, what would it be?
Experience as much of the country as possible! Try to visit the less touristy places. Scotland is a beautiful and highly diverse country, and it would be a real shame to only see one city, though I would completely understand why one would find it hard to leave Edinburgh!