Monday, May 23, 2016

Towsif in Scotland!

Hey everyone! My name is Towsif Aziz and I am studying at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland. Unfortunately I forgot my dragon, Yoshi, at home so there will be a lack of him in my pictures…

140 days. I remember writing that number down on my calendar right after I arrived in Scotland. 140 days in a foreign country all by myself. When I had first left the states on my way to Glasgow in Scotland I had been extremely excited about what I was heading into. That excitement wore off quickly, but would pick up soon again. But for those first few moments after touching down on Scottish soil I realized the entirety of the situation before me. I almost immediately felt overwhelmed. How would I get to my university from the airport? Where do I shop? Did I forget to bring anything from home? Am I going to be able to meet new people here and get along with them? Are classes going to be hard? These, among many more questions flooded my mind. I had realized that all those meetings we had prior to my departure were right. No matter how much you prepare, it is still a shock when you arrive. But don’t worry, that wears off soon.

Celtic Park, home of the Celtic Football Club

Almost within a week my past inhibitions and anxieties had melted away. Strathclyde University had done a tremendous job of getting all the exchange students together for multiple events so that we could find comfort with others going through the same ordeals we were facing. Within two weeks I had stopped counting down how many days I had left in Scotland and begun truly appreciating what I was experiencing. Everything, from the culture, to the food, even the architecture was something that I had begun to appreciate. There was always something to do or somewhere to go. 

Hiking through the Scottish Highlands.

A few friendly faces from our journey.

I was actually secretly studying at Hogwarts.

The impromptu trip to Spain.

Now, here I am on the other end of my exchange journey with less than a week left, watching the days fly by and wishing that time would slow down just a little bit so I could enjoy this trip just a little bit more. For those of you going on exchange programs in the future I implore you to do everything you can. I know I did and it made my experience that much better. Impromptu trip to Spain? Why not? 96 Mile hike through the Scottish Highlands? Sign me up. Bus trip to London just to see Platform 9 ¾? Gone faster than I can say Hogwarts.
So go ahead, make new friends, go to new places, and experience it all! These memories will become a part of you which you will remember and cherish for the rest of your life. If you don’t live a little while you are abroad, you might end up regretting it. So go ahead, experience life to the fullest, live life with no regrets, and enjoy yourself while you are abroad!

Towsif Aziz
Strathclyde University
Scotland, UK