#1 The Great Scottish Adventure – a prologue:

Hello all I’m Helen – a third year student studying abroad from the United States. I attend the University of Rochester which is just a hop, skip, and jump away from my home in the good ole Buffalo, NY.  I’ll be leaving for my Scottish adventure in less than 24 hours and am beginning to feel a whole muddle of emotions.


I’m looking forward to meeting everyone in my program (IFSA-Butler) at our orientation during the first couple of days. We’ll be getting an introduction to the Scots and their ways as well as a bit of background on the school and its surroundings. Reading the guides and information packets sent to us has me excited to see everything in person.

The Facebook group for my accommodation has connected me to 3 out of 4 of my fellow flatmates and we’ve been chatting a bit throughout August. They’re all wonderful people that seem as eager as I am to begin, and I think we’ll get along quite well this semester. A giant group chat of everyone in our building was made and people are coming from all over the world. The global atmosphere of Edinburgh is heavily noted on brochure materials, and I’m already starting to see how true that is.


My family and I have just returned from vacation to Banff National Park/Yoho National Park/Jasper National Park in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada (such beautiful places – highly recommend visiting) and I foolishly didn’t pre-pack so I’m currently scrambling to organize everything. Fortunately the weather in Scotland is my favorite kind = cold and damp with a high chance of cozy knits. Unfortunately this means thick layers will be taking up the majority of my luggage space.

I’ve never been exposed to academics outside of the US and nearly 15 years of schooling has ingrained a certain expectation I have towards learning and teaching methods as well as professor participation. My minimal research seems to show that the UK has a more independent approach with fewer contact hours and graded assignments. This will mean heavier weight placed on one final assignment: something I’m a bit nervous about.


My mind paints Scotland as a land of mystic lochs and lush green fields in the forefront of castles and fog-ridden mountains. I’m imagining windy roads climbing up and down the hills with sheep trotting alongside. We’ll see how reality fares with these picturesque images, but something tells me it’ll be better than imaginable.

Here’s tae us and bye for noo!