General

Traveling on Exchange: Making the Most of Living in Scotland

When I was younger I spent hours on google maps looking up different places and trying to convince my parents to one day take me there. I actually succeeded to convince my parents a few times, and since then my travel bug has never gone away. So when I first envisioned my semester abroad, I had grand plans. Over summer I built a list of places to visit that was too long for a lifetime, let alone a semester. When I arrived however, I realized just how short a semester was, and how little time I really had.

This put a damper on some of my more extravagant plans, but over time, I have grown quite happy with my list shortened of destinations. This is because I made the necessary decision to limit most of my travel to the British Isles. I have never been to the UK before and since this is where I am studying, why not delve deep into it, and truly get a sense of Britain?

This decision has saved me money and time, especially since most of my excursions have been day trips from Edinburgh. The university even hosts trips through the International Students’ Centre to many of the famous sites throughout the Scotland and Northern England. These trips are not perfect, especially for a person like me who hates being the passive traveller, however they are convenient, and have been a great way to meet new people.

So far, I have loved my trips. Scotland is a small country, but it has so much to offer – from rugged mountains, to beautiful coastlines, to some of the best cities in the UK. So in no particular order, here are a few of my favourite places in Scotland so far:

Fife Coastal Path and St. Andrew’s: The fife coastal path is a walking trail along the coastline just north of Edinburgh. The beautiful path is dotted with ruined castles, gorgeous fishing villages, and expansive beaches. From there it was a short trip to St. Andrew’s, a quiet university town, which boasts even more beaches and ruined castles.

Ruined Cathedral in St. Andrews

Ruined Cathedral in St. Andrews

Expansive beach in St. Andrews

Expansive beach in St. Andrews

St. Monans - a picturesque fishing village on the fife coastal path

St. Monans – a picturesque fishing village on the fife coastal path

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pentland Hills: The Pentland Hills begin where Edinburgh ends. Despite their proximity to the city, you enter another world when you are there, filled with free roaming sheep and rugged terrain.

Hill walking

Hill walking means braving the wind and cold for serene landscapes

 

Sheep!

Sheep!

Unexpectedly pretty fall colors in Scotland

I have encountered some unexpectedly pretty woodlands in Scotland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isle of Skye: This weekend trip from Edinburgh was on my bucket list when I arrived here. Luckily, the International Students’ Centre hosted a trip here. Skye is an incredibly famous island that lives up to its hype, but I wish I could have spent more time here. Skye deserves more than an overnight trip.

 

Views on the way to skye

Views on the way to Skye

Sligachan Bridge

Sligachan Bridge

Waterfall at Kilt Rock

Waterfall at Kilt Rock

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see there is no shortage of places to explore in Scotland. I am glad that I have found a balance of travel that takes into account my priorities and school work.