My first impressions of Scotland (as a student on exchange):
- Scottish people are very kind. Most of the time I can’t understand them, they drive on the wrong side of the street and sometimes the men wear skirts (kilts, of course). But they are really nice and helpful.
- Scottish weather isn’t as terrible as I had expected- there are sunny days as well! When the sun is shining, no matter which month it is and what the thermometer says, it’s summer time and Scottish people wear short sleeves. Sometimes you get spring, summer, autumn and winter all in one day. Don’t try to fight the weather with an umbrella; the wind will immediately punish you. Just face defeat and you will get used to it.
- Glasgow has many pretty places. Kelvingrove Park, the Necropolis, Glasgow Green… no wonder the name of the city comes from the Gaelic words “Glas Ghu”, dear green place.
- All those unhealthy, strange and tasty things they have here… ranging from shortbread cookies, full Scottish breakfast, Irn Bru, tablet, haggis to deep fried anything- fish, haggis, pizza and even Mars bars. Considering what haggis is made of, I would have thought it would taste horrible, but it’s actually delicious.
- Glasgow is quite expensive, especially accommodation. However, there are many student discounts, especially if you are a member of some student organisation or club. Bar Home, for example, is a great place and sponsors several student clubs with free food and cheap drinks.
- Glaswegians love traffic cones. The symbol of Glasgow is a statue of the Duke of Wellington, and what do you think is on his head? Obviously, a traffic cone. If the police try to take it down, students (usually a bit tipsy) will put it back in place overnight. In the student halls there are even signs saying you aren’t allowed to store traffic cones in your room. I’m wondering how many people have done it and what they did with the cone in their flat.
- Museums are usually for free, so it is great to explore them. My personal favourite is the Riverside museum with a fantastic realistic street from around the year 1900 with many shops and even a tram.
- The taps. I haven’t figured out why the invention of a tap joining hot and cold water hasn’t reached the UK. Until then I will have to keep alternately burning and freezing my hands.
- Ceilidhs are so much fun. Strip the Willow, the Orcadian, Flying Scotsman, Gay Gordons are just a few of all the fun dances that you can enjoy with your friends.
- The word BEAUTIFUL is not enough to describe Scottish nature. I love the majestic snow-capped peaks, rocky island shores, peaceful glens with grazing sheep, many different shades of green. The West Highland Way and other long-distance walks are like heaven for people who love trekking and hiking. After returning to civilisation from the windy-rainy-muddy-chilly outdoor activities, a fish ‘n’ chips supper and a nip of whisky or some cider work a treat to warm you up again 🙂