Thursday, May 2, 2019

Lexi in Glasgow!

Hello! My name is Lexi Raphael and I am a junior double-majoring in Accounting and Finance currently studying at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. I am super lucky to be studying at Strathclyde’s renowned business school this semester. As I write this, finals season is now in full swing and the weather is finally warming up - spring has sprung here in the UK! The exam period for Strathclyde students is really long compared to UNCG’s, with a full five weeks dedicated to studying and taking our final exams. So now I am able to take the time to reflect on this truly incredible experience and share with you what my life has been like in Glasgow. When my LIHC dragon, Rory, and I arrived in Glasgow I had no idea what this semester was going to be like, but I was so excited to get started on this wonderful journey.

My dragon, Rory (which means "red king" in Gaelic) and I ready to fly to Glasgow.

Rory visits the famous arches underneath the University of Glasgow.

When I arrived in early January it was quite cold in Scotland and the sun would set as early as 4:30pm which was hard to get used to, especially being in a brand new place. However, Glasgow itself is an incredible city that is full of history as well as the strangest creatures - also known as Glaswegians. “People Make Glasgow” is the city’s official motto and could not be more true. I have met the most funny, warm, and welcoming people while staying in Glasgow. Glaswegians are natural storytellers and are always willing to talk (especially if there is a pint involved). They love to go out and have a good time almost to a fault. I say Glaswegians are strange because some of the stories I have been told are so weird they have to be true. Glasgow is kind of a weird place: from eating ground-up sheep organs cooked inside its own stomach (haggis is not actually that bad), to placing traffic cones on the heads of all the statues in the city, to the insane lingo that makes the Glaswegian accent practically its own language. But, I was really happy to find that despite Glasgow being a large city, the biggest in Scotland, the people are just as friendly as the ones in the South. I have also made friends with people from around the world, including two of my lovely flatmates (even though they are actually also Americans). Who knew that I would be able to call people from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, and Denmark my friends?

Myself, my two flatmates from California, and our friend from Australia.

Some of my friends and I on a night out!

The rest of Scotland is just as remarkable as Glasgow, with amazing sights and a landscape that could bring tears to any nature lover. I have been able to travel all over the Highlands to places like the mountains of Glencoe, the ruins of Dunnottar Castle overlooking the ocean, and one of the most beautiful places on Earth - the Isle of Skye, a small island off the Western coast of mainland Scotland. There is so much Scottish history attached to every place in Scotland with castles and old forts scattered across the country. Even without it, the stunning lochs (Scottish term for lake) and mountains are reason enough to come to Scotland. There have been multiple movies, shows, and music videos filmed all around Scotland like Harry Potter, Outlander, and James Bond: Skyfall just to name a few.

Seeing the ruins of Dunnottar Castle with a great view of the ocean.

Climbing the Old Man of Storr in the Isle of Skye.

I have also been super lucky to fulfill my life-long dream of traveling across Europe to the cities I have wanted to visit for years. With my semester abroad being over in just a few short weeks, I am really happy that I was able to see all of the places on my “To-See List” while I was here. Other than places in Scotland, I have been to London, Amsterdam, Reykjavik, Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Venice, Prague, Krakow, and the Canary Islands. (I am tired just typing that). I am so grateful to both the Lloyd International Honors College and UNCG for making my study abroad experience possible. Scotland has been an adventure of a lifetime and I already cannot wait until I come back to visit. If you want to follow my travel adventures or even ask me some questions about going abroad follow me on Instagram @lexiraphael. Goodbye!

Rory and I taking in the views of Reykjavik, Iceland!

The mountains of Glencoe and the Scottish flag.