Travel Journal #2 – An Old American Movie

main campus buildingAs of yesterday, I’ve officially been in Scotland for one week. Let me just say, it’s been an amazing experience already. Everyday, I’m so happy that I made the decision to come here. I know that in December, although I’ll be thrilled to be back with my family and friends, it will be incredibly difficult to leave.
I’ll start out this post by saying just a little bit about my flatmates. They’re awesome! Of course there’s me, and Ellie who is also from Centre. Then we have Vincent, Xavier, and Thierry (although Thierry moved out because he was sleeping on Xavier’s floor). They’re from France. Then, there are Pietro and Francesco from Italy, and Javi from Spain. We also have Stephanie from China, Tom from the United Kingdom, and Natalie from Estonia. As soon as the Freshers move in, we’ll have two more flatmates. I couldn’t be happier with the group that was randomly selected for me. They are so friendly, inclusive, and welcoming. We even have a favorite spot in town for the group of us — The Old Schoolhouse Pub. We play Spanish card games that are similar to the card games Spoons, Mafia, and Bull. We’ve also learned a French game called Biskit, which I lose quite frequently.students in Stirling
Even though we went to school (The Old Schoolhouse) in the evenings, we had lots of activities during the day. On Monday, we had an orientation program that gave us a lot of information that we needed to know. Tuesday, I went on a walking tour of campus, Wednesday I took a trip to Glengoyne Distillery and Stirling Castle, and then Thursday was a bus tour of Glasgow. All of these activities gave me awesome insights into the scenery in and around Glasgow.
On Friday, Ellie and I went to the Botanic Gardens, which are near our flat. They were amazing! They have been around for almost 200 years. It was a biologist’s dream! We spent a few hours there and only got through one of the buildings. We’ll definitely have to go back another day!
While all of the activities have been informative and fun at the same time, absolutely the best part has been meeting new people. I have met very few actual Scottish people, but I have made friends from around the world. I’ve met other students from Australia, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Greece, Estonia, Latvia, Canada, China, Belgium, and all over the U.S. It’s been cool to learn about their cultures and to teach them about mine. I’ve been amazed by the British abilities and have had a great time teaching some of them new phrases. I taught my flatmates the meanings of the phrases “We’re on the same page,” “We’re in the same boat,” “Spitting game,” “Wagging your finger,” and the meanings of the words “sarcasm,” “silly,” and “sneaky.” I love explaining these phrases and words almost as much as they love learning them! At times it makes me jealous — I wish that I knew another language, and that I could converse with them in their native tongues. Maybe when I get back, I’ll have motivation to take more Spanish classes. On a lighter note, on Thursday, we also taught them lots of American dances—the Cotton Eye Joe, the Bernie, and the Wobble.Botanic Gardens
They’re also very interested in the things that we eat. I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner and they told me that they had never seen a PB&J sandwich in real life, and that I was just like an old American movie. I offered to make one for them, and they were too afraid to try it. So, we started to cook dinner.
But it has not just been me teaching them things. They’ve shared plenty of wisdom with me. One of my Italian flatmates shared some Italian sayings with me. He told me “The world is beautiful because it is various.” With that, I learned that people all around the world recognize that the world is beautiful because everyone is different. He also told me that Italians believe that “although everyone is various, we all want the same things — love and happiness.” When he told me these two things, I instantly felt at ease because he confirmed that regardless of nationality, language, or culture, basic human wants and needs are all the same.
It has been an amazing week full of making new friends and fun. This coming week is Fresher’s Week, so all of the freshmen from around the U.K. will be arriving. Both of the student unions will be holding events all week. We hope to attend as many as possible. Then, the week after that, classes get started. I couldn’t be more excited to see what the next few months hold for me!
by Julie Springate ’14, currently participating in the Centre-in-Scotland study abroad program. Learn more about study abroad in Scotland.
PHOTOS (top to bottom): Me and Ellie in front of the main campus building that looks like a castle; in the town of Stirling with some new friends — fellow international students from the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Italy, and the U.S.; and the beautiful Botanic Gardens that have been in Glasgow for over 200 years.

By |2012-09-08T13:33:09-04:00September 8th, 2012|News, Study Abroad, Travel Journals - Scotland|