Hey Vassar people! How’s Poughkeepsie?
I’m currently at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, and it has been quite the adventure so far. My mom and I first came into Ireland through Dublin and spent a day there, then flew up to Glasgow. Dublin was pretty cool, we got to see Trinity College and the Book of Kells which was incredible. The Book of Kells is an illuminated copy of the gospels that’s really old. If you’ve seen any sort of Celtic design, chances are that it came from the Book of Kells originally.
We also went to the Guinness Storehouse. I’m not that big of a beer fan, so I was mostly amazed that people care this much about how Guinness is made. Although the top of the building is a bar and has an amazing view of the city, so we got some good pictures there.
Once we got to Glasgow, just finding my accommodations was an adventure. I’m staying in university housing, but it’s spread out through different buildings so I didn’t have a definite address, just an intersection. Eventually I got my keys and found my flat. The housing system I’m in is a bit of a mix of underclassmen and senior housing at Vassar, I have a roommate and also share a kitchen and a bathroom with five other rooms on the same floor. Not everyone is here yet since it’s only international students currently, but I can imagine there being a struggle for the bathroom when everyone has arrived.
The campus itself is gorgeous, especially the main building. I managed to get to the top of one of the turrets and take some nice pictures from there. The cloisters are also a pretty popular place for pictures, and for pretending that you’re Harry Potter since it looks like Hogwarts. In fact, a girl who was on the same campus tour as me said that the film makers originally wanted to use the University of Glasgow for Hogwarts, but they would have to film during finals so it didn’t happen.
One other fun Harry Potter fact is that one of the side streets around here, Ashton Lane, apparently inspired Diagon Alley when J.K. Rowling saw it. It’s a pretty adorable street, has a movie theater and a few pubs on it.
Another adorable aspect of this city is the subway. A strange way to describe a public transportation system, but there’s really no other way to put it. The entire subway system is in a circle, you just have to pick which direction in the circle you want to go. The cars themselves are also pretty small, and comfortable as well. Apparently it used to be called the “clockwork orange” since the cars were orange (only some of them are now). I definitely did not expect everything here to be so cute.
It’s been interesting being grouped with the international students. Sure, the majority of the study abroad and exchange people are from the US, but China has the second most number of students here, so I’ve gotten to talk to quite a few people from other countries.
So far I’ve mostly been using my time to explore and get to know the city a little bit. This week was international orientation, but I’ve been finding that the university is pretty hands off when it comes to orienting us. While I feel mostly like a freshman in college again, I don’t really have a fellow group or anyone to follow around. Which is fine because I enjoy being on my own, but I’m also finding that I’m having the same thoughts that I had during freshman orientation at Vassar. Which is mostly freaking out that I’ll have no friends because it’s been a few days and I haven’t met my soul mate yet. But I know that I’ll be fine once the school year gets going, and that is the beauty of having been through this before.