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

Officially en route…

Hey there everyone!

My first post is coming to you from a train going 125 mph up the countryside somewhere between London and Liverpool. Yes, I used miles/hour… so you can probably tell that I’m from the States and have yet to fully convert to the metric system. I’ll let you know how that goes once I get to Scotland! I officially report to Edinburgh for a two-day orientation to the program on Wednesday (Sept. 2)! I’ll have to admit it doesn’t actually feel real despite the fact that I’ve been in the UK for almost three days now. I decided to come a week early to get some traveling in before the hustle and bustle of school starts. So the past 70 hours have included miles upon miles of walking through London, frequent ducking for cover from torrential downpours, and struggling to figure out what direction cars will come from when crossing the street. Being from America, where we drive on the right side of the road and from the left side of the car, not being able to immediately locate a car or its driver was probably the most terrifying aspect of the city. From London, I’m heading to Liverpool for the day to shamelessly feed my Beatles obsession, and from there it’s on to Edinburgh!

Now that you’ve got a grasp of where I’m coming from, I’ll let you know where I actually come from. I was born and raised in San Jose, California. For those not familiar with USA’s west coast, San Jose is roughly an hour south of San Francisco. I grew up in a world of competitive softball and an all-girls Catholic high school. (I’ m seriously going to miss the atmosphere of October baseball in the States.) From the SF Bay Area I moved to Corvallis, Oregon to attend college at Oregon State University (Go Beavs!). At the time it was the farthest I had lived from home for an extended period of time. But that’s all about to change! I’m going into my senior year as a sociology major with a minor in writing. Please don’t ask me what I want to do with it yet… I don’t have a straight answer for even myself!

Starting next week I’ll be writing to you from the University of Glasgow, where I’ll (hopefully) have classes Sociology and Writing. I don’t yet have my courses figured out but that will all sort out sometime in the next couple weeks. School doesn’t officially begin until the third week of September so for the next couple of weeks I’ll be getting my bearings around Glasgow. You’ll hear all about them just as I learn them!

The goal is to post here a minimum of once a week, and to give you the inside scoop on what Glasgow is really like. The highlight of this blog though, is my take on the LGBTQ community. As an LGTBQ Correspondent, I get to let you all know about my experiences as an individual who doesn’t identify as straight. I’m from the Bay Area, so I’ve grown up in an area that was pretty accepting and aware of the gay community. San Francisco’s history was a big part of that. My family is a little bit of a different story, and most of them are not aware that I am keeping a blog geared towards communicating my life as a queer person abroad.

Moving to Oregon was a bit of a shock because for the first time I wasn’t exactly sure about the conservative atmosphere in a small town (even though it was a college town), I had roommates, and many people were from towns with fewer streets than some outdoor shopping malls in my home town. So I’ve experienced moving to a new state and battling the coming out process, but moving to a new country might be a different story. That being said, same-sex marriage has been legal in Scotland since 2014- a right that all American citizens didn’t get until two months ago. But having same-sex marriage rights doesn’t tell all about a country and how it responds to members of the LGBTQ community- there’s a whole lot more to it (but more on that later).

I’m excited because keeping this blog will push me to get more involved in the gay community in Glasgow, something I might be too shy to do otherwise. There are organizations across Glasgow, on campus, gay bars, and even Glasgow Pride (Glasgay) that I’m hoping to get myself into.

So there you have it- an introduction to what you’ll be hearing from my side of the world. More next week-from Edinburgh and Glasgow!

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