For those of you that don’t know, I left for my semester at the University of Stirling on Friday, January 9th. There’s a lot to be said and not enough space to say it so I’m going to try to break down my thoughts by things I learned during my first week in Scotland.
Never Pack A Large Carry On Bag- No matter how much stuff you think you need to bring on the plane, you don’t. After having to put my laptop and DSLR camera, my backpack was heavy enough to make my back hurt after more than 15 minutes of standing. Add a couple more large books and needless snacks, and I was barely standing by the time I got to the airport in Edinburgh.
Pictures Don’t Do Scotland Justice- This place is gorgeous, and I’m not just saying that to make people jealous. I took a picture from the plane window while flying into Edinburgh and was accused by a friend of copying it off the internet. I can see the William Wallace monument from my dorm window and there’s no better view to wake up in the morning. There are actually swans living on the Airthrey Loch (lake) that sits in the middle of campus.
Scotland Is Cold- Not just cold, Scotland is FREEZING and windy and rainy. I’ve never been more grateful for a thermal puffer jacket and fleece lined leggings. It’s so windy here that most of the residents op for hooded jackets or knitted hats rather than umbrellas because the wind will turn your umbrella upside down in a split second. It also snowed 2 of the first four days I was in Stirling.
Being Homesick Is Normal- I’m the type of person that never gets homesick, but there’s something about living in another country for 5 months that will hit you hard. Realizing that I can’t just drive home to my parents if something goes wrong is terrifying. But what’s even more terrifying is making that have an effect on your experience. Which brings me to my next point.
Get To Know Your Hall Mates- My first night here, my hall mates asked me out to a drink, but I opted not to because of jet lag. I immediately regretted that when they didn’t ask me to go the next night. I was scared because I said no once, they thought I would say no again. Thankfully, I was invited out for a drink with them last night and had a blast. Not only could I learn more about their culture (I am the only foreigner in my hall), but I now know most of the people in my hallway. They even invited me to go out again the next week.
There’s many more things I’ve learned, but these are the major lessons. All together I’m having a great time! Cheers, and I’ll post again soon!