Imagine it—you’re in Scotland, exploring the Castle of Edinburgh. Scottish regiments parade past you, ending with a lone bagpiper on the castle walls—playing in memory of fallen soldiers. Yesterday you toured Scotland’s favorite whisky distillery. You’re doing all of this with fellow Michigan alumni—and you’re being led by a University of Michigan history professor.
Scott Ellsworth is a lecturer in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. This upcoming nine-day trip to Scotland will be his fourth experience as a faculty host.
“It’s heavenly to be a host, there’s no question about that,” Ellsworth said. “These are the finest organized trips I’ve ever been on.”
He always finds the accommodations and food to be first-class, but there’s something about traveling with fellow Wolverines that makes it special for him. Since everyone shares so much in common, Ellsworth says “there’s a warm and interested tone right from the beginning.”
Scott Ellsworth (right) on the Appian Way while hosting a trip to Rome.
Ellsworth is an avid traveler, but this will be his first time in Scotland. Since he has been looking forward to this trip for months, the professor has been at work researching the area, culture, and cuisine. As much as he enjoys educating on these trips, Ellsworth also values the unique perspectives of the travelers joining him.
“I’m amazed…how people that you hadn’t met before can often become friends by the end of the trip.” The host keeps in touch with many of his past travelers, having dinner with his new friends when they are in town. Even from his trip to Rome—five years past now—Ellsworth stays in touch with the friends he has made.
The keys to being a good host? Ellsworth sees them as representing U-M proudly, being engaged in the world, and having excitement for learning from other people. In Scotland, he is especially looking forward to touring the Famous Grouse distillery (as a whisky connoisseur himself) and seeing the landscapes of the Highlands and pastoral Lowlands.
“When you go on an Alumni travel trip, you’re never worried about what is going to happen next,” Ellsworth said. “You have free time, but you know you’re going to be well taken care of.”
Join Dr. Ellsworth and explore Scotland this August. As he says, “I can’t wait to meet the people who will be coming this year.”