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.
Saturday was an eventful day! We went into a town named Linlithgow, which was full of cute shops and Linlithgow Palace! We had lunch in a nice cafe and walked around the town for awhile. After spending several hours in Linlithgow, we then went to see the Kelpies. These are massive horse sculptures off the side of the highway! The closer I got to them the bigger they seemed! Viewing them from the side of the highway really doesn’t do them justice! It was cool to see them at night because they were lit up in different colors! Finally, we made it back to the house and had a traditional Scottish dinner! Yes, I did try haggis! It really isn’t bad at all! It mostly tastes like black pepper! It’s better mixed in with mashed potatoes than on it’s own. Since being here I’ve found a new love for the dessert sticky toffee pudding! It’s incredible! The caramel taste is really wonderful! I’m going to miss it when I go back home! One of my favorite moments during the whole weekend was staying up and watching the Amy Winehouse documentary with my host mom. Something about watching a documentary made me feel at home. In two short days together my heart felt like it was at home.
Sunday morning came and I was presented with a full Scottish breakfast. It’s interesting to me how different breakfast is around the world! I was sad to be leaving the wonderful family, but I was happy with all the adventures we had! Luckily, there was one more adventure in store! We visited Doune castle which is featured in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Outlander, and the pilot episode of Game of Thrones. Back home everybody joked that I would see castles every weekend, but so far that’s been a reality! Scotland is so full of castles that I think it would take years to see them all!Doune Castle
My home-stay weekend was an excellent experience! I’m so glad the ifs-bulter organizes this weekend! It’s something that I would highly recommend for all study abroad students. Getting to know Scottish families is such a different experience than talking to other students. Families have more experience with living in Scotland and provide advice on how to navigate through Scotland. There’s a sense of comfort that comes from living with a family for a weekend. Now I know that I’ll always have a place to stay when I’m in Scotland!