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Reentry is rough.

Time June 16th, 2014 in First Generation Scholars | 3 Comments by

Hi everyone,

So this will be my last post. I know. Where the hell has the time gone. This post was supposed to be up on Monday, but I just started my summer job and well ya… you know how that goes. But I’m writing now. I was also kinda sorta putting it off because this post definitely feels like a concrete end to my time abroad. It is really over. I have to say the hardest part of this whole reentry is returning to normal life. It is just so sad being back in my tiny town and slipping back into a very familiar routine after being in the most magical place in the the world for the past four months. I have these moments when I am at work where I wonder if the whole thing ever actually happened. Those first few days of being back were really tough. The sadness which I can only describe as something that feels a bit like homesickness  has waned a bit but I still get a bit misty at times when thinking about all the amazing stuff I did. The thing that gets me the most is simply that it is over. Now I have to go face the real world which, let’s be real honest here, really freaking sucks. I have to be done now or I will lose my composure so for the very last time….

Cheers everyone.

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I’m home!

Time June 3rd, 2014 in First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

Hello again everyone!

So I finally made it home on Saturday night! It was seriously the longest day EVER. I did not sleep at all the night before because I had to finish packing and our cab left at 2 AM so my mom could get to the airport on time. My flight didn’t leave until 10:25 so I could have slept if I wasn’t so keyed up. I was crazy nervous that my bag would be over weight but it wasn’t thank God! It was an interesting morning at the airport; I quite literally bumped into the Scottish rugby team and then I saw the tour guide from our trip to the highlands earlier in the week. After my flight left it was a LONG eight hours to Chicago where the temperature was about 80 degrees. I thought I was going to die. I finally made it into Billings at 9:00 where my dad and brother were waiting for me. I finally got some shut eye on the two hour drive home. I was greeted by the happiest dogs in the entire world. And here I sit writing this post as if I never even left. It is the strangest feeling coming back to a life that is so mundane after living out your dream for four months. Well, next week I will let you know how life is going and say tata for the last time.

Cheers!

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Traveling with my Mom!

Time June 3rd, 2014 in First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

Hi everyone!

For the past week I have been travelling around Scotland with my Mom and MaryKate having an outrageous time! My darling mother has never been out of the country before so this has been super exciting for me to be able to show her around a bit.

On our first day we took things easy and did some sight seeing around Stirling. Mom got to see her first castle and we ended the day at the Curly Coo Pub with some delicious Thistly Cross Ciders.

The next day was an amazing bus tour of the Highlands that blew my Mom’s mind. Excuse the overload of pictures from Glen Coe.

Tuesday was a quick trip to St. Andrews where we had a lovely picnic by the sea and then ventured to the castle and cathedral.

Wednesday was the worst weather day we had so it was only logical that we decided to go to the ruined Tantallon Castle. I got some great shots of Mom on top of the turret.

Thursday was our day of rest and light packing. Then Friday we ventured into Edinburgh for one last adventure. We ended the day with the last supper for our little group and I ended up sobbing in the streets of the ancient city as we said goodbye and went our separate ways.

All in all it was an amazing week with my Mm and I and so glad she was able to come. That is all for now and I will be back in the states soon!

Cheers!

 

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“Leaving On a Jet Plane” and “Take Me Home, Country Roads”

Time June 2nd, 2014 in First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

Hi everyone,

So it is with a heavy heart that I inform you that I will be home within the week. I cannot believe I am writing this post already. I have been here for four months now and I have to say it has not been long enough. I don’t want to leave! I have fallen in love with Scotland and I don’t know how I am going to handle going home. My earlier post of my top 10 was written with tears in my eyes and now I feel comfortable telling you all that I am actually crying over my keyboard right now.

I am looking forward to going home in a very small way. For example I want to cuddle my dogs and have a cup of Chai. My friends and family are coming to visit over the summer and I know next semester will be a blast. But, I also feel like there is so much I haven’t seen and done yet and I honestly don’t know when I will be able to come back to Scotland. It is the strangest confused feeling I have ever been faced with.

My Mom will be here soon and that means the end has come. I will be taking her around Scotland as a final farewell and then I will be, as John Denver so beautifully sang, “Leaving On a Jet Plane”, then when I will be back in the US where country roads will take me home. So goodbye Scotland, I will miss you!!

Cheers.

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Fellow IFSA Students

Time June 2nd, 2014 in First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

Hello again everyone!

I was particularly struck by one of the blog topics IFSA gave me. It asks us to talk about our fellow students who are studying abroad. There is a profile that closely fits our group: elite colleges, white, female, major in arts/humanities, and have highly educated parents.  In this post I want to explain how startlingly true this profile is and how it fits my little group here in Stirling .

-Most of these characteristic imply that the study abroad students are very wealthy. This is not the case. I am obviously no heiress and most of us were awarded some large scholarships to be here. 

-I don’t know how elite our schools are but I do know we all come from small liberal arts colleges.

-In our group of seven, four of us are English majors along with a Psychology major,  Environmental Science major, and a Business major.

-There is one guy and six girls in our group.

-There isn’t much diversity-we are all white.

-The one thing I am not sure about is the educational status of my groups parents. I am a first generation student and that has made a pretty big impact on me. I am the first person to go to college let alone study abroad.

So even though we do fit this profile to a t, I don’t think it is a bad thing. Because we have these things in common we are able to be a more cohesive group and successively navigate living and studying abroad. That is all for now but I will be back soon!

Cheers!

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Cardiff!

Time June 2nd, 2014 in First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

Hi everyone!

So a bit of a short post this time. I just wanted to share some about my trip to Cardiff! It was a sort of a spontaneous adventure inspired by MaryKate’s love of Doctor Who. We made the poor decision to take a cheaper mode of transportation (aka the bus) and then spent the day wandering the streets of the beautiful city. I will let my photos speak for themselves. I will be back with more soon!

Cheers!

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Top 10 favorite things about Scotland

Time June 2nd, 2014 in First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

Hi again everyone!

So as my time here in Scotland comes to an end I thought it might be nice to share my favorite things about the coolest place in the world. I had to set a limit or else this would be the longest blog post in history,  so here they are my top 10.

1. The scenery.  Weather it be the rolling hills or the old architecture, I never ever get tired of marveling at it.

2. The Scottish people. I have never ever come in contact with a more friendly group of folks. They are so nice!

3. The weather. As a pasty redhead Scotland has the perfect climate for me. There is nothing I love more than a rainy day where you can literally smell the earth growing.

4. The expression “cheers”. I will admit I didn’t get it at first, but now it is part of my everyday vocabulary.

5. Pounds. They are just cooler than dollars.  That is all.

6. Trains. My new preffered method of transportation.

7. Castles. We just don’t have them in the states.

8. The water. Ok this is a bit of a weird one. I judge places based on the way their tap  water tates. For example Wyoming has the best tap water Utah has the worst. Scotland,  your water is fantastic. Keep up the good work.

9. Scottish accents. Even though I can barely understand them at times,  I freaking love the way these people talk!

10. The city of Stirling. No other place in the world can claim ownership of this beautiful town. I have become incredibly attached to the place I now feel comfortable calling home. I never want to leave! I LOVE YOU STIRLING!!

Cheers!

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Dealing with culture shock

Time June 2nd, 2014 in First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

Hi everyone! 

For this next topic I thought I would discuss how I dealt with culture shock I while I have been abroad. At both my home school and once I arrived in Scotland I was informed about culture shock or culture fatigue. I learned that most go through certain stages. 
So when you first arrive it is the honey moon period where everything is great and you are just happy to be abroad. Then this feeling slowly wears off and fatigue begins to set in and you are not as cheery to be in another country.  Then the worst part hits, the lowest of the lows and you freak the heck out completely losing your mind. After the mental breakdown things get better and you are happy once again. 
As we learned through this crash course in cultural fatigue,  not everyone experiences these stages. I was one of the lucky few who didn’t lose my mind. 
I have had a very interesting relationship with homesickness. For example I never actually missed home.  I did miss certain things like my mom and my dogs and a friend or two but I never found myself in tears at the thought.  
This just goes to show that everyone is different. If anyone has homesickness/culture shock stories they have gone through please post them in the comments below. That is all for now, more to come soon.

Cheers!

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Academics in the UK

Time May 30th, 2014 in First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

Hi everyone!

So the next topic I want to tackle is academics in the UK. I was insanely nervous about the school part of my adventure when I arrived in Scotland. I had heard that their system is much tougher than the US and that grades were much lower than I was used to. Our orientation when we arrived did not do much to settle my nerves. So I was pretty surprised at how relaxed school is here. When I say relaxed I mean I only had two papers per class due throughout the semester. The rest of the work was just reading (a LOT of reading) and participating in our hour long seminars.

I think the thing that threw me most about the academic system here was the lecture and seminar set up. I am used to two hour classes that are equal parts lecture and discussion. This is not the case in the UK. You sit in on a lecture that lasts about an hour; no one talks during the lecture except the professor, so no one asks questions. Then later on in the week you attend a seminar where you discuss the readings and the lecture.

I hated this because there was no real drive to go to the lectures. This was made even more difficult because most of my professors posted scripts or slides from their lecture beforehand and then most would add a recording of it later. I am not going to lie here because this is a safe space. I will admit to missing a few lecture in favor of travel or the very elusive sleep because I knew I had access to both notes and the lecture itself whenever I wanted.

As for grades because I had so long to work on two assignments I found myself procrastinating a bit but did get them in and even got good grades! So for those of you who are about to embark on this wicked journey here are a few tips:

  1. If possible schedule your seminars for the middle of the week I.E. Tuesday-Thursday.
  2. DO THE READING!! It is pretty excessive at times (especially for an English major) but it will be worth it when you are the one making good points during discussion…and when you write your paper.
  3. Go to as many lectures as possible, but don’t over stress about them. Seriously, it is really helpful in the long run to show up, but you will be on of like 20 people to go in a class of over 100.
  4. Do not procrastinate on papers. There are so few of them so it will help to get them done early.

So try and follow these super simple tips and the UK academic system will be a breeze. That’s all for now, but there is more to come and very very soon!

 

Cheers!

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Dealing with friends and family abroad

Time May 20th, 2014 in First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

Hi everyone!

So the wonderful IFSA blog people gave us a list of topics we should cover in our blogs and I have to say that they are really great topics and I will be covering most of them in the coming days.

First topic I want to touch on is dealing with family and friends while you’re abroad. I want to start with the story of a friend of mine who studied aboard. Before she left we did the “oh my gosh I will miss you so much that I will have to write every day!” speech. After she left the obligatory “I made it here in one piece” email came. And then nothing. I kid you not the only form of contact I had with her was the occasional cryptic Facebook status update and random picture she was tagged in. I swore I would do a lot better when it came time for me to go on my adventure and now I see how difficult it is to keep in touch.

I have learned that people knowing what’s going on with you is not the hard part; the hard part is knowing what’s going on back home. Like I said it is not hard to keep in contact with family and friends when you go abroad. Especially in the UK. We live in a world that revolves around the internet so we have these funny little things like Skype, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat to make “keeping in touch” super easy. I don’t  spend all my time using these tools because it only takes 2 minutes to put some pictures on Facebook, or half an hour to have a quick face to face phone call with family and friends back home. So really there is no excuse to not keep in touch while you’re away. But keeping up with the goings-on of your loved ones is a different story.

When I do chat with my people the conversation goes from “Hey how’s home? I miss you guys! What’s been going on with you?” But then the discussion quickly turns to “So how’s Scotland?”  This is followed by me giving a rundown of events then they say “well it was great hearing from you, but I have to run so I will talk to you later.” My point is I never actually know what is going on. This is troubling because I am so used to knowing everything from the little things to the huge catastrophes. I admit that one of my bigger fears about returning home is not knowing what is happening in the lives of my loved ones. You can only glean so much from Facebook.

Now that I have shared my issue did anyone else have a similar issue? How did you cope with it when you got home? Please let me know!

Cheers!

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A TIDAL WAVE OF BLOG POSTS!

Time May 20th, 2014 in First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

Hi everyone!

So here is some good news, I am done with finals!!! YAY ME! So what does that mean? It means I get to get completely caught up on blog posts. This is my formal warning for the waves of posts that will be coming at you in the next few days. I have a strategic plan that will get me completely caught up by the end of the week! But until then I thought I would kick off this week of crazy blogging with some pretty pictures.

The first batch of pictures is from my little jaunt to Cambuskenneth Abbey here in Stirling. Most of these are just me marveling at how gorgeous this place is.

Up next we have some photos of my trip to the amazing Edinburgh Zoo. So many animals, so little time.

Then MaryKate and I took a trip with Heart of Scotland Tours who took us to Rosslyn Chapel, Melrose Abbey, the Scotland/England border, and Hadrian’s Wall.

And finally, a quick casual trip to Linlithgow Palace which wins the coolest castle award in my book. This place was sneakily expansive. We somehow ended up on different ends of the palace without noticing.

Like I said before there is much, MUCH more to come so stay tuned.

Cheers!

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Sentimental Sunrise Walk in Stirling

Time April 29th, 2014 in First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

Hi everyone!

So now that my trip is coming to an end I have been getting a bit sentimental. For example I often times finding myself just staring out the window thinking about how blessed I am to be in Scotland! I am not the only one experiencing these feelings. My partners in crime Mary Kate and Emma have been feeling a bit blue as well. We have come to a consensus that we are stuck somewhere in the middle of being really excited to be home with family, friends, and pets and really freaked out/deeply saddened to be leaving in a month. This confusion got the better of us the other night when we ended up not going to bed and instead talked the whole night and went for a walk through our lovely campus just as the sun was rising…or more accurately brightening the blanket of clouds that draped Stirling. Luckily I managed to grab my camera and capture some really great shots of my beloved Stirling. That is really all I have to say for now so excuse me while I dry my eyes and bid you farewell. Until next time!

Cheers!

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April in a Nutshell

Time April 29th, 2014 in First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

Hi everyone!

So it has been awhile I know, but I have been so busy doing amazing things like visiting castles and climbing mountains and such. And the great news is I have pictures of it all! This post will be shorter than normal because I would really like the pictures to speak for themselves. But first I am going to back track a bit and tell you all about the adventures I have had since my last post up to this point beginning with the IFSA trip to the Isle of Skye.

So the trip began with an early morning bus ride that brought us through the scenic Scottish countryside. We saw the beautiful Queen’s View that looks out on Loch Tummel and then traveled to the eerie Culloden Battlefield. We continued on to Skye where I was overcome with the beauty of the land that was covered by an enchanting mist. The next day we were taken to Armadale Castle and from there taken on a bus tour of Skye where we saw Kilt Rock, Lealt Waerfall, Duntulm Castle, and the Fairy River at Sligachan. After that amazing day we headed back to Stirling making our way back through the Highlands stopping at Eilean Donan Castle and Glencoe along the way. All in all that weekend was the best part of the entire trip and it was pretty much my reason for coming to Scotland.

After our trip to Skye a few of the other girls and I had a realization that we only had so much time left and we wanted to make the most of every minute. We began planning out smaller excursions that we could manage during the week and our first was a trip to our very own Stirling Castle conveniently located at the city center.

Our next trip was an excursion to the lovely town of Doune where we had an amazing meal and went to the famous Doune Castle. Most people recognize it as the castle from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

And just last weekend a group of us climbed to the tip top of the breath-taking Wallace Monument and then went for a hike up Dumyat (which I consider to be a mountain).

That is about it for now, and I hope you all enjoy the pictures because I had a blast taking them.

Cheers!

 

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Madness and Mid-semester Break

Time April 8th, 2014 in First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

Hi everyone!

I am so sorry this post is UNBELEVEABLY late. I have been crazy busy and my blog suffered. Now that I have gotten my apology out of the way let’s move on to the fun stuff. In the past few weeks I have done so many cool things! So without further ado I will get right to it.

First of all I was able to fulfil one of the goals of my trip, and that was to see my best friend Trevor who is currently studying in London. He came to Scotland for a weekend trip with his group and we were able to meet up in Edinburgh. I was a bit apprehensive about making the journey alone because I am the worst kind of directionally challenged so I convinced Emma to tag along and we had an absolute blast! We met up with Trevor and proceeded to have one of the best nights ever. We began the evening with a delicious dinner at an amazing restaurant called Maxine’s conveniently located on the Royal Mile just hop, skip, and a jump away from Edinburgh Castle. After the incredible meal we strolled up to the castle and took in the most beautiful view. The castle was closed, but not to worry because it was amazing just standing there and looking at all lit up. We then went in search of deep fried Mars Bars (which are apparently a very big deal). I tried a bite and I can only describe it as a breaded chocolate heart attack. The night ended with a couple of pints at a pub with some great live music.

The next week was a killer. We were bombarded with mid-semester assignments, which in my case took the form of essays. I am a terrible procrastinator so for those of you who are looking for tips about studying abroad my humble advice is to get a jump on your assignments as soon as possible. I finished them and was never so happy to hand in a couple of papers.

Mid-semester break had finally arrived and I had some alone time for a few days because everyone had left to go on their own adventures around Europe. Later that week I had plans to meet my aunt and cousin in Glasgow and then go with them to Dublin and spend a few days with my Irish family. My family arrived on Tuesday and I was able to show them around Stirling, then I went with them onto Glasgow. While booking my flight to Dublin I hadn’t noticed that I was to fly out of Glasgow Prestwick instead of Glasgow International airport. For those of you who don’t know Prestwick airport is not in Glasgow as its name might lead you to believe. That particular airport is in Ayr. Not Glasgow. So it was a bit interesting when I arrived at Prestwick to find an airport that was comparable in size to Logan Airport in Billings, Montana (pretty dinky).

Dublin was an absolute blast! I stayed with Derek and Madeline, some relatives who I actually hadn’t met before, but there was none of that awkwardness between strangers. I was immediately greeted with warm hugs and a cup of tea. My aunt and I did some exploring around Dublin which included a free bus ride, an interesting city tour, and standing in awe in Christ Church Cathedral. The cathedral itself was unbelievable, but the fact that ‘The Tudors’ had filmed there made it even better. All of that aside the best part of the entire experience was when Derek played ‘Hey Jude’ played on the harmonica just for me. I am not ashamed to say that I shed a few tears. Being such a huge Beatles fan I am not really into the whole cover thing, but I have to say that that was the best version of the son I have ever heard.

I was back in Stirling by Saturday morning working on another paper and I was completely content.

I have put some of the pictures from the trip below and I will be writing again soon to tell you all about my excursion to Skye!

Cheers!

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Argyll Forest Weekend

Time March 10th, 2014 in First Generation Scholars | 2 Comments by

Hello Everyone,

So since my last entry I have been consumed by the daunting task of writing essays. You can probably imagine that it doesn’t leave much time for anything else, so last week was pretty dull. I did however, make a journey to Glasgow to see the band The Head the Heart. They were OUTSTANDING! At one point one of the singers jumped off the stage and danced around in the crowd until a nervous looking security guard boosted him back on stage.

Another exciting/slightly terrifying experience was the IFSA-Butler trip to the Argyll Forest. Friday afternoon we caught a bus that took us on a lovely ride through Glasgow to the Benmore Center nestled in the breathtaking Argyll landscape. After settling in and a great meal we (the girls from Stirling) gathered in the common room to watch Rob Roy.

The next day we started early with our “activities”. For some strange reason I thought that the high ropes course sounded fun so after suiting up in our not so flattering red rain gear and harnesses we set off. I am not one who likes to leave things to chance so when I saw that the course was submerged in about 2 inches of water and adding in my clumsiness I decided it would be best to stay on the ground and belay for the other members of my group. Now I make it seem like this whole thing was dangerous and scary, but looking back on it now the instructors had everything completely under control and were sure that it was safe.

So after my hands had warmed up and we sat down for soup and sandwiches I made the decision to go off on my own for a while and take pictures. I went for a lovely stroll through the paths by the house and up the nearby hills. I was completely overwhelmed by the beauty of the surrounding forest and hills that I had to stop many times just to take it all in.

After my lovely walk and time to relax and hear about everyone else’s day we gathered once again to watch Braveheart. The next morning we loaded up and returned to Stirling where I was able to catch up on my rest and go through my pictures. I have put some of the best below so you can see just a wee bit of the incredible Argyll Forest.

That is all for this week. I will write again soon!

Cheers!

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Home stay weekend in Denny

Time February 28th, 2014 in First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

Hello there!

My apologies for the lateness of this post. I am unfortunately battling a horrific cold that has made its way through my flat mates and now to me. We also experienced a campus wide internet melt down that lasted over 24 hours so again I apologize. But, because of this series of unfortunate events I thought I would share some happy moments from my homestay in Denny.

The homestays are a requirement of IFSA and I will admit that I was a bit nervous about this whole thing. I mean it is a bit strange spending a weekend a stranger’s house without knowing much about them. I felt like this could possibly be the beginning of a scary movie! My mind was put at ease a little when I found out that I wouldn’t be braving this experience alone; there was three of us going to a little farm house in Denny.

Of course I felt completely silly about my apprehension when we met our “host mom” Marion. She is definitely one of the sweetest people I have met since arriving in Scotland. From the moment we arrived at the Robinson home I knew it would be a wonderful relaxing weekend. I have to take a minute and just talk about the food. I hadn’t had a home cooked meal in far too long and I have to say the dinner we ate that night was just so darn good! The night ended with our host dad Mike giving us a proper lesson on rugby during the Wales vs. France match.

After a good night’s sleep we had a traditional Scottish breakfast (complete with black pudding) and headed off for Calendar House. When we pulled up, a cross-country meet was taking place so it wasn’t until we stepped inside that I felt like I had just stepped into a Jane Austen novel. There aren’t words for this beautiful house so I think I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

After our trip back in time we decide to see a modern marvel, the Falkirk Wheel. What can I say about the Falkirk Wheel? Well, it was big… and modern looking. I mean don’t get me wrong it was cool looking but I think the fact that I am NOT an engineer or anything of the sort, the amazingness was lost on me.

The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing and chatting. I left Denny the next morning feeling well rested and super relaxed. That weekend was definitely one of the highlights of my trip and won’t soon be forgotten. Next on the agenda is a trip to Inverness so, until next time!

Cheers!

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I have finally made it to Stirling!

Time February 13th, 2014 in First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

Hello again!

I am sorry it has taken me so long to post again. In the week or so leading up to my departure I was extremely busy finalizing some details and packing. I have in fact made it to Stirling successfully but a lot happened between then and now so I will just go in order.

On the morning I left the weather was atrocious and I ended up having to make the two hour journey to the airport earlier than expected. That would have been just peachy except that I wasn’t finished packing. So, I hurriedly shoved things into my bag in hopes that I wouldn’t have to open it aging until I got to Scotland.

I finally got to Billings and checked-in and all that fun business only to find that my plane was late and sat at my gate for an extra hour. This threw a wrench into things a bit because I was then late getting to Denver and just barely made it to the gate where I was supposed to catch my connection. As it turns out that flight was canceled and I got to spend the night in Denver. So my wish of not having to open my overly stuffed bag was not granted and I was up late trying to more neatly pack the mess.

The next day I got to the Denver airport early and everything went as smoothly as wished it would have the day before. And by 7:30 that night I was on a plane headed for Edinburgh!

I felt so grown up when I successfully made it through immigration, found a cab, and made it to my hotel in plenty of time to clean up and make it to the IFSA sponsored orientation.

During orientation I met the other 6 people going to Stirling through the program-3 of which are English majors. Our program coordinators are so amazing and super helpful which really put my mind at ease.

We arrived in Stirling the next day and I was dumbstruck to see how beautiful it is here. I am not accustomed to seeing so much green especially in the winter! After searching for a bit I finally found my flat and met my lovely Greek roommates Daphne and Becky.

I have been here a week now and I am loving all of it! I will continue to keep you all posted and I will definitely have some pictures up with in the next day or so. Until then!

Cheers!

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Pre-departure – Only 10 days to go!

Time January 27th, 2014 in First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

Hello Everyone!

So for my first post I would like to start off by introducing myself. As I am sure you have already read my name is Nickie Hough. I am from Cody, Wyoming- a teeny town in the northwestern corner of the least populated state in the US. Being from such a rural area I felt the need to roam and see the world especially the UK (and Scotland in particular). So when it came time to go to college I leapt at the opportunity to go somewhere outside of my little corner of the world. I found my niche at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. As you can probably imagine moving from a town of 9,000 to a city of 189,000 was a bit of a shock. So here I was in this city at a college where I knew absolutely no one and I felt completely lost. I did get into the swing of things after a short time and I felt like I had successfully adjusted to college life, but it was really difficult being away from home. As time wore on and I became comfortable with my place in SLC, but I got this need for travel again and decided “Hey I should study abroad.” Now I’m here, in my room writing the first entry of a weekly blog about my trip. It is the strangest feeling knowing that all my friends are back in school now and I am at home preparing for what will be the longest and most exciting adventure of my life. Right now it really hasn’t sunk in much that I will be leaving the country and sort of going through my freshman year all over again. I will be the first to admit I am a bit of a control freak and not knowing what my life will be like when I go to Scotland has me terrified. But, for some odd reason, I am ok with that. In fact the not knowing aspect is partly what made me want to do this in the first place. So here I go off into the unknown. I hope to keep sharing the good times and of course pictures, but for now I am going to figure out what to pack and keep reading my guide books. Stay tuned…

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