By: Sabrina Bene
Only after spending hours in transit and multiple late flights, did I finally make it to Scotland. Although I was nervous to be in a new country, surrounded by new people, I knew I was about to have an amazing experience. Moving to a new country can be a scary thing, and it will be a learning experience, but it will also be the adventure of a lifetime.
The Scots have a very rich history and a very unique culture. Gary, an amazing student tour guide at the University of Strathclyde, taught us all about the Scottish – their love of swearing, Nessie, and the creation of Scottish-English. “We don’t like to make it easy for ourselves” Gary would say, “English is boring, so us Scot’s changed things up.” So he taught us some regular Scottish vocabulary: “Lang may yer lum reek (May you live long and well),” “Ah dinnae ken (I don’t know),” “Bonnie (Beautiful),” “Lass (Girl),” and “Aye (Yes)” are just some of the sayings you may hear around town.
Aye, the Scot’s are also known for the Loch Ness Monster, and sadly I can’t say I’ve seen her. Aye, bagpipes are also a thing – some mornings my flatmates and I woke up to the sweet sound of bagpipes playing. Whether you’re in Glasgow, Edinburgh, or around Inverness, you will always hear a couple of bagpipers.
The Scots are also known for haggis (which I can’t say I’ve tried), their many castles, the cutest highland cows, the Harry Potter train to Hogwarts, and of course their weather. Although it may rain quite a bit, Scotland is still nothing short of breathtaking and the people are always cheerful – rain or shine.
Experiencing a new culture and community may seem intimidating at first, but you have to remember you are not alone. There will be other exchange students that you will meet along the way, who are experiencing the new customs and culture of their host country – just like you. But I understand, leaving everything you’ve ever known and entering this new community can be stressful. However, it’s important to remain positive and remember that everyone is still just human.They may have a different set of culture and customs but they are just like you and I.
When you move to your host country, and encounter the differences in culture, it may seem intimidating; but it is truly a wonderful experience. You’ll have the chance to meet people from all around the world, learning what makes each country uniquely beautiful. By studying abroad, you will have a new perspective of the world while creating unforgettable memories – I promise you it will be an experience you will never forget.
Sabrina Bene is a student in the Justice, Political Philosophy, and Law program, Faculty of Humanities at McMaster University. She studied abroad for a term at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.