The English-Speaking Union

TLab: Travel and Learn Abroad: This page contains information from our Summer 2019 program. 2020 program information will be posted shortly.

University of Edinburgh: This page contains information from our Summer 2019 program. 2020 program information will be posted shortly.


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 8-20, 2019) Lectures are complimented by visits to the Scottish Parliament, the National Gallery of Modern Art, and more!
  • Contemporary Literature (July 22 - August 3, 2019) Activities include a Ceilidh dance, a Burns Supper, and a formal evening reception at the beautiful Playfair Library.
  • Scottish Literature (August 5-17, 2019) 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 8 - August 3, 2019)

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 5-17, 2019)

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 Cost
Modernism July 8 - 20 $1975
Contemporary Literature July 22 - August 3 $1975
Scottish Literature August 5 - 17 $1975
Two courses combined Dates vary. $3790
Three courses combined July 8 - August 17 $5725


Creative Writing Course Options Dates Cost
Creative Writing July 8 - August 3 $4075


Contemporary British and Irish Theater and Performance Dates Cost
Theater and Performance August 5 - 17 $2450

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.



Closed for 2019. Applications for Summer 2020 will be available in the fall.

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.


Refund policy: Scholars will adhere to the SUISS refund and cancellation policies.  ESU Branch Scholarship recipients will sign a contract with their Branch wherein they are required to repay the entire scholarship amount (concurrent with SUISS's refund and cancellation policies) if for any reason they must cancel their course of study or are unable to complete the course.

Return to 2019 Programs: Please use this page as reference. Information for 2020 will be posted shortly.