Travel awards are just the ticket for graduates

Travel bursaries can help youngsters widen their horizons. Picture: TSPL
Travel bursaries can help youngsters widen their horizons. Picture: TSPL
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BURSARY can help youngsters widen their horizons, writes Jim Tough

Scotland has always been an outward-looking nation and now more so than ever, curious young Scots are embarking upon gap years, working holidays and explorative cultural journeys in a bid to expand their horizons and soak up the experience of somewhere new and different.

Between mid-2013 and mid-2014, 25,200 people left Scotland to go overseas, many of them young and eager to see for themselves what the world has to offer.

With this enduring spirit of exploration in mind, the Saltire Society and British Council Scotland are proud to be able to launch the 2015 Saltire International Travel Awards. These awards offer graduates in five cultural disciplines the opportunity to win a £1,500 travel bursary that will allow them to explore the world beyond these shores and to expand their educational and cultural horizons while doing so.

In 2014, graduating students of creative writing, architecture, civil engineering, music and visual arts and crafts competed for one of these exciting awards. This year, through a new partnership with the University of Edinburgh, we are delighted to be able to expand the awards further to now include an opportunity for Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (Esala) students to apply for one of two available Saltire Society Robert Hurd Research Bursaries.

Through this new opportunity, Esala MSc students can apply for a bursary of up to £1,000 each to help fund the costs of a research project or dissertation throughout the summer.

Now in their third year, we are greatly encouraged that the Saltire International Travel Bursaries continue to grow in terms of both the awards offered and those competing to win them.

Recipient of the 2014 arts bursary, Laura Hope from Edinburgh University, will use the funds to travel to Venice in Italy to carry out a visual exploration of the Venetian built environment after becoming interested in reading about the historic Italian city’s urban landscape whilst studying and drawing buildings in Edinburgh city centre.

Ms Hope aims to create a concentrated body of two-dimensional and digital work which would encourage greater understanding of the Venetian built environment in order to enhance and enrich the individual experience of it.

The 2014 music bursary was awarded to Marie Claire Breen, one of the founder members of a ground breaking project called Breath Cycle.

A study led by Dr Gareth Williams in partnership with Scottish Opera and Gartnavel Hospital, Breath Cycle explored the benefits of singing lessons for sufferers of cystic fibrosis.

Marie Claire intends to use her bursary to travel to New York to meet a New York-based opera singer with the condition and explore how she has combated cystic fibrosis and developed a successful singing career.

St Andrews student and author Lenore Bell was the recipient of the 2014 literature bursary and will use the £1,500 to help fund a trip to New York to research her own novel idea for a murder mystery set in modern-day Brooklyn.

Masters graduate from The University of Dundee Sophie Robertson was awarded the architecture bursary which 
will allow her to visit Switzerland to explore further an interest in rural architecture and to study the contemporary approaches adopted by Swiss architects to develop high-quality modern designs that maintain a sense of place and support local identity.

Sophie has just recently returned from her travels and has documented her experience in an interesting online blog, available on the Saltire Society’s website.

The first recipient of the civil engineering bursary, Daniel Wolf used his bursary to fund his travel to present a paper on sustainable drainage to a conference hosted by the American Society of Civil Engineers in Houston, Texas.

Over the centuries, Scottish society has been enriched by the connections and relationships that its people have developed with other countries and cultures throughout the world. Once again this year, the Saltire International Travel Awards will provide a fantastic opportunity for talented Scots to broaden their life experience, to learn new skills and to meet new people through international travel.

• Jim Tough is the executive director of the Saltire Society More information about the Saltire International Travel Awards, past winners travels and details of how to apply are available at www.saltiresociety.org.uk.