I’m back in Scotland for a second semester! It was a bold choice for me to do the whole year instead of a semester, but it has already proved to be a good decision as I’m really starting to feel at home.
So far this semester has been a blur of birthday parties, busy schooldays, and pub nights with live music and great company. I feel so comfortable in Stirling because it’s a small enough city that I know where everything is, and I see people I know everywhere. Half of the population is students so even when I’m out in the town centre it feels like an extension of campus.
This semester I am taking Scottish society and Scottish literature classes. I want to learn as much as possible about this country, and I find the culture here extremely fascinating, so it makes having so much “Scottishness” in my life fun.
The people here are so warm, laid-back and community-oriented, and I can’t get enough talking time in with them. I feel like I learn more every time I have a meaningful conversation with a Scottish person. Their outlook on life resonates with Buddhism and the idea of being in the moment, completely present and content.
When I go for a night out in San Diego, everyone is so busy documenting the night on their phones that they miss out on a lot. When I go into a pub here I rarely see even one screen lit up, and not a single selfie taken. The Scotts embrace “good banter,” and face-to-face time with their friend. They fully engage, rather than being disconnected with the people in their immediate vicinity, something I personally struggle with.
Additionally, self-deprecating humour is commonplace here and it makes for such a judgment-free environment. Everyone rags on themselves and their pals, but it’s with a certain warmth that makes it completely alright. I’m sure that it is clear I’m pretty obsessed with Scottish culture, and I’m definitely going to miss it like crazy when I have to leave.
I should be on a plane in a couple of weeks to Dublin, which will be a fun chance to check out my heritage and sight see in one of Europe’s quaintest cities. I’ll update you all in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, don’t forget to embrace other worldviews!
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.