40 UWC Dilijan students and 8 students from the local Dilijan community were fortunate to visit Dumfries House in Scotland during Project Week.
Dumfries House is an 18th century house with much of its original furniture still in place, including many original Chippendale pieces. The house and all of its contents were secured and restored by Prince Charles with the help of our founders and others, and put into trust as a gift to the nation. Without their intervention, the priceless art treasures and heritage would have been sold off to private collectors around the world. Now they are preserved and restored for all to study, enjoy and appreciate.
Dumfries House is a project that has significant parallels to the UWC Dilijan project. Like UWC Dilijan, Dumfries House is located in an economically-deprived area. The work that goes on there has made an enormous difference to the local community. As well as providing direct employment, it provides training in various trades to long-term unemployed and has been responsible for many people finding employment as a result. The region is regenerating and the multiplier effect is very evident.
It was a very valuable and enriching educational experience for some of our UWC Dilijan students to witness the work done at Dumfries House and how the local community has benefited from this project. It was also a great benefit to engage in a series of workshops with staff from Glasgow university.
Students also enjoyed seeing something of the rich historical heritage of Scotland. As well as seeing Dumfries House itself, they visited the historical cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh and saw some of the results of post-industrial changes. Where heavy industry was once vital to the Scottish economy, tourism is taking over. This was poignantly depicted by the visit to the last of the royal yachts, Britannia, which had been built by Scotland’s once-great ship-building industry and now serves as one of Scotland’s foremost tourist attractions.
Another highlight of the visit to Dumfries House was to enjoy the beauty of the Scottish landscape, and to see something of rural Scotland. Students had the opportunity to explore an island, see how farms are managed in the UK, and visit a cheese-making creamery. There were also ample opportunities to appreciate the abundance of native birdlife in the carefully preserved woodland areas that are maintained within farmlands to promote conservation.