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

Preparing for the Journey

In less than 2 weeks, I will be in Scotland preparing for the start of classes at The University of Edinburgh. As I have never been farther from my home in Tennessee than Houston, (unless Daytona Beach is farther), I haven’t the slightest idea of what to expect. For all I know, the inhabitants of ScotlandĀ could have green antennae and wear kilts on every occasion. They may also assume that, since I am American, I must live out on a farm in the middle of nowhere, with no access to city water, cable television, or decent cellphone service. They would be correct in assuming this. The Scottish might also fit the European stereotype of being more knowledgeable and cultured than Americans. I’m sure that’s a gross overstatement, given how clearly knowledgeable I am about their culture. I shall keep an open mind going forward.

Before I outline my goals for the semester, I would like to introduce myself. My friends call me Josh. People who are not my friends also call me Josh. Only email spammers call me Joshua, so please do not do so, or else you may be deleted out of suspicion. As stated above, I live on a farm in the middle of Nowhere, (also known as Charlotte, Tennessee). I live with my Mom and my sister, Catherine, along with 17 chickens, 8 goats, 5 horses, 5 cats, 3 dogs, 3 miniature ponies, 2 larger ponies, and 1 cow in a pear tree. When I’m not at the farm, I attend Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where I’m double-majoring in Film Studies and Psychology and minoring in Corporate Strategy. I will be mostly studying film at Edinburgh. I will also be bringing my camera and will hopefully have some videos to post to this blog throughout the semester. As a final detail about myself, as one of IFSA-Butler’s LGBTQ correspondents, I am gay and will be focusing some of my blog posts specifically on the queer experience in Scotland. At Vanderbilt, I am involved with the Lambda Gender-Sexuality Alliance, and I plan to be involved in the queer community in Edinburgh as well. Other than being gay and walking around in confusion while searching for my classes, what do I expect to do while in Scotland?

My Scottish plans, which will most likely look foolish in retrospective, are to attend classes, read books for these classes, read other books, hang out at pubs with my new friends (while drinking non-alcoholic beverages), go hiking with an old friend from high school, Robbie, and make my way to continental Europe over spring break. I do not plan on getting lost while hiking or travelling through Europe, although that would provide interesting material for a blog post. I also expect to visit many of the historic landmarks around Edinburgh, including the famous room at The Elephant House where J.K. Rowling was inspired to write Harry Potter. To my generation, that was as historically significant as the signing of the Magna Carta. I have also left room in my non-existent schedule for surprises. I plan to meet and befriend amazing and strange people in Scotland, (because normal people are boring), and I will entrust most of my planning to their advice. I look forward to writing future posts, as I’m sure you, whoever you are, are looking forward to being pestered by me until you read them.

Signing off,



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