I can still remember the thick smell of rain in the air as I stepped out of the airport in Scotland, completely alone and in a new country. Hi, I’m Kayleigh and I am a Psychology major with a Pre-medicine track. Currently, I am studying abroad in Glasgow, the most populous city in Scotland. Glasgow has two main universities: the University of Glasgow (it looks like Hogwarts) and the University of Strathclyde, the school I go to. Strathclyde has student flats on campus and most international students live here. I am in one of the most central flats on campus with 5 other international students. I have flatmates from Wisconsin, Canada, and Australia. Our flat is quite small but it is nice to have my own room after living in a dorm for the last year and a half. It is also really nice being in an international dorm (some international students live with Strathclyde students that have been there all year) because we’re all going through this experience together and they are automatic travel buddies.
|Celtics "football" game with two of my flatmates.|
The Highlands are my favorite place in Scotland because of their beauty and amazing stories. Scotland was originally a Pagan society before Christianity was introduced here when the Romans invaded. Due to this, a lot of areas in Scotland (really almost all) have some sort of myth or legend tied to it. The common legend everyone knows is the Loch Ness Monster, Nessie. Legend says that the monster lurks deep in the loch, below the water where no one can see it. My first trip out to the Highlands was to see Loch Ness and the area around it. While I did not spot Nessie, the Loch is very pretty and has an amazing view when you look out into it. Also, I was able to see Highland Cows on this visit (or Highland Coos as the Scottish say).
|Highland "Coo" I saw on my trip to Loch Ness.|
|My dragon, Sorcha, in front of Loch Ness. Sorcha is a Scottish Gaelic name meaning "brightness".|
Recently, I took a trip to the gorgeous Isle of Skye. It is often said that Skye is proof that sometimes God was just showing off. And that is true! I took a 2 day trip up there with multiple other international students. We visited a few different places on Isle of Skye, all of them more beautiful than the last. The big spot/most famous spot on Isle of Skye is the Old Man of Storr. The Old Man of Storr is a large pinnacle of rock. It is said that the rock formed when a giant died and his thumb was left sticking out when he was buried. You might recognize the Old Man of Storr from Harry Styles’ music video for Sign of the Times.
|View out from Old Man of Storr.|
Isle of Skye has multiple myths and legends tied to the fascinating sights there. Another famous place is the Sligachan Bridge and the River Sligachan. The legend is that if you stick your face in the river for 7 seconds then you will be blessed with the gift of eternal youth and beauty. Of course, I had to trust the legend and stick my head into the river. It was absolutely freezing sticking my face in the fountain but definitely worth abiding by the legend.
|On top of the Sligachan Bridge with the Cuillins in the background.|
While there are many legends and myths involved with the history of Scotland, there is a lot of actual history. Bidean nam Bian, a complex mountain, features the Three Sisters of Glencoe. Glencoe is famous for the Massacre of Glencoe. The massacre took place in 1692 and saw the murder of the MacDonalds. 38 men and women of Clan MacDonald died because the clan leader waited until after the deadline to give their oath of allegiance to King William and King William chose to make an example of the clan. Even though Glencoe has a gory past, the Three Sisters are a gorgeous sight.
|This picture was taken at the base of Three Sisters.|
|Sorcha with the Three Sisters of Glencoe.|
Although my time in Scotland is more than halfway over, I am thankful for the time I have had here. It has been completely eye opening to be in another country and see another culture. Since coming here, I have traveled to multiple places outside of Scotland like London, Amsterdam, Iceland, Paris, Barcelona, Venice, and Rome. Before I head back to North Carolina, I have a few more trips planned that will be really fun! Feel free to check out my past adventures and the ones to come on my blog: https://rikerabroad.home.blog.