So, it has been almost a month since I have arrived at Scotland. As the plane was descending into Glasgow, the most beautiful landscape appeared out of the tiny airplane window. There were mountains covered in lush green trees with crystal blue lochs in the valley. Fun fact: there is only one lake in Scotland, but there are over 31,000 lochs. An immediate difference that I noticed is the language. Yes, American and Scottish people both speak English with different accents, but I did not realize just how different Glaswegian (the Scots dialect that is spoken in Glasgow). The first time a native Glaswegian spoke to me, I truly could not understand a word he was speaking. It sounded like a completely different language. When they speak, they drop so many letters in the words and use so much slang to the point where I just stand there and nod pretending I understand the conversation. Even now, I can only understand a few words that they are speaking and most of the meaning is lost to me. Hopefully by the end of the semester, I will be able to understand Glaswegian better.
I’m currently living in a 12 person flat in student accommodations. At least in the U.S., the word “flat” is considered the same thing as an “apartment”. And when most people hear the word “apartment”, they image a housing accommodation with a few bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and living space at minimum. When I first arrived at my flat after a long airplane flight, I was shocked to discover that the “flat” was simply a typical dorm with an additional kitchen. There is a long hallway with 12 single bedrooms and then a kitchen in the middle. Unfortunately, due to being “fire hazard”, we are unable to put in additional furniture. There is a good mix of international students in our flat: 3 from Australia, 1 from New Zealand, 1 from Quebec, Canada, 1 from Azerbaijan, and the rest from the U.S.
Uni has been an interesting experience. The first week was a hectic adventure trying to get classes approved and finding classes. Unlike in the U.S. where classes are at a set time and location usually either on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule or a Tuesday, Thursday schedule, at the University of Glasgow, class times and location change on a daily and weekly basis. For example, my Gaelic class meets in a museum one day and then in the medical school another day. And for other classes, we may meet in the mornings on some days, but on other days we meet in the afternoons. I had the hardest time finding classes that didn’t have time conflicts with each other. This is most likely due to the fact that there isn’t really a general education requirement here and non-exchange students typically only take courses for their major. There is a greater emphasis on self-learning here than in the U.S. Back at my home university, there would typically be homework due daily or weekly, but at Glasgow for most of my classes there is just two term papers due and a long list of “suggested reading” to do on our own time.