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

To do lists

I am in Scotland. No, really. And it’s pretty cool.

Well, it’s also cold, raining a lot, and I’ve spent the past few days listening to various people tell me the million things I need to do to get ready for classes to start. It’s all very helpful, but it’s still a lot. At the moment, my to-do list looks something like this:

  1. Speak with personal tutor to confirm attendance.
  2. Purchase bedding.
  3. Figure out how a duvet works.
  4. Figure out what a duvet is. 
  5. Figure out how to join clubs.
  6. Join clubs.
  7. Try not to get kicked out of clubs.
  8. Actually speak with someone who doesn’t go to my college back home.
  9. Write this blog.
  10. Setup meeting with Student Disabilities Center.
  11. Find Student Disabilities Center.
  12. Trek halfway across rainy city to Student Disabilities Center.
  13. Slay dragon guarding entrance to Student Disabilities Center.
  14. Return dragon’s head to personal tutor as proof of attendance.
  15. Eat.

And so forth. There’s more, but that’s the gist of it.

Eh, writing it all down, it doesn’t sound that bad. It’s just a lot to process, and not a lot of time to process it in. To be fair, IFSA-Butler’s been really helpful in helping us get a lot of this stuff out of the way, early. Deirdre, especially. I have no idea how she does it, but she knows everything about everyone in the program. (Seriously, if you’re reading this, and you’re going to be studying abroad through IFSA-Butler, go to Edinburgh. I’m sure those other places are nice and historic and all, but they don’t have Deirdre. The woman somehow manages to deal personally with over ninety students, very few of whom have even the faintest idea what they’re doing.)

On another, random note, I have now tasted haggis. It’s not bad, actually. I mean, not something I’ll be ordering every day, but still, not bad. About the consistency of ground beef, but a bit chewier. A bit more bitter, as well. For those of you who don’t know what haggis is, it’s basically various sheep viscera minced together on a plate. As in, heart, liver, lungs, with the stomach wrapped around it all. Yeah. That said, apparently it’s sometimes served with onions…I have not had it with onions.

In other news, the city of Edinburgh is shockingly gorgeous. We stayed the first few nights in a hotel, with a great view of the castle. You know, the two-thousand year old castle that’s just casually sitting up on the hill. Oh, and the Holyrood Palace. And the famous Royal Mile street. And the Scottish Parliament building. And Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano (which sits right outside my window). The pubs are nice, too.

I’ve been walking around with Dan (friend from home college) whenever we’ve had the freedom and the will to do so. So far, we’ve only been to the Holyrood Palace. It’s awesome and you should go right now. I don’t care that you’re in another country. Seriously, though, it’s got a lot of really cool stuff from way, way back when. The bedroom of Mary, Queen of Scots, classical swords, a skull of some famous dead guy whose name I can’t remember, portraits of monarchs going back to around 300 BC, classical swords, a cafe that serves really good hot chocolate, and classical swords. (I like fencing, remember?)

Anyway, I should really mention this one last thing for anyone who’s considering coming to Edinburgh but feels nervous about interacting with a new culture/people: go to The Tartan Stag. It’s a tiny little restaurant near Pollock Halls, and it’s run by the friendliest couple in the world. There are about five tables in this place, and it serves great breakfast. I hadn’t been sitting down for five minutes before they asked me how my Christmas was, and we started talking for the rest of the meal. I went on the second day after IFSA-Butler moved us into our campus accommodations, and I had been feeling a little stressed about how I was going to be social (which surprised me, because I’m usually brash and arrogant enough to feel at ease in almost any company). But I went to The Tartan Stag for breakfast and came out feeling like I could actually do this Scotland thing. I highly, highly recommend it if you feel uncertain about how to start talking with these strange foreigners.

I’ll get a picture of the place, as well as pictures of a bunch of other things. I still haven’t figured out how to put them up, yet. I’ll get on it right after I slay that stupid dragon.




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