Posted by: lcowie | December 24, 2008

Chad Ervin Abroad

UNC junior Chad Ervin returns from study abroad trip in Scotland

by Lesley Cowie

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — As Christmas approaches, many people are scurrying around Mooresville and the Charlotte area looking for the perfect gift for their loved ones. Chad Ervin will not be one of them.

Ervin has spent the last four months studying abroad at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. He will be returning to Mooresville in time for Christmas and will have unique gifts for his parents and older brother.

“I got my parents and Blake each a cashmere tartan scarf and some European chocolate,” Ervin said. “For a few friends I got some cheesy souvenir gifts like little sheep with kilts or some shortbread cookies.”

UNC junior Chad Ervin stands in front of Paris' Eiffel Tower. Photo courtesy of Chad Ervin.

UNC junior Chad Ervin stands in front of Paris' Eiffel Tower. Photo courtesy of Chad Ervin.

Ervin is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is pursuing a double major in history and education. Ervin graduated with honors from Lake Norman High School in 2006.

As part of the study abroad experience, Ervin was required to take at least 12 credit hours of class. He took Introduction to Philosophy, History of Scotland and History of Christianity at the University of Glasgow.

According to Ervin, schooling in Scotland requires more independent study than he is accustomed to at UNC.

“We were given a large list of about 50 books at the beginning of the year stating that they involve the subject of the course, and we should read them if we want extra information,” he said. “Also, I am used to a quick return of papers and tests to allow us to know how we are doing in class. At Glasgow, I did not get my one paper back for one of my history courses and went into the final exam totally blind as to how I was doing. I will not know my final results till February.”

Outside the classroom, Ervin traveled to such notable places as Edinburgh, Bath, Stonehenge, Wales and Paris. He says London was his favorite place to visit.

“I love the city of London so much and could not wait to see it again on this trip,” he said. “This time when I went, I got to see some places I hadn’t previously. Some highlights would have to be the Tower of London, which holds the royal crown jewels, the Globe Theater, and most exciting would be my personal tour of the Westminster Parliament building.”

Another local student, Kelsey Gwilt, interned with a Member of Parliament and was able to get Ervin a private tour to see the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The Westminster Parliament building is generally closed to the public. Gwilt is a junior at Elon University and studied in London for the fall semester.

Ervin noted that his first priority in Scotland was his schoolwork and therefore only traveled on weekends.

Gwilt and Ervin stand in front of the Parliament building prior to Ervin's private tour. Photo courtesy of Chad Ervin.

Gwilt and Ervin stand in front of the Parliament building prior to Ervin's private tour. Photo courtesy of Chad Ervin.

“All the places I went to in Scotland I went either by train or bus,” he said. “Public transportation is very good and lots of things are very close by in Scotland.”

When traveling outside Scotland, Ervin used an inexpensive airline called Ryan Air. Due to the close proximity of Ervin’s destinations, none of the flights or bus rides lasted longer than two hours.

In order to keep in touch with his friends, Ervin established a group on Facebook called “Chad in Scotland!!” He invited all of his friends to join the group and sent out periodic mass emailings about his whereabouts and experiences.

“The messages that I sent out on the Chad in Scotland group were first and foremost for me to document my experiences and time here as a kind of personal journal,” Ervin said. “I figured if I was going to write it, I might as well [send it to] the people who were asking. Of course I spoke via Skype to parents and close friends, which was much more effective than the Facebook group, but the group was intended to be more for mass communication.”

Ervin will spend the rest of the academic year taking classes at UNC. His spring semester will begin Jan. 12.

“One of the many things that I have learned from being in Scotland is that I really love North Carolina, and I don’t want to be leaving again anytime soon,” he said. “I am looking forward to spending a quiet Christmas with family at home, then going back to UNC to see so many people and watch our Tar Heels win the NCAA tournament!”

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