Every time I meet someone new and I explain that I’m from San Diego, they say something to the caliber of “Why would you come here?” It has made me appreciate home all that much more, and when I answer the question, it makes me all the more sure of my decision to study abroad in Scotland.
I always answer saying, “Yeah, San Diego is a great place, but I’d lived there for seven years and I was ready for a change.”
They will say something like, “But why rainy Scotland?!”
I laugh, pause and say, “Because I came here two years ago and fell in love with it. I decided that I needed to spend a whole year here, so it was a plan long in the making! The nature is beautiful, the buildings and cities are so old and quaint, and most importantly the people are completely warm, friendly and welcoming!”
My time here thus far has been a blur of excitement. My transition was amazingly smooth, almost seamless, and I think that can largely be attributed to three things: first, I’m in an English-speaking country, which takes out the initial challenge many students face of overcoming a language barrier. Second, I have the nicest flat mates in the world! Three are locals and one is an Italian exchange student, and they all treated me as a friend from day one. Thirdly, and I think this is the most significant reason, I went in to the experience with the mindset that this is going to be a success. That positivity was reciprocated by my surroundings and I feel right at home.
Fresher’s Week, Scotland’s first week of classes that is largely focused on fun events similar to Aztec Nights, was some out of control fun! Everyone was excited to be here. It gave everyone including me a time to make great memories and bond with a bunch of new people before school kicked into full gear.
Since Fresher’s Week, I have joined the Live Music and Ultimate Frisbee societies. These societies are a lot like our Greek system in that they are a fantastic way to socialize and meet new people. This starts around the common interest that everyone shares, but I’m told it becomes much more of a family than anything else. It’s pretty awesome because there’s absolutely no exclusivity to these clubs, and they are for sure the number one way everyone here makes friends.
This weekend I have my first tournament in Edinburgh for Ultimate Frisbee, and I am so excited! We play tournaments all day Saturday and Sunday with a big party on Saturday night.
The past three weeks have been some of the times of my life, and I can’t even begin to fathom what the next eight months have in store for me. Remember that your future is bright and it’s what you make of it. Positive vibes from Scotland, y’all!
Nathaniel Geoghegan is earning a bachelor’s degree in English at San Diego State University. He is blogging from Stirling, Scotland for the 2015-2016 academic year.