The English-Speaking Union

TLab: Travel and Learn Abroad

University of Edinburgh: 2021 TLab


The ESU has partnered with the University of Edinburgh through the Scottish Universities International Summer Schools program, also known as SUISS, to provide a variety of courses. These are multi-week courses ideally suited for secondary school teachers. Study literature, creative writing, or theater - or all three!

Text and Context                                             

  • Modernism (July 12-24, 2021) Lectures are complimented by visits to the Scottish Parliament, the National Gallery of Modern Art, and more!
  • Contemporary Literature (July 26 - August 7, 2021) Activities include a Ceilidh dance, a Burns Supper, and a formal evening reception at the beautiful Playfair Library.
  • Scottish Literature (August 9-21, 2021) Takes place during the Edinburgh festival season, and includes a performance at the Edinburgh International Festival among many other events.
The Text and Context course provides comprehensive, interdisciplinary study in Modernism, Scottish Literature, and Contemporary Literature, which examines literature from Britain and Ireland in the context of key social and cultural developments during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The dynamic and diverse characteristics of more than a hundred years of English, Irish, and Scottish texts are studied in conjunction with recent developments in literary theory.

Creative Writing (July 12 - August 7, 2021)

The Creative Writing course is one of the most exciting and diverse programmes available in Britain. The four-week course offers developing writers a supportive environment in which to further their writing skills in fiction, poetry, and drama. Students have a unique opportunity to develop their own critical analysis by attending Modernism and Scottish Literature lectures, as well as author-led masterclasses.

Theater & Performance (August 9-21, 2021)

The Theatre and Performance course offers a unique programme in the theory and practice of drama in Britain and Ireland today. This two-week course provides a challenging, dynamic and diverse introduction to contemporary theatre with a global impact. Students benefit from workshops offered by the Playwright's Studio Scotland – Scotland's only dedicated, independent development organisation for playwrights. The course takes place during the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, giving students the opportunity to attend exciting new productions alongside their study.


Below is a list of all the courses offered by SUISS and the ESU. The dates of each program are listed below along with the cost in dollars. See more than one course that interests you? You can mix and match multiple courses, provided their dates do not conflict. The prices for combined courses are listed below as well.

Text and Context Course Options (Modules) Dates

2020 Cost

Modernism July 12 - 24 $2235
Contemporary Literature July 26 - August 7 $2235
Scottish Literature August 9 - 21 $2235
Two courses combined Dates vary. $4305
Three courses combined July 12 - August 21 $6490


Creative Writing Course Options Dates 2020 Cost
Creative Writing July 12 - August 7 $4620


Contemporary British and Irish Theater and Performance Dates 2020 Cost
Theater and Performance August 9 - 21 $2765

Program cost includes accommodation in the Pollock Halls of Residence, University of Edinburgh, with breakfast and dinner at the Pollock Halls cafeteria.  Housing with en-suite accommodation is available at an additional cost.

Program cost does not include travel, travel insurance, medical insurance, additional meals, or incidentals.



Every year, the ESU provides nearly 50 scholarships for classroom teachers in their communities. ESU scholarships are for current classroom teachers attending our multi-week courses at Shakespeare's Globe, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Oxford.

SUISS offers their own scholarships which are completely independent from the ESU. Please read below for more information.

You may also explore further scholarship and grant resources in our fundraising guide


SUISS offers a number of scholarships to applicants. These opportunities can be explored in greater detail on their website. There are four opportunities which are open to American applicants:

  • Partial SUISS Scholarship - All applicants to SUISS programs are eligible to request a partial SUISS Scholarship, worth up to £500. 
  • The Saltire Scholarship - Open to early-career teachers and academics looking to promote Scottish Literature. May only be applied to the Text & Context: Scottish Literature course. 
  • The John McGrath Scholarship - Open to aspiring playwrights and may only be applied to the Theatre & Performance course. 
  • The Elizabeth MacLennan Scholarship - Open to actors, performers, and related theater professionals and may only be applied to the Theatre & Performance course. 

Please note that because these scholarships are offered by SUISS, staff in Edinburgh are best equipped to answer any and all questions. You can contact them through their website. SUISS is the authoritative source for any information related to their scholarships, not the ESU.



  • Text and Context: 34 hours
  • Creative Writing: 60 hours
  • Theater and Performance: 30 hours

All students who successfully complete their course receive a certificate of attendance verifying the number of contact hours. Academic credit is optionally available for a modest fee.


This program is comprised of rigorous, graduate-level seminars. Students are strongly advised to read as many of the texts as possible before arriving in Edinburgh, as time will be limited once the program is underway. The lectures will be pitched high, and lecturers are advised that all students will be familiar with the texts at the time of lecture. To see the reading lists for the different courses, click on the course title: Text and Context, Creative WritingTheatre & Performance.



Application Instructions:

1.  Compile your application materials:

  • Two letters of recommendation from professional contacts
  • Current CV
  • Proof of overseas health insurance (photo or scan of card)
  • One-page personal statement, detailing what you hope to gain from the course and how it will affect your teaching. Your statement should give evidence of your qualifications, writing abilities, motivation and adaptability to new circumstances. Please give some indication of your reading in relevant subjects.
  • Passport-style photo

2.  Complete the TLab Application - Scottish Universities' International Summer SchoolAll applications must be submitted digitally via this application.


Cancellation Policy: Please note that, given the current global uncertainty, SUISS  has eliminated their cancellation policy for 2021. Though forewarning is much appreciated, they will not penalise late or sudden cancellations. Further information about university safety procedures, Covid-safe student accommodation, and current quarantine rules are available here:

ESU Branch TLab Scholarship Recipients:  are obligated to repay the ESU for any applicable stipends and transportation payments made on your behalf. You are strongly urged to purchase adequate travel and health insurance which also protects against any emergency medical expenses or loss of personal property.

Return to 2021 TLab Program: Info at a Glance For Reference Only, 2022 TBA