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Catch Ya on The Flipside

It’s was nearly 36 days, 200 miles walked, and a lot of money spent since I left Missouri. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Am I ready to be home? Definitely. However, I know I will miss Scotland and all the wonderful people I got the chance to meet. I have always read about how studying abroad is a life changing experience, but I never really understood it. I thought just by being in another country I was somehow suppose to changed for the worse or for the better. I have been thinking more and more about what it is that I got out of this trip, and I have decided it was not the act of traveling but the process of it that has changed me.

Glencoe – The Highlands

Anyone can take a ten-hour road trip, but it’s how you react to each little event within the travel that defines you as a person. Traveling in the capacity of study abroad forces you to not only to be accountable to yourself, but also to a group of strangers. You actively make the choice if you’re going to adapt or remain stoic, if you’re going to be optimistic or complain the entire time. For example, at one point during this trip there was a two-hour ferry ride followed by about a nine-hour bus ride. Did I complain? Yes. But I also chose to find the good. I would not trade that bus ride for anything because it allowed me to see the Highlands.

Being back in the States is a bit stranger after a month abroad. Honestly, I kind of miss using the compost bin. I also keep forgetting to lock my car and look the correct way before crossing the street. It is weird to see so many cars and not as many buses. It is also weird to not be around the same fifteen people I’ve been with the past month. The one thing that was definitely a life changing experience was getting to meet such amazing people. I was a little nervous at first to be with a bunch of strangers, but living in close proximity quickly forces everyone to get to know each other.

 

Group picture (plus or minus a few) at Holyrood

 


Samantha Bradfield is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Psychology and Art History.  Samantha is spending the summer abroad with the UMKC Honors Summer Program in Scotland.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

On the Road Again

The last week of Scotland was a nonstop hustle from place to place. We left the city of

Glencoe

Edinburgh to head into the wilderness – the Highlands. Honestly, this part of the trip was the most demanding for me. Each night was a different hostel and each day was a long and bumpy bus ride. However, I would not trade it for the world. I think this part of the trip was the most significant because I was forced to be as flexible and adaptable as I could be. It was definitely a learning experience and I feel like I am more comfortable with handling fast paced situations now. For anyone considering a road trip through the Highlands, I recommended buying your own towel and bug spray. I also think you should be prepared for the unexpected and try to go with the flow for the best results.

Searching for whales

 

 

 

I have to say, going through the Highlands was my favorite part of this trip next to seeing medieval abbeys. I come from the outskirts of medium sized town, so I grew up surrounded by nature. I lived with the forest as my backyard and pastures as the front, so I felt at home in the Highlands. The towering hillsides speckled with sheep were beautiful and fit my idea of what Scotland looked like. I definitely could have stayed longer and climbed the various mountains around me. A week was not long enough to fully immerse myself in the Highlands.

 

Beach by Blackhouse Village
Loch Ness (Nessie not pictured)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 Samantha Bradfield is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Psychology and Art History.  Samantha is spending the summer abroad with the UMKC Honors Summer Program in Scotland.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Change of Scenery

Last weekend I took a trip to St. Andrews and Dundee with my professor and two flatmates. It felt nice to get out for the weekend and explore uncharted territory. St. Andrews is a much smaller town than Edinburgh. I enjoyed getting away from the hustle of the city for a while. I got to walk on the beach at St. Andrews, visit a castle, and go to a medieval church. On the beach, there was a sandcastle competition going on. Families were busy making their own castles while the ruins of St. Andrew’s castle was just a walk away. My favorite part was exploring the church ground with its towering façade and old gravestones. In its prime the church had been huge – a monumental building to be reckoned with. There was also a ghost of a woman that supposedly haunted the grounds, but sadly I did not see her.

St. Andrews’s Beach
St. Andrews

 

 

 

 

 

 

After spending the day in St. Andrews, we headed to

Dundee. The city had a completely different feeling than Edinburgh. It was compromised of mostly college students and seemed to be on the rebound from a poor economic state. I was able to visit both of the city’s art museums, and I was surprised at how good their collections were. I discovered a story about two Scottish women that travelled the globe in the 1900s to report on the conditions of women from around the world. I thought the art museum was very inclusive and had a lot of information to offer.

 

Claire Woods: Victim of Geography

 


 Samantha Bradfield is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Psychology and Art History.  Samantha is spending the summer abroad with the UMKC Honors Summer Program in Scotland.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Let’s go to the beach (beach)

It’s the thick of July and you wouldn’t expect the beach to be cold.

Dunure Castle

Scotland didn’t seem to get the memo. Last Friday, our program took an excursion to Dunure Castle and Robert Burns’ town. The castle ruins were embedded on a cliff overlooking the ocean. What once looked like a menacing fortress was nothing more than a dangerous pile of rocks. However, its eroded state did not make it any less impressionable. Its skeleton still held tight to its original power, and it cast a rather monumental shadow over the beach. Further exploration of the area led me to the rocks at the bottom of the cliff that extended into the ocean. Even with a chill in the air, my experience at the beach was well worth it.

View of the ocean outside of Dunure Castle

After spending an hour or so at the beach, it was time to head to where the famous Scottish poet, Robert Burns, once lived. This was one of my favorite days and I am not for certain what I can contribute that too. I was able to visit the bridge and kirk that inspired Burns’ poem, Tam O’ Shanter. I also explored the area surrounding Burns’ house. I think I was starting to miss being surrounded by nature. Coming from a rural background, I enjoy the city but not enough to live in it. I think this excursion helped me get over being a little homesick.

View from Brig O’ Doon

Samantha Bradfield is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Psychology and Art History.  Samantha is spending the summer abroad with the UMKC Honors Summer Program in Scotland.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Scotland Shockers

It’s been almost a month since I last had a burrito. One week before coming to Scotland I had to get my wisdom teeth out, so eating Spanish food was way out of the question for me. It seems as if it’s going to stay that way for another two weeks. There is one promising restaurant, but I have a feeling a place called “Burrito and Shake” is not going to be the same as Freebirds or Chipotle. Beyond my craving for a burrito, I have experienced various other “culture shocks” while in Scotland.

When I first arrived at my Air BnB at the beginning of the month my initial thought was you’ve got to be kidding me. Scotland was not designed for tall people. I am about six feet tall and I have to duck my head the majority of times I go to historical sites. There is also a problem with how low the sinks are in proportion to me. My other biggest culture shock has been going into the grocery store only to find out they don’t keep eggs in the fridge. I don’t trust like that. However, I did end up braving the fridge-less eggs and so far I have not gotten sick.

Other things to look out for when coming to Scotland is to know which way to look when crossing the street and definitely know how to recycle. As for looking the right way, traffic here goes the opposite way than in the United States. I still get a mini heart attack when I see a car moving and there isn’t anyone sitting on the left hand side. It also feels very uncomfortable when the bus turns right and has to go through traffic like a left turn in the United States. As for the recycling, I discovered a small gray tub with a lid in my kitchen when I got to my flat at the University. Luckily, my roommate knew exactly what it was for. Instead of throwing away food, Scotland composts it. Does it smell awful? Yes. Is it worth it? Environmentalists say yes, but I don’t think this one habit that will follow me back to the United States.


Samantha Bradfield is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Psychology and Art History.  Samantha is spending the summer abroad with the UMKC Honors Summer Program in Scotland.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Romanticizing Atmosphere

It’s been seven days and two instances of falling irrevocably in love with Scotland since I first arrived.

It’s the kind of love you didn’t know you had room for. The first time my heart brimmed with a yearning so strong it seemed to buckle under the magnitude was against the backdrop of a church and the bagpipes.

Thick rain clouds had scattered while the evening set in, opening the sky to the call of the bagpipes. The church bells chimed, almost answering the lament. Surrounded by towering masonry and the echoes of the past, I could not help but swell with the atmosphere around me.

 

I felt the tug of false nostalgia again when stepping into the Jedburgh Abbey. Founded in the 12th century, the Augustinian abbey captured my heart again. It was the same bone crushing feeling as looking up into space: there is more than just me.

 

Standing in the middle of the towering abbey I couldn’t help but imagine the people that had passed through these walls. I couldn’t help but imagine what this abbey had witnessed. There was an underlying sense of energy to the ruins, something begging to be remembered. Yet again I felt myself sink deeper in love with Scotland.

My affinity for ancient artifacts has always caused me a great deal of emotion. I’m easily swooned by the Nelson-Atkins, and I’m in a very serious committed relationship with every Egyptian gallery I’ve stepped into.

There is just something unmistakably magical about objects surviving thousands of years. Being with the object in its own context is beyond a powerful interaction for me. I look forward to encountering more overwhelming sites in the next few weeks!

 

 

 

 

 

 


Samantha Bradfield is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Psychology and Art History. Samantha is spending the summer abroad with the UMKC Honors Summer Program in Scotland.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

 

Balancing “Vacation” and Homework

Waking up to go on a hike at nine in the morning isn’t as bad as it seems. It’s an hour later with an amazing view that you realize the ache in your legs was worth the climb. I felt like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music once I reached the top of the hills. The hike down was full of more dread than climbing up the rocks in the first place. Going back down meant it was time for me to shut myself in my flat until I finished my homework – something that was exactly as bad as it seemed.

It’s only been a week, but trying to balance schoolwork and the adventure of lifetime is very challenging. Admittedly, I am a horrible procrastinator. During the semester I can get away with putting assignments off until the day before they’re due, but I know this tactic will not work during my study abroad. With two ten page papers and two speeches to give, I am left feeling a bit overwhelmed.

 

 

I am torn between exploring my new surroundings and doing schoolwork, but I shouldn’t treat this experience as a vacation. It is hard for me to stay motivated when I know just outside my door there are all kinds of new experiences to be had. I’m finding that this challenge is causing me to rise to the occasion and use time-management to help balance my responsibilities. Hopefully, I will be able to settle into a routine and get the ball rolling soon.


Samantha Bradfield is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Psychology and Art History. Samantha is spending the summer abroad with the UMKC Honors Summer Program in Scotland.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Scotland, Fear Not!

NEVER LET THE FEAR OF STRIKING OUT
KEEP YOU FROM PLAYING THE GAME

For me, the act of traveling is sweaty hands and nervous jitters. It’s three in the morning Google searches about the statistics of plane crashes. It’s a lot of praying and 11:11 wishes about a safe trip. The process of getting from point A to point B is the monster hiding under my bed. Yet, point B demands my attention. It heckles me with such ferocity I have no other choice but to push through – at the very least to prove that I can.

It’s less than 24 hours until my flight to Scotland. This past week has been full of nonstop preparation, but it will all be worth it. I have successfully packed, alerted my bank, and made copies of my itinerary for my parents. My fingers are crossed that I am not forgetting anything too important.

I’ve spent the last week at my parents’ house in Joplin and I already know I will be homesick. My cat has been sleeping on top of my suitcase, and I think he wants to go with me. I will also miss having easy access to communication with my parents. On the other hand, I’m looking forward to coming back and telling my parents about my experiences.

Here’s to the next month of adventures!


Samantha is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Psychology and Art History.  She is spending the summer abroad with the UMKC Honors Summer Program in Scotland.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.