Hello CIE Blog readers!
I thought I’d tell you a bit more about my life here in Glasgow now that I’ve settled in. My flat is located close to the university in the city’s Westend. This is an awesome area full of little shops, vintage stores (they LOVE vintage here in Glasgow), cafés and parks. I live right beside a huge park called Kelvingrove with amazing running trails that go for miles… Glasgow is an incredibly active city and the university has many clubs devoted to sports and other outdoorsy type activities. It’s great for people like myself who aren’t good enough to play on a varsity team but still really enjoy being active.
I’ve joined the “Hares and Hounds” club (a British name for running clubs, love it!). Contrary to what you may think, Scotland has the perfect running weather. The rain and overcast skies keep you from overheating and the scenery is really magical, so green! Just make sure to bring a jumper and a windbreaker… you will be getting wet!
Since I’ve come to Glasgow I have also seen a ton of live music. Glasgow was appointed a UNESCO City of music in 2008, and after being here 3 weeks I can already see why. One of my favorite local haunts is this little pub right around the corner from my flat where Celtic musicians come to jam every Thursday night. The music is amazing and it isn’t a university pub, which can be refreshing at times. At the risk of sounding cheesy, being there really makes you feel like you’re in Scotland.
The music scene isn’t all traditional bands either. This is the city that produced the likes of Travis, Belle & Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand and Snow Patrol, so you can bet the indie band scene is amazing. My new friends and I have been able to see some great bands like King Charles and Mise en Scene at tiny venues for a fraction of what you’d pay in Canada.
Note: Being a “Mature” student on exchange
Law in the UK is an undergraduate degree, and the majority of people one meets at international orientation events and in residence are in their undergrad. As a 26 year-old law student who hasn’t seen the inside of a dorm room since 2006, I am in a very different place in my life than a lot of my colleagues. While socially it helps that I’m often mistaken for a 16 year old, it can feel a little isolating at times. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Part of going on exchange, especially going on one’s own, is forcing yourself out of your comfort zone.
So for all you mature students out there, don’t think exchange isn’t for you! There is still loads you can get out of the experience, from traveling to exploring new hobbies to actually spending time enjoying your classes (I mean, we’re here to learn right?). Plus, I’ve still been able to meet a ton of nice, interesting people through clubs and other activities, you just have to get out there!
Also remember that sometimes, age really isn’t more than a number. People who go on exchange, regardless of their age, are usually adventurous, ready to explore a new culture and eager to make new friends, just like you! So, if you can get over thinking, “OMG, I was in undergrad when you were in grade 8!!!”, the experience can be a ton of fun. (Plus: who doesn’t ever wish they could try reliving their undergraduate years once or twice, sans all the rookie mistakes?)
This weekend I am off to the Isle of Skye with the international students club! Check it out, it was apparently named the fourth best island in the world by National Geographic! I will definitely be taking my camera with me!