St. Olaf College | News

St. Olaf student selected for summer Fulbright program in Scotland

St. Olaf student Liam Hannan ’18 (standing third from right) and his fellow Fulbrighters at Urquhart Castle, which is located on the north shore of Loch Ness.

St. Olaf College student Liam Hannan ’18 was one of 10 American undergraduate students selected to participate in the Fulbright-Scotland Summer Institute.

As part of the program, Hannan spent the past five weeks at the University of Dundee and the University of Strathclyde, where he and the other students participated in a series of lectures, seminars, and field trips.

The Fulbright-Scotland Summer Institute aims to provide American undergraduate students with a unique perspective on the cultural and political forces that have shaped modern Scotland, with a strong emphasis on its pioneering role as a technological nation.

Among the places that Hannan and the other students visited are National Museum of Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland, Royal Collection at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh Castle, and Scottish Parliament.

Through these excursions, Hannan developed deeper insight into the complexity of Scottish culture and identity.

As part of the Fulbright-Scotland Summer Institute, Liam Hannan ’18 visited the site of the Battle of Stirling Bridge, where William Wallace won a decisive victory against English forces in 1297.

“My most memorable experience was a conversation I had with a homeless man on the streets of Dundee. As the talk went on, I began to realize that Scotland suffers from many of the same inequality-based problems as America, and many of the problems have roots that stretch back hundreds of years,” he says.

The Fulbright-Scotland Summer Institute is one of several programs offered through the US-UK Fulbright Commission, which was created in 1948 to promote leadership and foster mutual cultural understanding through educational exchange between the US and the UK.

Participants are selected for their academic excellence, involvement in extracurricular and community activities, and demonstrated ambassadorial skills.

A history and studio art major, Hannan has long maintained a passion for northern European history, which was one of the reasons he applied for the Fulbright-Scotland Summer Institute.

“This experience has been completely life-changing,” he says.