This guest blog post comes to us from Springfield College student and current Stirling study abroad student, Rachelle Edmond.
Hello, my name is Rachelle Edmond and I am studying abroad at the University of Stirling, Scotland. My hometown is Medford, Massachusetts but I am studying at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts. I am currently a junior studying Exercise Science and taking general education requirements abroad.
Why Scotland? I hear this question from everyone at home (even the locals, here in Scotland). Honestly, the answer to why I chose Scotland to study abroad still feels random to me. I was debating whether to go to Barcelona, Spain or somewhere in the UK. I visited London two years prior with my school and I felt as if I needed to come back for more….that is how much I loved my experience in the UK.
Surely enough, Stirling, Scotland is very different from London but I think they both have their pros and cons. Stirling is a quiet town with two nightclubs, one major shopping center, a couple of pubs, and the rest is filled with coffee shops and small restaurants and oh, of course….the University of Stirling. To be completely honest, the beginning of my study abroad chapter was challenging; missing home, missing my family and friends, and the little things you do not pay attention to such as going to Boston for a walk and eating the delicious ice cream from JP Licks.
Coming to the UK, I did not really have any expectations, I had heard that generally people are known to be polite. This has been proven true. However, here in Scotland, I find people to be a bit more reserved than I am used to back at home. Now that I have been here for almost three months, I have gotten used to the culture here- but it was certainly an adjustment at first. I have since inherited words such as:
Flat or Flatmates- apartment & roomies
…and many more to my vocabulary.
Unfortunately, I haven’t quite picked up a Scottish accent yet (I am beginning to lose hope) but I have picked up on the terminology.
One unexpected lesson from coming to Europe is learning that I may take some things for granted in the US. Prior to my study abroad experience, I would always say how I could not wait to leave the country and there were things about living at home I disliked- but now being away has forced me to see things a new way and appreciate “America the beautiful”.
It is almost hard to describe. I believe it is the idea of a melting pot that makes people migrate to the US, and our deliciously tasty and fatty foods, and in some places our diverse landscapes. I tried to explain to people I’ve met abroad that you can experience all sorts of climates in the U.S., and yet some people are simply amazed at the fact that New England weather and landscape is different than the weather in the western part of the country. I have also been paying attention to the huge influence the U.S. has globally. Even in music, American artists are listened to here in Scotland and there is interest in American football teams and scores.
But, back to Scotland, my experience in Stirling has definitely been one to remember. I was blessed with great, supportive flatmates and a beautiful campus. When I first got here there were certain things that I was uncomfortable with, like walking to get to class. I mean, I am used to this due to my college campus being so small but when you’re walking up and down hills, that 10-15 min walk can easily during to a 20-minute walk with heavy breaths… especially when lugging that backpack around.
Yet, after a while, the walk to class or back to my accommodation does not seem as terrible because of the beautiful scenery found on campus. Not to mention that such a walk really helps me to clear my head, kind of like a relaxation or therapeutic technique. The green scenery found on campus truly makes me feel blessed for the opportunity to be abroad and to have made it this far into my study abroad experience.
I would like to also share a fun fact about Stirling; the University I attend (the University of Stirling) is the University of Sporting and Excellence. In addition, it is the home of the Scottish Futbol. So, I guess you can say I picked a pretty cool place to study abroad.
One thing I can say for sure is that I am so glad I chose Scotland, its beauty and what it has to offer makes it worth being here to discover Scotland. Until next time, Cheers!