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The End of a Journey

My best friend and I on the plane, right before we left for the United States.

Getting on the plane yesterday morning was a surreal experience. I was ready to leave but at the same time, I wasn’t. I had spent an entire month studying abroad in Scotland, exploring, learning, and having the time of my life. I didn’t want it to end, but I also wanted to go home and see my family. I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world and I am so glad I got this opportunity.

Taking my Anchor and Discourse 300 class abroad in Scotland was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I got to complete six credit hours while doing so in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. My classes were focused on Scottish history and literature and so I was able to experience everything that was talked about in the classroom. I felt like I learned more when I was lectured in class and then

The Brig o’ Doon!

immediately following I would go visit a museum or a place that directly related to that topic. For example, when visiting Robert Burns’ house, I felt like I got a sense of Burns and his work. In class, we talked about one of his poems, Tam o’ Shanter, which ended with Tam riding over the Brig o’ Doon. The next day, my class took a trip to Burns’ house and museum and I got to see the Brig o’ Doon (it’s a bridge) firsthand. I could imagine Tam riding over the bridge on his steady horse, Maggie, narrowly escaping death as the witches chased Tam. Tam made it over the bridge just in time, but the witches manage to take Maggie’s tail clear off her rump. Also, Burns is the national poet of Scotland and by going to his museum, I could see how important he is to the people of Scotland. The sense of admiration from Scotland was lost on me as an outsider, but once at Burns’ museums, I could feel their sense of pride, something I wouldn’t have gotten had I taken this class back home.

In addition, I successfully navigated my way around Scotland with the help of friends and the Edinburgh Castle. I did manage to get lost a few times, but I was always with a friend so we were able to find our way back. But getting lost wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. Instead, it became an adventure and I got to see a different part of town than what I normally saw every day. I used an old fashion map to figure out where I was and where I needed to be. I read street signs (which were not always clearly visible) to navigate my way around and didn’t use google maps once! Although that wasn’t really a decision on my part, more like the lack of internet access I had. It was actually fun getting lost and then trying to figure out how to get back. It added to the experience.

I had to take a picture with a Highland Cow because they’re pretty cute. But he was more interested in eating grass and wouldn’t pose for the picture.

This trip was also filled with a lot of firsts.  I can’t nearly name them all, but I’ll try to name a few. I flew overseas for the first time and traveled to Europe. I saw a Highland cow which is a cow that can only be found in the Highlands, which is the Northern part of Scotland. I took a ferry across the ocean that carried our bus! At one point, I was on a bus while on a ferry. I stayed in hostels with six girls to a room. I climbed up a mountain that once used to be a volcano. I saw multiple Abbeys that were in ruins yet were still so beautiful. It was my first time ever seeing a castle and getting to go inside one. And lastly, I took a train underwater when I visited Paris, France for a few days.

I was currently sitting on the bus while also on the ferry. I’m still shocked we didn’t sink.
On top of the world! Just kidding, more like a mountain that was once a live volcano.

From this trip, I learned how to travel outside my comfort zone and do the things that scared me. For one of my class assignments, I had to interview Scottish citizens on the streets of Edinburgh. I am not an outgoing person, so this assignment terrified me. However, the people in Scotland are some of the nicest people I have ever met in my life. They were friendly and inviting when I asked them my questions and they also asked me questions in return about the U.S. There were two people that I talked to for an hour and a half! We talked back and forth like we didn’t just meet each other a few minutes ago. At points in the conversation, we would sometimes stop and say “what is it that you call it?” For instance, I was talking about an elevator and then stopped and said: “er, I guess you guys call it a lift here.” We both found it humorous and did this multiple times. I also found a flapjack in Scotland is a granola bar and food to go is called take away. It was interesting to learn that we had different names for the same thing. At the end of our conversation, they expressed how they were glad I had stopped and talked to them as they really enjoyed our conversation. I did too. It is one of my fondest memories from my time abroad. I took a step outside my comfort zone and got an experience I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

There isn’t nearly enough room on this page or time in the day to tell you about everything I experienced in my time abroad. However, I will conclude with this: if you ever have the opportunity to study abroad, take it. You will learn more than you think and get to experience a different way of life that is similar yet very different from your own. Don’t let money, nerves, or fear keep you from following your dreams. You can overcome these obstacles and on the other side is a world full of wonder and the best experience of your life.

Thank you for following my journey with me through Scotland and I hope you get the opportunity to travel abroad one day!

Sincerely,

Nicole (official world traveler)


Nicole Wilhelm is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Nursing. Nicole is spending the month of July in many different cities in Scotland with the UMKC Honors College Program in Scotland. Nicole is involved in UMKC’s Campus Ambassadors, Swim and Dive Club, BHS Society, and Student Nursing Association.

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 Castle (or 4) Fit for a Princess

I mentioned in my first blog post how I was excited to see all the castles in Scotland and I have not been disappointed. I have seen castles of all ranges from ones in ruins to ones their full glory. Each time I see a castle I get very excited and wish I could be a princess who lived in these castles. All of them were placed a top a hill with a beautiful, scenic background. They stood with elegance and grace that cannot be replicated (although I will try to with my pictures).

I was on the streets of Edinburgh looking up at the Edinburgh Castle when I took this picture.

The first castle I saw was the Edinburgh Castle. It is massive and sits high above everything else in Edinburgh. So high, that if you get lost all you have to do is find the castle, start walking in that direction and you will be back in familiar territory. This rings true as I did manage to get lost (numerous times) and was able to find my way back by walking towards the massive castle. When I found out you could actually go in the castle, I was ecstatic.  It was as breathtaking from the outside as it was from the inside. It was all made of stone and had perfectly manicured lawns inside the castle. Inside the castle were various other buildings you could go into that displayed historic pieces from the castle. The best part was I got to see the Crown Jewels! I wish they would have let me wear the crown…

The view from the top of Edinburgh Castle.
This building was inside the Edinburgh Castle!

 

All that is left of the Dunrue Castle. It sits on top of a hill. It is surrounded on three sides by land and the other, the ocean.

Another castle I went to was the Dunure Castle in Dunrue, Scotland. This castle was in ruins but what was left of it was preserved. This meant I got to go inside and climb around on the rocks. I even got to look out what was once a window and see the ocean spread out before me. I also got to climb up the stairs to the upper level and see the view from here. I can only imagine how grand this castle once looked. The environment around the ocean was calm and quiet. Nothing else was around except the castle and the ocean. I wish I could have stayed here all day. This was one of my favorite castles because I got to freely explore without worrying about any fragile artifacts that could possibly break. There were no guidelines or restrictions on where I could go so I went everywhere!  It was just me and my classmates having the time of our lives exploring this exquisite castle.

I was standing on a rock near the shore line when I took this picture. The castle is behind me and the ocean spread out before me. You could smell the salt in the air from the ocean.
This is the view from the window I found.
I had to sit in front of the window because it was just that cool.

During my last week in Scotland, the group took a bus tour up to the Isle of Harris and then back down towards Glasgow. Along the way, we also stopped at Eilean Donan Castle in Wester Ross, Scotland. It was a 15 minute stop to go to the bathroom and take pictures and then we would be back on the road. This had to be one of my favorite castles even though I wasn’t there for long. I really wish I had a tiara and a pretty dress to take my pictures in front of the castle (I know, I’m that girl). There was a long bridge that leads up to the castle and is the only entrance into it. This is because the castle was built on a peninsula so the other three sides were surrounded by water. Behind the castle was various mountains with the clouds hovering over them. It was a beautiful sight to see. I wish we had had more time here so I could see what the inside of the castle looked like. The bus driver/tour guide Rich told a story about the castle. I don’t remember all the names and dates but essentially the castle was burned down and many years down the road a family heir wanted to rebuild the castle. He

This is one of my favorite pictures I took on my trip. I love how you can see the castle, the mountains in the background, the bridge leading to the castle, the water surrounding it and the land.

had never seen what the castle used to look like or had any blue prints so he made it based on an image he had in his head. Later, a hidden room was found in the Edinburgh Castle that held the blue prints for a majority of the castles in Scotland, including the Eilean Donan Castle. It turns out that the rebuilt castle was a 95% accurate match to the original! Who would have guessed!?

 

Of course, I had to take a picture with the castle. Now if only I had a tiara…
I took this picture of Stilring from the bus as we were driving up to it.

The last castle I saw was on my last day in Scotland. It was the Stirling Castle in Stirling, Scotland. I was

This walkway was inside of the Stirling Castle and looked over the gardens.

there for about two hours and ran around in pure joy. Some parts of the castle were a museum with artifacts displayed while other parts were empty rooms that you could crawl around in. I liked how I could walk around and touch the walls of the castle and be in rooms you aren’t normally let into. It felt like there was some mystery to the room by it being empty. I could only imagine what it once looked like, who had been in these rooms, and what had occurred here. I was enthralled and felt like a little kid in a candy store. I enjoyed my time running around the castle and seeing everything that was there.

 

This was inside some of the rooms I got to crawl around in. All the rooms were made of stone and had small windows cut out of them to let in light.
I was so excited to be in a castle! It had been a few weeks since I last visited one.
This was inside the castle in the gardens.
An outfit a Queen and King used to wear. There are many layers to these outfits that can’t be seen from the outside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you find a castle (or four) along your journeys fit enough for a princess (or prince).

-Nicole Wilhelm


Nicole Wilhelm is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Nursing. Nicole is spending the month of July in many different cities in Scotland with the UMKC Honors College Program in Scotland. Nicole is involved in UMKC’s Campus Ambassadors, Swim and Dive Club, BHS Society, and Student Nursing Association.

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.

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee!

One of my favorite things to do while I have been in Edinburgh, Scotland is going to all the different coffee shops. I love coffee and there are numerous different coffee shops all over. Of course, there are some Starbucks, but even more unique, privately owned little shops. I have made it my mission to go to as many of these as possible and avoid Starbucks at all costs.

One thing I have noticed about coffee in Scotland is there isn’t much fufu coffee offered. It is primarily americanos, lattes, and cappuccinos. Adding flavors or making a triple white chocolate mocha latte with extra foam is not a thing. Each coffee shop has been different from the next, none being remotely the same. And the coffee (I always get a cappuccino) has been some of the best cappuccinos I have ever had in my life. I know that sounds very exaggerated, but I’m not even kidding. The foam on the cappuccinos is sweeter and they either add chocolate flakes on top or draw the pretty leaf in the foam. I’m still amazed how they do that and I get excited each time I see it.

I got a heart drawn in my cappuccino! I’m in love.
My eggs on toast at Press Coffee!

My favorite in all of Scotland is this little coffee shop on the corner named Press Coffee.  I pass this shop everyday on my way to class. The outside is a bright, royal blue that made me notice the small shop in the first place. The inside was painted a sunny, shining yellow with small circular coffee tables and little wooden chairs. Here I got my cappuccino with the leaf drawn on top and eggs on toast. Not only was it the best coffee I’ve ever had, but also the best eggs. Everything in Scotland has been so fresh and yummy. You can definitely tell the difference. The bread was thick slices of whole grain bread that had been homemade. I sat here for about an hour with my friend, both of us going on and on about how much we loved this place. It was a very cute, homey little shop that made me so happy. I left with a full tummy and happy mood. We went back a second time before we left and I got the same thing, except this time my cappuccino had a heart drawn in it!

 

There’s a leaf in my coffee!
This is me sipping on my heart shaped cappuccino. It was so good, I had to get a larger cup this time around.
This is the inside of Press Coffee. There are more tables on either side of the picture that you can’t see.
This is my cappuccino from Natural Food Kafe. You can see the chocolate flakes they add to the top. Almost looks like a toasted marshmallow.

Another place I went to was called Natural Foods Kafe. I went here with my fellow classmates to interview the cafe owner for one of my class projects. The owner was an older, hilarious guy. He had a sign posted outside his cafe that read “Eat here or we will both starve. -The Owner.” He was humorous and his cafe was warm and cozy, it felt almost like home. The cappuccino there was delicious just like every other place. The foam on top was sweeter than the foam on the top back home in the States.

Coffee cup from The Frigate in Ullapool. I was walking on the street right outside the cafe when I took this picture.

 

The third place I went to was a place named The Frigate, Ullapool. I got this coffee while waiting for the ferry in Ullapool to take us to the Isle of Lewis. The coffee shop was in a cute little town and inside was just as decadent. There were two walls lined with delicious looking pastries.  You could pick up as many as you want, put in a bag, and take it to the register to pay. Of course, here I got a cappuccino again (I really need to start branching out and trying something new). This coffee was yummy, even more so because it was very windy and cold on the coast. In America, getting a coffee to take home is called “to go” but in the UK it is called “take away.” It has been an adjustment to remember to say “take away” or else they look at you like “what are you talking about.”

My time in Scotland has been fun trying out all the cute little coffee shops scattered around. May your travels be safe and full of good coffee!

-Nicole Wilhelm


Nicole Wilhelm is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Nursing. Nicole is spending the month of July in many different cities in Scotland with the UMKC Honors College Program in Scotland. Nicole is involved in UMKC’s Campus Ambassadors, Swim and Dive Club, BHS Society, and Student Nursing Association.

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.

Eat Up

This was one of the streets in Newport. On the left is one of the Scottish museums and on the right (which you can’t see) is a bunch of shops. The streets are all made of cobblestone, which you will find throughout all of Edinburgh.

I set aside the homework for the day and went out to go shopping with some friends in my study abroad group. After a few hours we all had worked up an appetite from all the money we had spent and the miles of walking probably had something to do with it too.

We found ourselves in a part of Scotland called Newtown, which had more expensive shops and glamorously dressed people. We stopped at this vegetarian place called Hendersons. It was a cafe, salad bar, and restaurant all wrapped into one. We decided to do some fine dining that night and sat in the restaurant portion of the building. This was the first sit down restaurant any of us had been to while in Scotland.

The restaurant had a kitschy, homey feeling about it. It was dimly lighted with a flame candle in the center of each table. There were also fresh daisies in a vase along with a silver bucket full of silverware. On the far edge of the table was a little wooden square that held the drink and dessert menu. The tables and chairs were wooden, some painted a soft, baby blue color and others left with its natural pine, wood color. On the wall across from where I was sitting, was a painting of people out on the farm. Overall, the restaurant had a warm, cozy feeling to it that allowed me to relax and forget about time.

Once my eyes adjusted to the dimmer lighting, I looked at the menu. It was short and sweet. I was skeptical at first of going to a vegetarian restaurant as I tend to associate vegetarians with eating weird vegetables. And from looking at the menu there were a lot of things I couldn’t pronounce or even knew what they were. One of the items on the menu was Hasselback Aubergines. We all looked at each other like, “what’s an aubergine?” We googled it and it turns out it’s just eggplant.

This was the entire food menu at Hendersons. There weren’t many options to choose from.

One of my friends was daring and ordered the Hasselback Aubergines and the waitress asked us if we knew what it was. We told her “eggplant! We googled it.” She laughed and thought it was funny and explained that a lot of people come in asking what it is.

I decided on the Lasagna of the Day (which was vegetable lasagne) with potato wedges and green salad. I was starving and it was the only item on the menu I could fully pronounce and sounded safe, so I went for it.

This was my vegetable lasagna, salad, and potato wedges. So far I have found that Scotland’s salads don’t have dressing on them nor offer a dressing.

When the food arrived my mouth was watering. My plate was full of delicious looking food. A fresh, crisp salad on one side. Two giant potato wedges on the other. And a nice, big rectangular piece of lasagne. I dove in and took a big bite of my vegetable lasagne and boy was it good. I couldn’t tell you exactly what was in it since I couldn’t see much in the dim lighting, nor did I want to look close enough because if I saw a weird looking vegetable I would freak myself out.  So I blissfully and blindly ate my enormous plate of delicious food until I couldn’t eat anymore.

When everyone’s plate was clear the waitress came back and asked us all if we would like dessert. We all eagerly nodded our heads yes. The dessert in Scotland, I’m finding, is just too good to pass up. I got their blackberry pie and it was yummy. It was just the right amount of sweetness and the crust was soft, just how I like it.

This pie was deliciously sweet! The strawberry jam on the side was out of this world.

When we were done we got up from the table and went into the salad bar portion of the building where we had to pay. It was right next to the restaurant, just up a few small steps. There the waitress split up the check by asking us what items we would like to pay for and that was it.

There were quite a few differences I noticed in Scotland’s sit down restaurant than in the United States’. First, the atmosphere was calming and there wasn’t the feeling of being rushed to get us our food and get us out and on our merry way. I felt like I could have sat down there forever and no one would have minded. There was no rush or hurry in the service either. It was like everything was at a slower pace so you could enjoy your time in peace. Also, the waitress didn’t come to the table every five minutes checking to see if we needed anything else. The only times we saw her was when ordering drinks, to order food, once to see how everything was (when we all had finished), and ask about dessert.

If I was in the States eating at this restaurant, most would consider it poor service. The waitress hardly came by, the water wasn’t refilled and so on. Being a waitress myself, I know what Americans expect when eating out, and this was not it. We tend to always want the waitress in sight, glasses filled to the top, prompt delivery, etc. However, it was nice to not have the waitress around so often.  I got lost in time just talking, hanging out with friends, and enjoying great food. There was no rush and expectations from the waitress and it was refreshing.

Also, paying was at our own leisure. When we were ready, we got up to go pay instead of waiting for the checks to be delivered, swiped and returned. There also wasn’t any spot for a tip nor was a tip “required.” By the cash register, there was a small vase for tips that looked like would go to everyone and not just that one waitress you had. I felt like nothing was expected, you could enjoy your time and everyone was very kind.

I thoroughly enjoyed my dining experience at Hendersons and it is one of my favorite places I have eaten so far; I would definitely go back. Likewise, I loved how the service wasn’t rushed as I felt I enjoyed my time dining out much better.

I encourage you to go to a sit-down restaurant and try a new food you would never have tried before. Happy eating!

-Nicole Wilhelm


Nicole Wilhelm is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Nursing. Nicole is spending the month of July in many different cities in Scotland with the UMKC Honors College Program in Scotland. Nicole is involved in UMKC’s Campus Ambassadors, Swim and Dive Club, BHS Society, and Student Nursing Association.

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.

The Wheels on the Bus go ‘Round and ‘Round (and so does my stomach)

Most people get home sick when they study abroad, I, however, managed to get extremely bus sick.

It was the end of the first week of classes and my professors planned a bus trip out to the Scottish borders to see Sir Walter Scott’s House,

I also took this on the bus ride to the Scottish Borders. I was captivated by the arches and grace of the bridge.

Kelso Abbey and Jedburgh Abbey. I was excited to get out of the city for a day and see what the countryside had to offer. Bright and early Friday morning, I hopped on the bus and grabbed a window seat ready to start this adventure. The tour guide, named Doogie, was hilarious and set the mood for an exciting and fun day. I was giddy in my seat and could hardly sit still. My eyes never drifted from the window for fear I would miss something. Scotland really does have a vast landscape of rolling green hills, sheep and cows wandering about and a scattering of tall trees scattered about.

I took this picture of the country side on the bus ride to the Scottish Borders. This was the typical scene in this part of Scotland.

I felt great until the trees started to sway and then I realized I was doing the swaying. I wanted to close my eyes and get my bearings but the desired to see everything won out and I was compelled to look out the window again. The bus took a sharp turn and we started going down a squiggly road. My stomach didn’t feel very attached to the rest of me at this point. Yet, silly and stubborn me still wanted to look out the window. I told myself, you’re only in Scotland once, you have to see everything. You can close your eyes tonight when you go to bed.

On the way to the last stop of the day, the Jedburgh Abbey, the thick air was warm and suffocating. Pressing against me each time a tried to draw in a long, deep breath. My head felt like it was spinning and may just pop off at any moment. My body numb to the vibration of the bus underneath me. My stomach recoiling, not happy that it was being disrupted. I tried to take in another deep breath. I would not throw up. I would not throw up. I was determined to keep it together because throwing up on a bus is one of those things that will follow you for the rest

The Jedburgh Abbey is the most intact Abbey left standing. Even in ruins, this building is still beautiful and magnificent.

of your life. Suddenly, the bus lurched to a stop. I was at my destination, the Jedburgh Abbey. Just in time. Every so slowly I stood up and grabbed the seat next to me for support. I walked off the bus like a toddler who had just taken his first steps. Ah, solid ground. Clean, crisp fresh air!

I thought I would feel better after this but I was wrong. I was still swaying and my stomach was trying to creep its way out of my body. I felt so sick. I forced myself to see everything at each stop but by the end, I was dragging. My classmates and professors noticed I wasn’t looking too good. I tried to play it off like it wasn’t a big deal as I didn’t want to make it a big deal. However, you can only try and downplay bus sickness so much when you’re pale as a ghost and look like you might pass out at any moment.

As a typical American, I had to take a selfie. This was in front of the Jedburgh Abbey. Try not to look too closely, I’m looking a little rough around the edges.

I was told to sit down and drink some water. My fellow classmates concerned but still trying to keep their distance in case my stomach decided to show itself. Some motion sickness medicine was found for me before I got back on the bus and I got the honor of sitting next to Doogie on the ride back. He seemed a bit skeptical at first for fear he would get thrown up on. However, the ride back was much better and I managed to keep it together. I didn’t try and see all the scenery this time around, which probably helped. I managed to make it back in one piece and spent the rest of the night regaining the last of my bearings.

The lesson of this trip is to always remember to take motion sickness medicine before getting on a bus. Lucky for me, I now have sixteen people who are going to help remind me to take them. Not to mention, the seat at the very front of the bus has now been designated to me. It is one of those things that I will never live down. I have already been reminded to take motion sickness medicine before the next bus trip, which is a few days away I might add. If my stomach contents do make an appearance on this next trip I promise there will be no pictures.

Good luck and I hope adventure finds you with no motion sickness.

-Nicole Wilhelm


Nicole Wilhelm is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Nursing. Nicole is spending the month of July in many different cities in Scotland with the UMKC Honors College Program in Scotland. Nicole is involved in UMKC’s Campus Ambassadors, Swim and Dive Club, BHS Society, and Student Nursing Association.

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.

 

Before the Departure

No boring, typical, or cliche summer for me this year! This summer I will be traveling all over Scotland through UMKC’s Study Abroad Program. I am so excited for this opportunity, although I am not really sure what to expect.  This is the first time I have been out of the country on my own and I am really nervous. I have flown and gone out of the country before, but I always had my parents with me, now it’s just me. I’ll have to figure out the airport, customs, taxis, trains and all that other fun stuff on my own in another country. I don’t think there is anything that can really prepare me for that, no matter how much “practice” I have had traveling with my parents. In retrospect, I never really payed much attention in the first place since I didn’t have to know, I just played follow the parents (and of course they never let me out of their sight so I didn’t have much to worry about). Now I am the traveler, responsible for it all. Ahhhh! (that’s a scared but excited ahhhh!)

I have found that planning a trip abroad is stressful! Of course, everyone says it is but you never really know until you are actually doing it and if you’re like me where you think you’re organized but really you’re not, it’s pure chaos. There is so much more that goes into it than I thought: health insurance, calling phone companies and the bank, the change in currency, the adapter thingy for electronics (who knew there was such a thing as different electricity!) and the list goes on and on.

It’s crazy to think that I can call myself a world traveler at the ripe old age of 19 going on 20. I’ll get to spend my 20th birthday in London (that’s where I am flying out of!) I feel like turning 20 is normally kind of boring because nothing exciting happens. I sure planned this trip at the right time, huh? My 20th birthday will be spent in another country! I just can’t get over that. It feels like I am going to a whole other world, which I guess I kind of am; another continent at least. This experience is going to be so surreal. I think I am going to have to pinch myself every day…  Although reality still hasn’t set in, I better start pinching myself now.

I can’t wait for that first moment when I will take my first step off the plane into another country; the feeling of awe, excitement and that jittery feeling you get when you’re in a new place that you have never been to before. It’s like that feeling when you’re a little kid going to Disney Land, knowing you are about to experience the greatest thing in your life but on a much greater scale. I’m not sure what I am going to do with myself every day. So much time to explore!

I can’t even fathom all that I will see and experience in just a few weeks. I want to see and experience everything while I am there. I am going to burn the candle at both ends as my mom likes to call it. I can picture the green scenery and rolling hills ahead of me as I sit and write this in my kitchen. The stone buildings, exquisite architecture, the Scottish history and all the people I will get to meet. I’m ecstatic to get to see a real castle because my dad always told me I was a princess and so as a kid, I always imagined living in a castle but have never gotten to see one. My little kid dreams are going to come true!

I think the hardest part for me will be packing. I love to over pack and I am limited to a 44-pound suitcase and a backpack. I also love to shop and in a foreign country, I am afraid I might just go crazy. It may be my only time there so I need to buy everything I possibly can, right? I already know I am going to get myself in a bit of a predicament. And of course, friends and family are going to want gifts too…

I also wonder how I am going to fare in a foreign country with my poor sense of direction. I get lost just going to the grocery store sometimes and I know where that’s located let alone in Scotland where I have no idea where anything is, street names or anything related to direction. All I can say is it’s a very good thing they speak English, a language I know kinda well. I’m afraid what would happen if I was going to a place where I didn’t know the language. I am predicting that I will get lost on multiple occasions, so this could get interesting. Stay tuned.

Final thoughts, I think this will be the best experience of my life, something I will remember and talk about forever. How can anything else compare to a summer abroad in the United Kingdom? I want to try and capture every moment of it with blogging, pictures and going out and doing something every day. I am going to cram a lifetime worth of adventure into one month. Think I can do it?

Sincerely,

Nicole Wilhelm, future traveler of the world


Nicole Wilhelm is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Nursing. Nicole is spending the month of July in many different cities in Scotland with the UMKC Honors College Program in Scotland. Nicole is involved in UMKC’s Campus Ambassadors, Swim and Dive Club, BHS Society, and Student Nursing Association.

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.