Blake Jones is no stranger to traveling overseas. He has visited Ireland and England and most recently chose to spend the summer in Edinburgh, Scotland to study Business Law for six UT credits. In addition to travel, Blake also enjoys golf. Not only does he enjoy golf, he plays it well, maintaining a single-digit handicap. In the spirit of working hard as well as playing hard, Blake checked his golf bag with the rest of his luggage en route to Scotland.
How did golfing fit into your schedule while also studying Business Law?
Class got out at 1pm, which left plenty of time to play since the sun would set so late. Once we finished a round at 10:45pm, so time was never an issue. We routinely took a twenty-minute train out to play the courses in East Lothian where courses such as Muirfield are located and St Andrews and Gleneagles, site of the 2014 Ryder Cup, were only an hour train ride away. All in all, I believe I played 13 rounds during my time, and very easily could’ve played more, but I wanted to thoroughly experience Scotland beyond golf.
Was golfing more difficult in Edinburgh than in Texas?
Golf carts are seemingly nonexistent in Scotland so definitely have your legs and back ready if you plan to play over there. But, the weather is what gave me the most trouble. In Texas I rarely encounter wind that calls for more than a one-club adjustment, but in Scotland the wind was often so strong that I found myself adjusting two or even three clubs and when there were crosswinds I found myself trying to hit something on a lower trajectory and just hoping I had judged the direction right, which unfortunately wasn’t always the case.
What role do you see golf playing in your future?
My Dad has always told me golfing is a good hobby to have as a businessman and I can definitely see why. Golfing is unparalleled among sports in the way that it is so competitive yet at the same time allows for conversation in a relaxed setting.
When we played a course out in North Berwick we happened to see Rory McIlroy walking the streets and then at the British Open I snapped a really cool photo with Phil Mickelson who went on to win.
Another notable memory of mine was when I birdied the 18th hole at St Andrews to a large on looking, clapping crowd of people just spectating at the historic Old Course.
What did you learn during your time abroad that you might not have learned otherwise?
Traveling abroad gives you a social experience that would be hard to come by otherwise. I compare it to a first year away at college in the way that you’re in a completely new environment forcing you to learn and adjust as you go. When you add in the change of culture as well, studying abroad definitely helps grow your social skills and perspective. The Law of the European Union class, taught by Professor Lane of the University of Edinburgh, was also a unique learning experience.
The structure and actions of government in the EU are often very different than what we see in America so it was neat to learn how and why they govern differently. I compare the class to a UT UGS class because while one may or may not use the material directly in their major, broadening your horizons by learning something new or different is always beneficial.
What advice would you give to someone traveling abroad?
Definitely plan to see the major landmarks and sites, but otherwise don’t feel the need to plan every little detail of your trip. Some of our most memorable experiences occurred when we were spontaneous or even ventured outside the parts concentrated with tourists.
Learn more about the Business Law Program in Edinburgh and other study abroad opportunities through Short-Term International Programs.