This post comes to us from Meghan Chayka from the University of Tampa. Meghan is currently studying abroad with API in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Hello World, Halò From Edinburgh, Scotland!
When deciding where I wanted to go for my study abroad semester I personally had two qualifications in mind that the destination had to fulfill; one, English had to be the dominant language spoken in the country, and two, it had to be a country I have never been to before.
Sitting in my favorite coffee shop back home in the United States, one day in February I decided that it was time to open up the study abroad catalog and pick my destination for the spring semester of 2018. As I flipped through the pages, I came across API The University of Edinburgh Spring 2018, immediately pulled up the company website, read all of the details, called my parents and told them I was going to Scotland!
Of course, I still had to apply, get letters of recommendations, send my transcript, the whole nine-yards, but now that it has officially been a week since I started classes on January 15th, I am pleased to say I know I chose the right destination for me, I already LOVE Edinburgh, and it’s just the beginning!
Upon arrival to the program start date on January 10th, 2018, my parents and I flew from states over to Edinburgh on the 6th, a few days early so we could do our best to acquaint ourselves with the new beautiful foreign scenery. Since I was limited as to what I could pack in my suitcases and carry-on bags, one of the first things my parents and I did upon arrival was shopping on Princess Street for beddings, hangers, school supplies and of course I bought a teddy bear dressed as a Scotsman, all to put in my room so I would be ready to jump right in.
Once those few days with my parents went by, it was time for me to meet up with API. Alexis, my API spring semester Resident Director, messaged me on Facebook as to where to meet up with the group so I could drop my bags off and embark on our first city walking tour.
Even though I had already been walking around the city for days, still every stop, every local, every piece of the magnificent scenery just seemed to catch my eye. I felt as though I was falling in love with the city of Edinburgh, a much different city from where my home university is in the states, and I didn’t mind!
After the group tour, Alexis walked us back to campus for a welcome talk, pertaining to topics such as safety, program guidelines, university guidelines, the API event schedule, funny trivia jokes and basically anything we needed to know about our new home away from home!
Following the welcome talk, my new API friends and I walked back to our accommodations to finishing unpacking before nightfall! However, at nightfall, around 7pm, one of the beautiful buildings on campus named Teviot House was hosting a Scottish welcome night for all new international students! Of course, I went with my new friends, we danced, tried some vegetarian haggis (which are actually not bad), closed down the event, went back to the flats and slept straight through until morning!
For the next few days following the welcome dinner which occurred on day two of Alexis showing us around Edinburgh, I spent my time balancing building new friendships with many of the other API participants, with spending time with my parents who were still in Edinburgh and weren’t scheduled to go home until the 12th of January.
I visited the Edinburgh Castle, walked the new town, old town, the Royal Mile, ate at a TON of pubs and drank a lot of coffee, and even visited the top floor of a department store known as John Lewis to take the beautiful landscape photo I have included in this post showing all of Edinburgh!
As sad as I was to see my parents leave, I was also very much ready to be on my own, conquer my new city and begin my classes as an official student at the University of Edinburgh!
Seeing as how it has already been one week of classes, I am loving the city and beginning to get my bearings as to how the university classes work in comparison to America, I have no doubt that by the next time I write my blog post I will have much more to share and talk about as I spend my first weekend with my new friends exploring more of the city!