April 19th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Scotland | No Comments by
During the month of April I went to England and Northern Ireland. My first stop was London, England. I was meeting a friend who’s also studying abroad this semester; the same friend that I traveled to Amsterdam with! London is a very busy city with a lot of people in it! At times it was a little overwhelming. It was nice that the public transportation was so easy though. It was also nice that it runs 24/7! That can be something frustrating about Scotland’s public transportation. Although the public transportation was pretty intense in London, it was relatively easy to navigate! Of course I was with somebody who knew where they were but I think it would have been fine if I wasn’t. On the first night we went to a play! It was called “A Comedy about a Bank Robbery”. It was pretty funny and was about exactly what the title says! The humor was just silly and didn’t require much thought! It was nice to just relax and watch a play for pure entertainment.
The next day we went to Westminster, which is the main tourist site! It was interesting because I had been there about 11 years ago and once I walked off the tube I had this overwhelming sense of nostalgia. I was transported back to my 9 year old self. It was such a wonderful and exciting feeling! I’ve never experienced something like that before. The power of nostalgia was so strong! At this moment I captured a picture of Big Ben, which I’m really proud of! I feel like it came out so well! Read More »
April 3rd, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Scotland | No Comments by
The middle of March was the halfway point of my program and my time abroad! It’s a bitter sweet moment. I think about how I’ve had such a great time here and how I’ve made such wonderful friends but, I do miss things about home.
So far I’ve experienced wonderful things in Scotland! I’m so happy that I chose the University of Stirling for so many reasons. The campus is really great and the scenery is beautiful! My favorite thing about Stirling is how the campus is removed from the city. I like that it feels secluded. The campus really is it’s own little town in a way! My home university is a commuter campus and I live at home, so being able to live on campus has been a great new experience for me. I enjoy being able to cook for myself and having freedom to have my own schedule! I’ve been able to grow in ways that I can’t describe. Having independence abroad has made me feel more like an adult. Before I left, I felt like I was in between an adult and a teenager but, coming to Scotland has made me feel like a capable adult! Read More »
March 16th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Scotland | No Comments by
For the first ifsa-butler trip we visited the Argyll Forest! We left University of Stirling at 2:00pm and then headed out to pick up Glasgow students! After we picked them up we drove to the coast and then took a ferry across the water! It was crazy that the coach bus fit on the ferry! I had never been on a ferry that was able to hold an entire bus so it was an interesting experience for me! Once we made it to dry land again we had to drive to the hostel that we were staying at. It looked more like a castle than a hostel! Finally, we were able to unpack our things and get settled in our bunk beds. We proceeded to have dinner and then went on a night hike! The night hike was interesting because it was so dark so you didn’t even really know who was next to you! It was nice to be outside in pitch black and have to experience through senses other than sight! I was very happy that I brought my rain boots on this journey because most paths were pretty muddy. After a long day of travel I laid down to sleep! The next day would be action packed! Read More »
March 6th, 2017 in Scotland | No Comments by
February 23-26 I was in Amsterdam! I have a friend from back home studying abroad in London and we met up for the weekend! It was nice to be with somebody from home! It made me forget that I was abroad for a little while! I was glad that I was taking on a new city with someone familiar! It made things easier because we could both tackle the new city together!
My friend and I
The city was so much more than I expected it to be! To my surprise there were a lot of museums! If anyone was to visit Amsterdam I would suggest booking tickets online to avoid waiting in line. I was only able to visit the Anne Frank house and the Moco museum. The Anne Frank house was truly life changing. I had never been in a country that was directly effected by the Holocaust. It made the event so much more real. Of course I’ve read about the Holocaust, but to be somewhere that will forever be impacted was an intense experience. It’s challenging to even describe the way that I felt going through the house. It made me realize that nothing is guaranteed and your life can change in an instant.
The Moco museum contains rotating exhibits! When I visited they had works of art from Banksy (the street artist) and Salvador Dali. I had only ever seen the famous painting of the melting clocks, but I quickly learned that Dali did much more than that! I also didn’t realize he was making art in the 1970’s! I thought his work was much older than that. I also didn’t know that Dali would make furniture that were works of art! Meanwhile, the Banksy works of art were very modern and he’s known for being political! Often his work is painted over because he spray paints on the side of buildings. Banksy also uses the repeated image of a girl holding a red, heart shaped balloon in much of his work! The image is supposed to symbolize hope! I really enjoyed his works of art because he’s an artist that is living the same time as I am! I usually think of world renowned artists as being in the distant past! My friend and I were planning on visiting the Van Gogh museum, but in the long run we were much happier that we went to the Moco museum!
A piece done by Bansky
I was nervous about being in a country where I don’t even remotely speak the language! Luckily, almost everyone spoke English and most signs had English as well as Dutch; other than the train system. The first night my friend and I arrived we were told that the trains were very easy to figure out. Well everything was in Dutch and the side of the train doesn’t display where it’s going! So we pretty much had to guess which train to take! We ended up getting pretty lost, but eventually we made it to our hotel room! After that, all the other public transportation was easy to navigate! I also felt that it was a safe city! There was never a time when I felt unsafe! Overall, Amsterdam was a wonderful city and I really enjoyed my weekend there! I would highly suggest it!
My favorite picture of the weekend
February 8th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Scotland | No Comments by
January 20th-22 I stayed with a Scottish family! This is one of the many cool aspects of studying abroad with ifsa-butler. I was very excited for this adventure! It brings a unique aspect to studying abroad. One of the main reasons I chose to study abroad was in order to be fully immersed in the culture. Seeing an average weekend of a Scottish family is the perfect way to experience the culture!
On Friday I was picked up and the family provided a wonderful pasta dinner! It was so nice to have a home cooked meal! I was also greeted by the most adorable kitten named pickles! I have two cats back home and it was great to actually pet and hold a cat. Surprisingly, it made me a little less homesick. After that we sat and talked with the host mom for several hours! She was engaging and had a lot of great stories to tell! We were up until 1am talking about all sorts of things! There was never a dull moment in the conversation. It felt like being at home with my mom! It was comforting to feel at home in a foreign place.
pickles the cat Read More »
January 23rd, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Scotland | No Comments by
My first week abroad was mixed with so many different emotions! I honestly think that I felt every emotion possible this week. I was excited to move into my dorm and see how everything was set up. I was surprised to see that I had my own bathroom and shower right in my room! I was so happy to finally unpack my bags! Living out of a suitcase was really drag and it was starting to get to me.
The day after I moved in I got to meet my flatmates. I was very nervous about this because I really hoped that I would like them all. I was so delighted because all of my flatmates were wonderful! It was amazing how all of us just clicked and instantly got along! One of my biggest fears before studying abroad was that I would not get along with my flatmates. Luckily, all of my concerns went away after meeting them! I must say that I feel lucky to have been placed in such a wonderful flat with amazing people.
Unfortunately, on Sunday night I started to feel regret. I began to feel as if I had made the wrong decision to study abroad. I kept thinking that it would just be easier if I was home in my usual routine. I could be at home with my family and friends enjoying life the way it was. I was feeling so down that I even looked up how much it would cost to fly home. I had only been in Scotland a few days and I was already missing home. Even though everything was going right, I felt that my decision to leave was wrong. I went through this inner struggle most of the day on Sunday. Then I was watching the sunset and my feelings started to change. I was walking outside and the sunset had been perfectly placed behind a tree. The branches were lit up by the sun and in that moment I felt complete peace. I knew in my heart that studying abroad was the right thing to do. In my life I will never get to experience anything like this again! I felt a type of tranquility that I’ve never felt before. It was like something was telling me that I had nothing to worry about.
Here’s the image of the sunset behind the tree
Once I actually started classes my week started to get even better! I’ve always liked school and part of studying abroad is learn things that I may not learn any other way. In my classes I was even happier with my adventure whilst studying abroad! I felt that my life began to be structured which was missing from the trip so far. Now that things were starting to get settled I’m very happy with my decision to study abroad! Even though I struggled to be where I’m at now, it was worth it.
January 11th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Scotland | No Comments by
Fall semester came and went faster than I could blink. I told myself that I would not focus on studying abroad so that I could enjoy the fall semester! Once the semester ended, I decided to wait until after Christmas before focusing on study abroad. Since most of my gifts were focused around travel, I was forced to think about the drastic change that’s going to happen in my life. I started to think about the fact that I need to try and see everybody before I left. My schedule began to fill up. Looking back, I think I only had one day where I didn’t have plans with somebody or some type of appointment. Part of me wishes that I would’ve had more days to myself, but in the long run I’m happy that I was able to say goodbye before I left. In some ways it was easier to cope with leaving since I was able to see everybody!
I have traveled internationally for my whole life, but I’ve never done it alone. Something just seemed so ominous about doing it all on my own. Nobody to watch my things if I need to go to the restroom or quickly buy something to eat. There will also be nobody to comfort me if I get stressed out. There’s something about being with my parents that makes me feel safer. Even if they’re in an airport they’ve never been to it’s like they know their way around. I’m going to airports that are quite large and I’ve never been to them! I’m hoping that I can navigate my way through effectively.
Even though these thoughts go through my head I know that studying abroad is the right choice. I know that even though everything before seems scary it will be worth it in the end! I’m excited and ready to start my adventure abroad!