Every student that goes abroad has an amazing, unforgettable experience, myself included. But once we come back, no one cares about our stories anymore. We go about our lives as if nothing had happened and don’t talk about our adventures. But here, study abroad students get to tell their stories again.
I studied abroad in Glasgow, Scotland in the Spring 2014 semester and had the best experiences, traveled to the coolest places, and met the most amazing people. One of my favorite trips was actually the most boring but it’s filled with some special memories.
One of the most famous places in Scotland is Loch Ness but it’s actually a really uninteresting place to visit. Nessie doesn’t make an appearance no matter how long you stare at the loch and the town is really small and quiet. But to get there from Glasgow you need to drive through Glencoe: my favorite place in Scotland that I had visited on a previous trip. The mountains are spectacular and the most accurate description is breathtaking. Those mountains make the four hour drive worth it.
Once we got to Loch Ness we visited the Urquhart Castle, a ruin sitting right on the loch. Ruined castles are as common as office buildings in Scotland. They seem to be everywhere but each one is uniquely cool.
We then visited a small farm that had horses and highland cows wandering the hills but had none in sight. We went on a “cow hunt,” determined to find the missing cows. We trekked through the dirt and trees and found the horses first. They came right up to us and ate hay from our hands.
We searched high and low and finally came upon a few cows enjoying the little sun that was peeking through the constant cloud cover. Our guide said it was okay to touch them but never specified how. (You are apparently supposed to touch their head.) With their huge horns they were intimidating but never got up from their spots as we approached. I touched one on it’s back and it scared both the cow and me. We both jumped apart and that was the end of my cow-petting experiences.
Next we visited the famous Loch Ness sign. Here my friends from Canada and France stripped to their suits, donned water wings and jumped into the freezing water. They swam with Nessie for as long as it took for them to sprint back to shore. I stayed warm in my winter coat and gloves. The entire day was full of beautiful sights, cool history, new experiences and lots of laughs.
I sincerely miss Scotland and know that I will go back one day. Until then, at least I can say that I had tea with Nessie.