Lighting Up The Dark – Edinburgh

12525420_10205402731453008_6461467644518566735_o

21 years I’ve been alive. And for 21 years I have lived in the great city of Louisville. I have been to the odd state here and there, and even the Bahamas once, but never have I ventured for more than 10 days away from my home. I have only seen the light from a very small fraction of our amazing planet. To me, the rest of the world was dark. But now it is time to see more of the light. It is time to study abroad.

I landed in my new home for the next 5 months, Edinburgh, in early January. And after being here a month, I am already in love. Since “study” comes first in “study abroad,” I’ll touch on my the academics real quick (skip to the next paragraph if you want a more interesting read). The University of Edinburgh is one of four ancient ¬†universities in Scotland, which to me sounds pretty bad ass. I will definitely be telling people I attended an ancient uni (such a simple slang word to adopt and use) when I come back home. Anyway, the way the classes are set up here are a bit different than back home. The semester is 10 class weeks long, with a few study weeks and spring break thrown in there. Typically a class meets 2 times a week in a lecture format. But then you have a smaller class size once a week called a tutorial. I enjoy this style because tutorials are where the fascinating discussion happens. Lastly, the grading here is a bit different with a 70 being a pretty good grade and a 40 being a pass grade. Having said that, the grading is pretty tough so you must bring your A game.

Now to the more fun stuff. Edinburgh is a city with many universities and as such is a city that is very college kid friendly. Almost everywhere you go you can find a student discount and the people are very friendly to the student population. It is also riddled with pubs and clubs that suit any mood you are in or music you want to listen to. The city also has ethnic food from all over the world on any street. I like to say that almost every street in Edinburgh is it’s own Bardstown Rd, having a multitude of shops and restaurants to fulfill any need. All of this is packed into a city which isn’t really that big, which means you can walk pretty much anywhere worth going within 30 to 40 minutes. And sometimes you’ll wish the walk was longer with the amount of beauty the city has to offer (on a non rainy day of course). A port on one side, castle in the middle, and fantastic architecture between, a walk in Edinburgh is always pleasing to the eyes. All in all I love this city and the it’s culture.

But it would not be complete without the amazing people I have met along the way. These are the people I enjoy this amazing city with. And maybe the most important aspect of study abroad is the people you meet and getting to know their story. So I’d like to give a highlight to some of them and let you know just a little bit about them.

Flatmates (all from England)

Sofia – an absolutely fantastic chef and mastermind behind a great wine and cheese night.

Robyn – Always has a bright smile and a “how was your day today?”

Sophie – Perfect companion to grab and beer and share a laugh.

Others

Rishabh – Travel companion, financial adviser, fellow American. Pretty much do everything with him.

Belinda – Met through Rishabh, fellow traveler, laid back fun person.

Ward – Hands down one of the coolest people I have ever met. From the Netherlands, he may deserve his own blog post later.

I have met many others, especially during Business Society events such as Pub Golf (which I won… well tied for first), and in my classes and project groups. Bottom line, the people here are great, and we are having an amazing time while together.

This has just been the Edinburgh first chapter, there is much more to come, such as, kilt wearing and haggis/whiskey tasting. Just wanted to give a brief introduction to my new life for this semester. Currently, I am traveling in Spain with Rishabh and will make my next post about finding all the light here. Until next time.

Zach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

You’re Only Here Once

2016-02-16 09.22.08
Make the most of your time if you don’t travel while you are already in Europe, the prices are going to go way up. Remember that skyscanner is your best friend and plan in advance always.
I am spending my semester in Bordeaux France and though I have no been here long I have been able to explore the region a bit through bus lines, train lines (SNCF mostly) and soon by air!
If you are in France I would advise you to travel the region you are in first and then when you want to go to Germany or some land that seems close but is quite expensive, take on the challenge and find small towns to stop at on the way and break up the trip. I promise it will be less expensive.
Another little travel tip, try to travel with people who have the same budget as you and also same values in general. it is hard to travel when everyone wants to go to different places and you have a very small amount of time to get all these places covered.
Most of all have fun and don’t be scared to travel by yourself! BUT if you travel by yourself be very careful and triple check where you are staying to make sure it is in a safe area!
Have fun travel buddies and keep sharing your stories!
Kariana Dear ( a wonderluster on a budget)