An American in Scotland


My name is Jada, I’m an American, and I’m going to Scotland for six months. I’ll be studying at the University of Glasgow and hopefully living like any 20 year old Scottish college student would. But of course I’ll be American, not Scottish, and the culture shock is sure to be insane. So I’ve decided to document my insanity, starting from about a month and a half before I hop the pond until I return. I hope to share photos and snippets from my daily life with y’all. So this is going to be, starting around January first, a travel/photo/journal blog-contraption. Until then its most likely to be pre-planning blog which will focus on preparing to study abroad for six month and planning travel to several other country’s in Europe as well. Enjoy.

Questions?
Don’t do this ladies and gentlemen. Don’t make me hunt you down and find you. Bring a nice rain jacket or something. More horrifying is that she was posing for a picture at this time.

Don’t do this ladies and gentlemen. Don’t make me hunt you down and find you. Bring a nice rain jacket or something. More horrifying is that she was posing for a picture at this time.

Tagged: FlorenceItalyTouristdon't do this

People always ask me…

Should I study abroad?

They want to go abroad, but they aren’t sure if it’s for them. If they can handle being so far off in a different culture, or they aren’t sure they if they can afford it. (Or a billion other reasons, I’ll just respond to the most common).

What I say: Do it. It’s worth it. Everyone who doesn’t do it but wants to regrets it. Most of the people I know who studied abroad had to save money, borrow money, or get scholarships. They (and I) don’t regret it. I took out a student loan and was lucky that I had parents that could help me out, and I won’t regret paying that particular loan back at all. Because my experience was amazing. I would do it again in a heartbeat. And if you are worried about culture shock or other problems then you should be reassured that there are wonderful people everywhere who will help you. When I got lost in Germany? Two little old German ladies who didn’t speak a word of English directed me to where I was staying with smiles and hand gestures. And there is always someone to tell you where to go or what haggis is before you eat it. Usually with a smile (and maybe a joke…). And if you are worried about getting around without a car almost all European cities are walkable/bikeable and reachable by train. Many Europeans don’t even have cars. So do it. Don’t like to regret a missed opportunity. In 20 years you will regret things you didn’t do more than you did do.

So I’m a bit obsessed with SciFi shows. I was thrilled when I found a TARDIS. Okay so maybe this isn’t a real TARDIS. Don’t spoil my dreams.

So I’m a bit obsessed with SciFi shows. I was thrilled when I found a TARDIS. Okay so maybe this isn’t a real TARDIS. Don’t spoil my dreams.

shedreamsimpossiblethings asked: You are soo soo so lucky! I wish I could do exactly what you are doing. If you don't mind me asking, how much did this cost you approx? That way I can start saving my money ha. And also did you get really good grades to be able to get into Glasgow?

I don’t mind telling cost. The plane ticket from Atlanta to Glasgow was $900 (you will almost certainty have a stopover in London). The tuition for classes I paid directly to my College in the US, because I just studied abroad. I go to a private school so my tuition is about $12,000 (I just got next semesters bill). But sometimes (although I think its rare-er) you pay tuition to the University you are studying at. Also tuition at a public school (in the US) is way way less than $12,000 per semester. 

I paid for my room directly to Glasgow. That was about £2,000 but can be less ore more depending on where you are staying. I also had to buy my own food as most of the housing is apartment style and you have your own kitchen. But I didn’t mind that because I usually wanted something besides what the dining hall was serving. I would spend on average £25 on food per week. I mostly ate pasta, baked potatoes, fresh fruit/veggies, cooked veggies, and veggie sandwiches. So sometimes my meal budget was more sometimes (if I ate a lot of pasta, one of my favorite foods) it was less. But Wolfson Hall has a dining hall you can eat if you live there, however I caution you from requesting Wolfson. It is kind of awful and far far away from the school, and kind of near a bod neighborhood. One girl I knew got her own apartment to avoid Wolfson. If you go out to eat/drink a lot this budget will be higher so plan accordingly. Also I can be pretty thrifty with meal budgets so you might not want to limit yourself to £25. 

Traveling and shopping are the next two categories. And they are the most variable. I highly recommend you travel, I didn’t regret a cent I spend on traveling and you should really at least see more of Scotland/UK. A ticket from Glasgow to Edinburgh is £11 round while a ticket to St. Andrews is ~ £30 with bus. I spent more money when I went about the rest of Europe than in Scotland. I flew to Florence and back to Scotland from Munich but other than that I just stayed on trains. Trains are great because they don’t make yo check bags, go through security, and you can bring food on. I bought a Eural pass but if you want to do that I strongly caution you to check if just buying individual passes would save you more money. Sometimes I feel like the Eurail passes can just rip you off. The expensive train tickets are between countries, there about 100Euro. I did save myself 90Euro because I mis-booked a ticket, due to bad information in the Eurail book. So I recommend double checking everything. Also in Italy (and other countries to be on the safe side, but Italy def) you must reserve a ticket, yes even with a Eurail pass, at the station. Reservation cost money. So check if you need a reservation because you will be fined in Italy if you don’t have one (and then you still have to buy one.. Germany is way more cool about it, but Southern counties are more strict. So yeah, I’m not a huge fan of Eurail passes. And ALWAYS buy your tickets at the train station, no matter in Scotland or elsewhere. Don’t book online because the attendants at the station know what you need/how to book tickets. You don’t. Trust me. 

Shopping is another category all together. Glasgow has the best shopping outside of London. So if yo like to shop take your normal shopping budget (or amount spent on shopping) and convert it to £, then add some. Remember if it normally cost $10 in the US, which becomes £6.50, the item will still cost £10. So what I’m saying is that shopping in Europe is expensive. Also take souvenirs into account. Everyone needs a wool scarf and possible a kilt. Even if you don’t want one now you will. It really varies. 

Another good tip on the traveling might be to plan out your longer trips (like spring break) now. You can check flight prices, hotel prices, transportation prices, and tourist attraction prices now to get a good idea of what a weekend in London or Paris might cost. Even if it will be a few years before you go. That way you can start saving now with a more accurate idea of price. 

And I recommend getting a Historic Scotland membership, you get into a lot of castles and historic sites free or discounted after you buy your membership and get money off at the gift shops. Included are St Andrews castle and Edinburgh castle. There is another membership that covers other castles not on the Historic Scotland plan (sorry I can’t remember the name atm) and if you plan ahead (ie buy them at the beginning of your study abroad semester) and actually want to go to these places they can save you a good bit of money. 

And my gpa is about 3.44, but Glasgow will take a lot of students with lower gpas for study abroad. If you want to study there as a regular student check the for website for admission requirements. 

Tagged: Q and AGlasgowScotlandStudy Abroad

A Scottish cow. Not a highland cow unfortunately, but a cow in Scotland nonetheless.

A Scottish cow. Not a highland cow unfortunately, but a cow in Scotland nonetheless.

Tagged: cowScotlandGlencoe

St Andrews, Scotland.

St Andrews, Scotland.

Main train station in Edinburg. Edinburg Waverley. Here it is covered in snow. If you want to go to the tourist section (ie the castle) get off here. It’s usually the terminal stop for most trains anyway.

Main train station in Edinburg. Edinburg Waverley. Here it is covered in snow. If you want to go to the tourist section (ie the castle) get off here. It’s usually the terminal stop for most trains anyway.

firstbook:

Our friends at Random House Children’s Books have generously agreed to donate one brand-new book for each new follower we gain on Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter this week. Those books will go to thousands of schools and programs serving kids from low-income families across the country.
Please Re-blog!
To learn more about First Book, please visit: www.firstbook.org

firstbook:

Our friends at Random House Children’s Books have generously agreed to donate one brand-new book for each new follower we gain on TumblrFacebook, and Twitter this week. Those books will go to thousands of schools and programs serving kids from low-income families across the country.

Please Re-blog!

To learn more about First Book, please visit: www.firstbook.org

Source: firstbook

So I’ve had kind of a bad day. And what makes bad days better? Memories of castels in Germany and one of the most exciting days of my life.
In Europe couples will put locks on things to symbolize their love, this just happens to be at Neuschwanstein Castle, near Fussen Germany.  
Also this is a film photo! Yay!!

So I’ve had kind of a bad day. And what makes bad days better? Memories of castels in Germany and one of the most exciting days of my life.

In Europe couples will put locks on things to symbolize their love, this just happens to be at Neuschwanstein Castle, near Fussen Germany.  

Also this is a film photo! Yay!!

Tagged: Neuschwanstein CastlecastleFussenGermanygood day

The Abbotsford House is in the Scottish Borders on the River Tweed. It was the home of Sir Walter Scott and his descendants continued to live int eh house until 2004. 

The Abbotsford House is in the Scottish Borders on the River Tweed. It was the home of Sir Walter Scott and his descendants continued to live int eh house until 2004. 

Tagged: Abbotsford HouseSir Walter ScottRiver TweedScottish BordersScotland