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Take the Plunge

Dear Readers,

You’ve followed several along their journeys. You’ve seen us try new things and you’ve seen us fail. You’ve seen us be scared to take a leap but you’ve seen us soar after the initial plunge. You’ve experienced heartbreaks and successes, homesickness and love of a new country, seasickness and adventuring. But what does this mean for you? It means you need to try it for yourself.

I get it: you don’t know what a study abroad experience will hold for you, and honestly, I can’t tell you what it will be like. That’s the thing: I’ve tried to convey how great my time has been, along with my fellow classmates. We’ve all used words and photographs to tell you that our time has been more than just traveling, but self-learning. You’ve just had to take our word for it.

So what’s my advice? Do it for yourself. There’s nothing so sweet as inhaling the salt water from the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse or driving by a Highland Cow only to ask the bus driver to pull over for a photo op. There’s nothing as mesmerising as being swayed by a lone bagpipe player on a crowded street in Edinburgh or staring in awe at the castle from a distance. There’s nothing as familiar as meeting family at the London Gatwick Airport and receiving a package in the mail upon your return home with Christmas ornaments, which serve as a reminder of the red Telephone boxes and Victorian mailboxes. There’s nothing as connecting as attending a church with your cousin, who decided to meet you in Edinburgh and take a long weekend with you to the Scottish Borders, only to be invited to lunch by a sweet couple. There is nothing like studying abroad. Take the chance and do it. It’s something you won’t regret.


Emily McIntyre is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Marketing and Entrepreneurship with a Spanish minor. Emily is involved with several student organizations, including UMKC Enactus, which uses entrepreneurship to solve needs in the community. She’s looking forward to studying abroad this summer with the UMKC Honors Program in Scotland, where she plans to explore more of her family heritage and country of origin.

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.

A Weekend Getaway

Sometimes, it’s nice to take a vacation from your vacation. I decided to take a long weekend trip to the Scottish boarder before the UMKC Honors Abroad group headed for the highlands the following Monday. My cousin had flown into Edinburgh on Tuesday and we took a train and then bus to Kelso on Friday, after a delicious breakfast at Elephants and Bagels.

Gluten-free fish and chips at the Waggon Inn

We arrived in Kelso around 2 and stopped for Cock-a-leekie soup and floral teas that budded from green tea leaves at Cream Chimneys. We wandered around town and then checked into our B&B, where we settled down, then went out for dinner at Waggon Inn. We both ate fish and chips, then turned in for an early night in our rooms, where we relaxed for the evening.

Watching the Pipe Band before the Ride Out

On Saturday morning we saw the ride out in Kelso, which was a tradition as a part of Kelso’s Civic Week. There was a pipe band followed by tons of horses that rode out to a local town and back, which was symbolic of cattle ranchers riding out to make sure that no thieves were stealing cattle.

Would you care for a spot of tea with that?

We returned to our B&B to have breakfast and then walked to Floors Castle. It was drizzling, but a good time. The Castle was beautiful and our lunch at the tea room was delicious. Emma and I even had the chance to play on an 1890 Steinway, one of the last to be made in Hamburg. We returned to see the town parade in the evening and then had a late dinner, where I was once again impressed by the quality of seafood.

Sunday saw us again with breakfast at the B&B. We then walked along the River Tweed to see the confluence of the Rivers Tweed and Teviot.

Having fun at Floors Castle

After finding the spot where the two rivers met, we walked to a small Evangelical church where we had coffee with part of the congregation before meeting. A lovely couple invited Emma and me to lunch and we gladly joined them. Janet and Ken were so sweet to us and we had a great time. Ken is partially paralyzed but has a wonderful outlook on life. He enjoys painting and Janet quilts. After lunch, Janet dropped us off at our B&B so we could pick up our bags. Emma and I walked to our bus stop to catch a bus to Berwick. Unfortunately, the bus we got on didn’t go to Berwick. The bus to Berwick would not be running for another 2 hours, which put us in Berwick 3 hours after our train departed! Fortunately for us, we were able to board that same bus (not running to Berwick) and make a connection at St. Boswell’s to Edinburgh. We didn’t use our train tickets, but we arrived in Edinburgh around the same time that we would have if we had taken our original route.

All in all, it was a nice, fun, relaxing weekend with a few surprises built in!


Emily McIntyre is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Marketing and Entrepreneurship with a Spanish minor. Emily is involved with several student organizations, including UMKC Enactus, which uses entrepreneurship to solve needs in the community. She’s looking forward to studying abroad this summer with the UMKC Honors Program in Scotland, where she plans to explore more of her family heritage and country of origin.

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.

Dancing Culture

Lots of updates to post in the near-distant future, but for now I’ll share the opportunity I had to see some Scottish Highland and Country dances. My Study Abroad group was required to visit several museums as part of our curriculum, and on Monday we went to our final one: the National Gallery of Scotland.

Country Dances in the Grassmarket

We stumbled upon some Croatian dancers right outside of the museum. Much to our surprise, there had been Scottish dancing performed right before and we narrowly missed it! A few girls and I decided that we would catch the dancers the next day at 2 p.m. in the Grassmarket.

After a workout at the gym (and a shower after that), Erika, Nicole and I headed towards the Grassmarket, a place where regular food dealings used to be held, similar to a modern-day farmer’s market. It is a more authentic area of the town. While many tourists like to visit the area, there are not very many crowds. It is full of pubs with a vibrant and family-friendly atmosphere.

Highland Dances with Edinburgh Castle in the backgroun

We arrived about 10 minutes early and got a great view of the dancers. Many of the dances were country dances, not Highland dances. (Which means that I didn’t know most of them!) I did get to see them perform the Lilt, which is a dance that was performed by Highland women. I remembered performing the dance but I (sadly) didn’t know all of the moves to it.

Pumpkin Brown, the coffee shop I visited

I also had the opportunity to visit this little coffee shop! (And by opportunity I mean I wanted coffee and found the nearest shop to caffeinate me.) I started chatting with the manager and ended up interviewing her for an assignment for class. She was very charming and was more than happy to answer all of my questions. She didn’t even make me pay for the

A gluten-free chocolate raspberry bar and dairy-free hazelnut milk latte

]iced americano that I ordered! (I love the Scottish. They are very friendly, just like those people in my traditional Midwest encounters.) The shop was (wait for it) gluten free, vegan, dairy free, no refined sugar, 100% organic! I returned for a latte with hazelnut milk and a gluten free chocolate raspberry bar a different day. (Delicious!) It’s been very easy to eat gluten free here, which has been one less thing to worry about.


Emily McIntyre is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Marketing and Entrepreneurship with a Spanish minor. Emily is involved with several student organizations, including UMKC Enactus, which uses entrepreneurship to solve needs in the community. She’s looking forward to studying abroad this summer with the UMKC Honors Program in Scotland, where she plans to explore more of her family heritage and country of origin.

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.

Top Ten Things Scotland Does that America Should Start Doing

Being a country for two and a half weeks makes you realize some of the things that your home country is missing. Aside from the beautiful rolling hills and castles with hundreds of years of history, here are ten things feasible that America should start doing that Scotland already does.

  1. Traffic lights should change to yellow right before they’re green. In the US, they only change to warn you the light is turning red, but here they change to let you know that the light is about to turn green again.
  2. Bring back the dollar coin. Great Britain uses the pound coin and it’s been great. I never thought I’d say that it’s easier to use this than the a bill, but it really is.
  3. Get rid of tipping. The price isn’t any different from the US and we only have to tip 10%. Yes, the service is a little different, but there aren’t any people hovering over you, so that’s a plus!
  4. Fix the public transportation system. It’s great to be able to hop on the bus to head to another city or grab a train. They also have a great tram system, similar to our KC streetcar, but much more developed.
  5. More student discounts! Maybe it’s because the University of Edinburgh is spread out all over the city, but tons of restaurants and even department stores give a 10-20% discount for student purchases!
  6. Stop being coffee snobs. Coffee over here is centered around the espresso maker, not drip coffee. Less room for error here, plus you don’t have to worry about your coffee having “floral hints” or “brown sugar notes” if you’re not interested.
  7. Encourage walking. I have loved walking everywhere, even though the weather doesn’t always cooperate. People are in much better shape here too, probably because it takes a good 10-15 minutes to get to the buzz of the city.
  8. Include tax in the price. Do you know how easy it is not to have to calculate the price of tax into your purchase? Shopping is a lot easier when there’s not as much math involved.
  9. Promote self-checkouts at neighborhood markets. Yes, they exist at Wal-Mart, but they are extremely inconvenient to use. The UK has got the system down.
  10. Have more live music. Do you know what it’s like to have bagpipes almost constantly playing? It’s like we have our own personal Scottish soundtrack everywhere we go. (Okay, that last one really isn’t feasible, but it’s still cool.)

Maybe we should implement these changes, maybe we shouldn’t. It’s still an interesting study to see the cultural differences between the two countries-both positive and negative.


Emily McIntyre is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Marketing and Entrepreneurship with a Spanish minor. Emily is involved with several student organizations, including UMKC Enactus, which uses entrepreneurship to solve needs in the community. She’s looking forward to studying abroad this summer with the UMKC Honors Program in Scotland, where she plans to explore more of her family heritage and country of origin.

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.

Doogie’s Scotland

“If everyone is in Jedburgh is just parking where they like, I think we’ll do the same.” If you can read that sentence in a Scottish accent and picture a middle-aged man that’s driven tour buses for 18 years, you’ve pictured Doogie, the guide from Haggis Tours that took us to Abbotsford, Sir Walter Scott’s home, Kelso Abbey, and Jedburgh Abbey. He was quirky in his own way, and talked almost non-stop for our hour’s long journey. He was full of useful information (and some that was not as useful too). He provided fun stories, unique insights, and an all around good time for our group, which is a good thing, because we’ll be taking Haggis Tours for all of our adventures.

Excited to explore Abbotsford, Sir Walter Scott’s home!

First, we stopped by Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott, who some claim has invented what we now know as Scotland, using his picturesque novels. We saw his beautiful home, designed to look like a castle, with its expansive gardens and well-planned library. I thought it looked like the Beast’s library that he gifts to Belle. Scott was quite the antiquarian (collector), so there were odds and ends all throughout his home. I felt that I would enjoy living there, but I would have to redecorate.

Taking time to spell the roses at Abbotsford Garden.

It was back on the bus with Doogie. He told us that he used to play the fiddle, and mentioned that violins and fiddles are different. “You know, people who play the violin are posh. People who play the fiddle are more rough. The violin players went to private school and know Latin. They’ve been playing since the age of four, but fiddle players just wake up one day and decide to play the fiddle.” (He also knew the technical differences, in case this explanation isn’t good enough.)

Admiring Jedburgh Abbey

There was a festival going on in Jedburgh during the time we were there, but once we entered the abbey, it got a lot quieter. The architecture was beautiful, and had both Gothic and Romanesque parts. It was built in sections, as not all could be done at once, due to both structural issues and cost. The pictures don’t do it justice. Doogie provided great insight into our trip, which could have easily just been a drive through the lowlands, but instead was educational and entertaining. Remember to learn from the locals; you’ll not only have fun, but sometimes you learn more than you can from any castle or museum!

 

 

 

 


Emily McIntyre is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Marketing and Entrepreneurship with a Spanish minor. Emily is involved with several student organizations, including UMKC Enactus, which uses entrepreneurship to solve needs in the community. She’s looking forward to studying abroad this summer with the UMKC Honors Program in Scotland, where she plans to explore more of her family heritage and country of origin.

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.

Technical Trouble in Paradise

I’m 290 pounds lighter, and not in the extreme weight loss kind of way. Saturday afternoon saw my first major problem in the UK, and it was something that I never imagined I would have to deal with while abroad.

Arthur’s Seat, early on Saturday

Most of the group elected to do a small hike up to Arthur’s Seat earlier that morning, and since I had some time after lunch, I decided to upload photos to Facebook from the past three days of my trip, as an effort not to wait until the last minute to share my adventures. I finished posting my photos, packed up my laptop and walked downstairs to the common area. Immediately upon opening my laptop, an error message flashed in white text on a black screen, in that all too scary “error” font that no one wants to see on their computer. I ran some diagnostics tests and even tried to call Dell’s technical support, but the worker just ran me through the same set of diagnostic tests.

Delicious mussels for lunch on Sunday, helping me relax

I found a computer shop that was close and seemed competent enough and reluctantly told my case to the worker. We discussed my options, and I decided on the faster and better solid-state drive. I liked the idea of a faster computer, but not the extra 130 pounds I would be paying. I went ahead and took the hit. I was told my computer would be ready early Monday afternoon. “Monday.” I said, as a statement/question, knowing that I was planning to spend all weekend working on my speech outline (due Tuesday). I was met with a nod, which didn’t please me. Thankfully, I start all of my school assignments on Google Drive (here’s your plug for starting to use the cloud for your documents too!), so I could still access my files from my phone. It was just… tedious, to say the least. However, I managed to get through the weekend with minimal difficulty.

With Nicole, another girl studying from UMKC

Today, I picked up my laptop and paid my 290 pounds (about $364 USD), cringing a little bit as I inserted my card. I had to set up my computer and set-up everything again, but it is kind of nice having a clean computer again. By logging in to my Microsoft and Google accounts, I saved myself a considerable amount of time. All of my bookmarks from chrome were saved and once I logged into Microsoft, my password and personal data came up easily. Microsoft Office was easy to install, as I get it free from the university (finally, tuition costs paying off!).

Although it was a hiccup, and not a cheap one, I’m thankful that I was able to deal with the situation almost entirely by myself. It was a lesson in flexibility and perseverance. My dad was great through the whole thing, asking if I needed him to wire me money or do anything from the States, but I ended up having enough in savings to cover the expenses, due to my dad’s strong suggestion of saving enough money for emergencies. I’m thankful for good parents, a fairly reliable job that provides for my needs and wants, and for User 2 Computers, who fixed my Dell laptop gifted to me by my wonderful grandparents.


Emily McIntyre is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Marketing and Entrepreneurship with a Spanish minor. Emily is involved with several student organizations, including UMKC Enactus, which uses entrepreneurship to solve needs in the community. She’s looking forward to studying abroad this summer with the UMKC Honors Program in Scotland, where she plans to explore more of her family heritage and country of origin.

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.

Do we really speak the same language?

Four days in the UK have taught me a lot: always add $0.30 per pound spent to convert pounds to dollars, look right-left-right before crossing the street, and don’t worry about adding tax to purchases: it’s already included. I have also just begun to learn that although I might speak the same language as those in England, we don’t speak the same language. I thought I knew enough differences between the two languages, but I found myself asking my cousins for clarification when they said words, sometimes words that were even new to my vocabulary!

It wasn’t necessarily that we were saying different things, it’s just that words in American English have come to mean different things than they do for British English. As each language has evolved independently from the other, we have grown to have more and more differences. Just as English has changed from the time that Shakespeare lived, so has both American and British English. I found that most people in the UK have traveled to the US and therefore know the American words for things, whereas I usually had to ask for the American counterpart to British words (usually just for clarification). Below are a few of the words that I have run into so far. It will be interesting to see what I continue to hear in Scotland, as there are some words used that are not even English!

  • “Brollie”: a short-hand word for umbrella
  • “Car park”: parking lot
  • “Semi-detached”: a group of two houses together, what I refer to as a duplex
  • “Jumper”: sweater
  • “Laurie/Van”: words for small and large cars (no word for truck exists)
  • “Diary”: a calendar or planner used for dates, either paper or digital
  • “University”: the same word as in the US, however “college” is not used, also “school” refers to children under the age of 18
  • “Dummy”: pacifier
  • “Nappie”: diaper
  • “Estate Agent”: relator or real estate agent, responsible for both selling and renting homes
  • “First floor”: literally starts at the FIRST floor (there is no “ground” floor)
  • “Holiday”: vacation

And then of course, there are the ones that everyone knows, such as biscuit and queue!


Emily McIntyre is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Marketing and Entrepreneurship with a Spanish minor. Emily is involved with several student organizations, including UMKC Enactus, which uses entrepreneurship to solve needs in the community. She’s looking forward to studying abroad this summer with the UMKC Honors Program in Scotland, where she plans to explore more of her family heritage and country of origin.

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.

Lessons from the Airport

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in the parlor of my cousin’s house in Horsham, England, which is 20 minutes outside  of the center of London. It’s day one of my trip abroad. I’m sipping some tea with a little bit of milk while my cousins look at the map of London and help me plan our trip for tomorrow by train. A dinner of meat and 2 vegetables is cooking on the oven and stove. I’ve been up for 26 hours straight, and I’m having a blast!

Shops on Swan Drive in Horsham

But it hasn’t all been fun and games. I’ve already made some mistakes and learned some valuable lessons. Lessons that those of you who want to study abroad should learn.

  1. Just because someone is an “adult” doesn’t mean they will be kind. I learned this after the entire flight departing MCI had to valet check and retrieve bags in Chicago. What. A. Nightmare.
  2. Yes, you’re an adult. Yes, you can do this by yourself. No, you don’t have to. Unfortunately, I also learned this by experience. After looking for my connecting flight to Madrid from Chicago (through a partner airline) in 3 different places, I broke down and asked for help. That was where I got my answers.
  3. The aircraft might board late. Even an hour late. You’ll still make it on time. They’ve built in room for delays on the arrival times!
  4. If you’re studying a foreign language, practice as much as you can! I did this on my flight to Madrid and the connecting flight from Madrid to London. Even though my study abroad program is in Scotland, I stepped out of my comfort zone to practice Spanish and was not disappointed. I even had a little fun speaking only Spanish
    History of Horsh

    for 10 hours!

  5. Gates will change. Your boarding pass won’t say it. You’ll wait in line for the new gate, then have to wait in a line for customer service to fix your boarding pass by WRITING the new gate, then wait in line again. You’ll run to your gate and barely make it there on time, being the 2nd-to-last passenger to be checked in. And you’ll do all of this in one hour and STILL make it on time.
  6. Customs takes a LONG time to get through. Everyone is in the same boat as you. Be happy, be patient, and you’ll get through it.
  7. Having fun depends on you. Yes, I had hiccups throughout my journey, but so will you. There’s never a better time to learn about yourself and other people than when you travel. Be open and good experiences will find you.

Safe travels, all!

 


Emily McIntyre is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Marketing and Entrepreneurship with a Spanish minor. Emily is involved with several student organizations, including UMKC Enactus, which uses entrepreneurship to solve needs in the community. She’s looking forward to studying abroad this summer with the UMKC Honors Program in Scotland, where she plans to explore more of her family heritage and country of origin.

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.