So, here I am, with my first full week in Scotland coming to a close. Man, there is so much to talk about. My two classes (British Journalism and the Psychology of Evil) have both been going pretty well, I am enjoying them more than I thought I would since neither really has to do with my biology major, but it’s nice to take a break from all of the science. For the first few days, I was a bit stressed out and would be lying if I said that I didn’t miss home. I knew that coming to a new country, living, going to school, and meeting a bunch of new people would be difficult, but I was surprised how hard it hit me at first. Yet, after meeting some people and catching up on sleep, I am feeling better than ever!
So, my week was an interesting one. I have classes Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday with excursions for those classes on Fridays. Since I am taking only two classes, I have a lot of free time, which I used to go into Stirling and explore a bit both by myself and with some friends. Thursday, all of the International Summer School students had a day trip to St. Andrews, which is pretty much the birthplace of golf. At first, I wasn’t too excited to go, but once we got there, I wanted to live there. It was on the coast, the sun was out (which doesn’t happen in Scotland, like Oregon), and the town was full of beautiful old buildings. The University there is pretty famous as well, because both Prince William and Kate Middleton attended school there. While there, we went to the castle, the cathedral, went to a kilt shop, and even tried haggis nachos (yes, they are apparently world famous), which weren’t too bad as long as you didn’t think too hard about what you were eating. My day ended sitting on the beach, while listening to a man play the bagpipes on the beach, it was pretty amazing!
Friday I had two class excursions. The first one was a trip to the Daily Record in Glasgow, which is a tabloid newspaper. We got to meet the editor, sit in on a meeting, and talk with some various other people, which was pretty interesting even though I am not a journalism major or minor. The other excursion for the day was the one I was most excited for, a trip to the Wallace National Monument, which is here in Stirling! We walked from campus to the Monument, which wasn’t too far. The stairs to go to the top were very tight and small, it was bad if people were trying to go up and down at the same time. Yet, there were three different rooms that you could stop in on the way to learn more about William Wallace’s history, as well as other famous Scots of the time. One of my favorite things was the Wallace Sword, which was taller then I am! It was amazing to learn so much about someone I share a last name with (and am probably related to). Once we made it to the top, it was breathtaking. The pictures I took just don’t do it justice. You could see for miles, it was beautiful. I was talking to a Scottish woman who said she had been to the Monument multiple times, but this was the first time it have ever been sunny. I felt lucky to have such great weather because the views were fantastic!
If all of that traveling and walking wasn’t enough, today (Saturday) me and a group of other students decided to walk up this hill (which is an understatement) behind campus called Dumyat. Even though we got a little lost on the way, we eventually found the path and started walking up these beautiful green hills through sheep pastures to get to the top. Even though it was steep and exhausting, it was worth it for the views from the top, and again, the pictures don’t do it justice. At the top was a beacon that was full of stones which represent the wishes of everyone who had made it to the top. Apparently the beacon was placed there in 1977 as part of the Queen’s jubilee. We eventually made it back to campus after nearly 10 miles of walking and hiking being both exhilarated and exhausted. I am already feeling the pain from all of the climbing and walking I have done this week, but I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything in the world, and it is only the end of week 1! I can’t wait to see what the rest of my time in Scotland will bring!
The group when we made it to the top of Dumyat
Me next to the Wallace sword (they wouldn’t let me take it even though it had my name on it )
View from the top of the Wallace Monument
Trip to the Daily Record in Glasgow
Beautiful day in St. Andrews that ended with a bagpiper on the beach.
St. Andrews Cathedral
St. Andrews Castle (or rather, what’s left of it)