Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

(dis)Orientation in Edinburgh

IFSA-Butler Orientation was a whirlwind of information. Amid the constant consumption of information for two days, I managed to catch a tiny glimpse of the city of Edinburgh and somehow even managed to get disoriented in this 100 sq mile city.

Grassmarket Street. This was a vibrant street full of bustling tourist buses and people. I was overwhelmed by the amount of people milling about on any given weekday, watching street performers and musicians while passing by small shops and boutiques. There were a number of people playing instruments, including those who played the bagpipe. My first night there I thought it would be a grand idea to explore the city a bit; and of course, I got lost. It happened almost naturally, as though the cosmos of the universe had aligned perfectly for my little jaunt on the streets to turn into a horrid and unfortunate confusion of mazes and labyrinths. Somehow I had managed to find myself on the west side of town towards Haymarket Square, far off the track from the orientation hotel. So, not only are the streets incredibly curvy and disorienting, but there are multiple closes and paths that lead to not where I want to go. I tried consulting with the map to no avail until I finally asked a jogger for directions. She kindly offered to actually jog with me back to my orientation hotel! Locals of Edinburgh seem to be excessively kind if you talk to them; which, I am most appreciative of! It took a while, but I was able to return safe and sound! Needless to say, I stayed in the next night.

The infamous Calton Hill! Take a look at the panoramic pic I took!


Calton Hill. The next day, we completed most Orientation procedures and filled out seemingly important papers. What’s nice is that IFSA-Butler had arranged a myriad of wonderful events for the students to enjoy throughout our study abroad program, and among one of these was a tour around the beautiful city with a native Scotsman. We had been doing workshops nonstop and were being fed copious amounts of delicious food, tips and instructions concerning our four month visit in Scotland. Now that we had some time to relax, it was only inevitable that we all took to the great sites/sights of the city! We passed by The Last Drop, Sandy Bells, Castle Terrace, the Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish Parliament, Hollyrood Road and the Royal Mile. The tourist guide was an enthusiastic red-headed man filled with glee and jubilee; it was apparent he loved this city as he told tales about each location. Towards the end, we hiked up to Calton Hill and took one final look at the city as a whole. Our tourist guide told us about how these monuments were meant to bolster Edinburgh’s reputation in the North, but because of funding, the monuments remained incomplete.


Even so, I wish I could convey to you the immensely overwhelming elation I received from being so up high and viewing the city from this angle. The only downside to these monuments was that there seemed to be a fair amount of trash behind the pillars, which was an unfortunate consequence of Calton  Hill being so well known.

Me behind the monument!


Right after Orientation, we finally go our separate ways to our housing accommodations. So I head my way to Sciennes (pronounced ‘sheens’) with a few other fellow IFSA-Butler students. As the first individuals arriving on site, we have the whole flat to ourselves.

My room before occupation. I’m going to have to spruce this up a bit!  2013-09-06-15-20-28

I have many more adventures to catch you all up on, and I’ll be sure to write up a blog soon! Keep your eyes peeled for more fun on the way!



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