Monday, January 10, 2011

Arrival, Getting Settled, and Classes!

I'm alive and well in Scotland! The trip here went smoothly until about an hour before landing when the captain came on the air and said, "Due to snow in Edinburgh, the airport is closed. We will be landing in Glasgow instead." Well that was a shocker, but thankfully things went pretty smoothly. After landing in Glasgow, they provided a shuttle service to Edinburgh (about hour and a half ride) and from there I was taken to the University. Its funny that 2 inches of snow here is enough to close the airport. So needless to say, I was slightly delirious when I finally got here, but everyone was very helpful and friendly. I got to my dorm, the John Burnett House, and its beautiful. It was just built in 2009 and I am living in a single that is so much nicer than anything at Gordon!

I also have an awesome view of King Arthur's Seat.. I'm going to climb up it eventually..

On my way into my dorm, I met another American from Texas named Litta who helped me bring my bags in. She invited me to go along with her and a local named David to walk around the city. We walked around for almost two hours, but it was great! I love Edinburgh so far, the buildings, shops, pubs, etc. are amazing. Later that night there was a pizza night for all of the international students followed by a pub crawl so I was able to meet some other internationals then. One funny story: In between the pizza and pub crawl, another girl and I went to order our first drink in Scotland at what's called the "Library Bar", a really cool, old library room that was converted into a bar/restaurant. Well we saw a apple raspberry drink which looked good, so we ordered it. After the first sip I realized it really was just apples and raspberries, it was a juice! Woops! Later on we went to the first two pubs on the pub crawl and they were really fun to see. One was more of a sports pub, there were lots of people watching a rugby match and later a band came in. The other one was called Frankensteins and was more of a club like style. Both very unique places that I'd like to go back to! Oh and was also able to correct my first drink mistake too!

The next day was orientation, which included some talks, a tour, and an information fair. I was so exhausted by the end of the day that I went to bed fairly early. Today was a bit chaotic: the first day of classes. Most of the main campus buildings are about a 20 minute walk from my dorm. I was able to find all of my classrooms which was good. I had 3 classes today, and the buildings they are held in are awesome! I'll put pictures up of them eventually. One looks like it is from the 1700s, and probably is. I enjoyed my classes and think they will be good: lots of reading involved. The academic system is different here, instead of homework or frequent quizzes or exams, the course grade typically comes down to one essay and one final exam. On one hand it sounds like a good thing with less collected work, however puts more pressure on those few things that are required. My classes are pretty large, probably the biggest had 250 students. Once a week we break down into what's called tutorial groups, about 10 people, and go deeper into the topics covered in lecture.

The weather here has been good so far! Its been in the mid to high 30s, the first two days were sunny, and today was a bit overcast and damp. But overall better than expected!

The building right next to my dorm

The view from outside my dorm

Some random shots of the city...

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