3 Slightly Random (But Still Very Good) Reasons to Visit Scotland

If you know me, you know I really like Scotland.

Based on my experience living there for 9 months, I’m pretty set in my belief that it’s the best place on earth. There are a lot of fantastic reasons to come to Scotland. Here are a few that I came up with late at night when I should have been sleeping.

1. Castles – Scotland has so many of them. From refurbished museums to rocky ruins, there are beautiful castles spreading all across the country. Each one has its own unique history and architecture. You can visit the former homes and birthplaces of Kings and Queens of yore. Not only are the castles themselves beautiful, many of them are surrounded by absolutely breathtaking views.

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The Fairytale Inveraray Castle

2. Hairy Coos – AKA: Highland Cows. AKA: The world’s most magnificent beast. You’ll find these fluffy creatures wandering around the highlands enjoying their comfortable life in the cold. The best description I can come up with for the animals is just a more cuddly yak. They’re awesome and if visiting Scotland, taking a highland tour so you can see some hairy coos is of utmost importance. I’m very passionate about these cows. Just look at them!

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Two Beautiful Hairy Coos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Home of Harry Potter (sort of) – For Harry Potter fans, Scotland should be your next destination. It’s the home of Hogwarts after all. Fun fact: J.K. Rowling lives in Edinburgh. She wrote Harry Potter surrounded by all things Scottish. When you’re vising Edinburgh, check out the Elephant House Cafe, an old writing spot she used to frequent before she got ridiculously famous and it became a Harry Potter tourist hub. You can also go take a ride in the Hogwarts Express. The Harry Potter train bridge is located in Glenfinnan, Scotland. You can take a ride on a steam train and cross the iconic bridge.

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Harry Potter Bridge

So, are you ready to hop on a plane and have a Scottish adventure?

I know I am.

Thanks for reading! Happy traveling.

 

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3 Reasons to Study Abroad

Studying abroad in Scotland changed my life. I had such a fantastic experience that before I’d even returned home, I was plotting how to get back again.

For my very first blog post, I wanted to write about why everyone who has the opportunity to study abroad should do it.

I don’t leave to Scotland for a few more months, but I’m already planning new trips and adventures to take. Since I don’t have any travel updates to share yet, instead I’ll be writing the occasional post about travel, Scotland, publishing, and whatever else is occupying my mind.

Today’s topic?

3 reasons every college student should study abroad.

1. TRAVEL

First off, it’s a chance to travel the world and see new things. This sounds obvious, but there really is nothing quite like traveling. There’s something very freeing about putting your life in a suitcase and hopping on a plane.

You’ll see places you never knew existed. You’ll see gorgeous castles, astonishing landscapes, crazy creatures and all sorts of other sites you thought only existed in 2-dimensions on the travel channel (or your Pinterest board).

2. CULTURE

Studying abroad really does make you more cultured.

What does that mean?

Well, it means that you understand that your way of life back home is not the only or even the best way to live. You’ll probably experience culture shock in your first few weeks living in a new country. It’s hard to be surrounded by unfamiliar language listening to references you don’t understand.

You’ll get through it. In a month or two, you’ll be surprised to find that you’ve adopted the local slang. (I still catch myself saying “cheers” to waiters or cashiers two years after moving home from the UK.) You’ll learn to adapt and discover new things all along the way. It wasn’t until studying abroad that I realized just how clueless I was about the rest of the world.

Embrace the unfamiliar, don’t be afraid to ask questions and try to keep up with your new country’s new so that you’re not clueless to the world going on around you.

3. CLASSES

I realize that when studying abroad, the actual “studying” part is not always students’ main priority. However, taking classes in a different country can be a really interesting experience. Your school abroad is going to approach coursework differently than your home university.

Your school is also going to offer unique classes you can’t get back home.  Maybe it’s European Film or maybe it’s Journalism Ethics. Even if the content is similar to a class you’d study back home, the perspective is entirely different.

For example, I took a journalism class in Scotland that focused on journalism’s relationship to society. There was a day when we examined American news media.  The Scottish students were shocked by the inaccuracies and bias shown in clips from Fox News. They were even more shocked to learn that it was my country’s #1 news network.

My point? It was fascinating to learn about American media outside of the American perspective. What we take for granted is not always the case. You’ll be surprised about all there is to learn and how little you know about the world.

So, there it is– 3 reasons to study abroad.

Of course, not everyone’s personal life allows for studying abroad, but I want to encourage you to go for it if you do have the opportunity. It isn’t as difficult, expensive or scary as you might expect.  So often people talk about studying abroad like it’s an impossible dream.

It’s not!

Once you’re standing on a beautiful grassy hill admiring a medieval castle or wandering through one of the world’s most famous museums, all the planning, saving and stressing you went through will be wiped away.

Thanks for reading. Happy Traveling!

-Sarah

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