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The Mountains are Calling and I Must Go

The furthest point North on Scotland’s mainland.

A notable marker that indicates a transition from adolescence to adulthood is the realization that one’s taste has evolved.  This is not a reference to an individual’s taste buds and how they change every seven years, but rather refining our interest. When I was a little girl, I had always dreamt about living in the city, specifically New York City. The towering buildings, the city lights, and the hustle and bustle of the natives seemed glamorous. Not to mention, that I thought I was going to grow up to be a mega pop star.

As years past, I began to slowly drift away from my belief that I wanted to live in the city. I guess that with all the nature shows I watched with my father, they were finally beginning to rub off on me. Despite traveling to beautiful states, such as Colorado, I was only a child and was preoccupied with marrying my stuffed animals.

My journey to the Highlands only reasserted my ideals of eventually living in the wilderness. I admired the city atmosphere in Edinburgh and loved the relative closeness of shops, but the Highlands transported me to another realm. I was in touch with the beauties of nature, and was able to appreciate such captivating sites.

The image above is by far one of my favorite photographs from studying abroad. It was taken along the west coast of Scotland as we were driving to the city of Glasgow. There were many areas for cars to pull over and admire the scenery. The bus decided to pull over at this stop, and it was stunning. To the west, storm clouds were moving in. In opposition, rays of sunlight shined through the clouds and illuminated the side of the mountains. Despite the rain, a rainbow flashed over the valleys.

The wilderness held up to a mysterious mystique. It is so mesmerizing to see the forces of nature and to admire its wonder. As I was left awestruck, I could not help but smile at my original idea of moving to the city.


Kayli Warner is a senior honors student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City majoring in Theatre and specializing in Costume Design. She is spending the 2017 summer term abroad with the faculty-led UMKC Honors Summer Program in Scotland. Kayli is a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa Society.

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 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.

 

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.

Home Sweet Home?

As I write this, I am waiting inside a train sitting motionless on the tracks in the middle of nowhere. I have spent the last two days attempting to make my way home from various airports and train stations after this amazing month in the United Kingdom. This homeward journey has now extended to over 47 hours and is only lengthening. But through it all I am trying to remember that it is this trip home that marks the end of my study abroad experience, just giving me more and more memories to attach to this incredible opportunity.

A view of the coast of Lake Michigan from my flight

Now that it has come to my attention, I have realized that travel has been a critical part of the study abroad program and my experiences during it. In this short month, I have ridden six planes, two taxis, two double-decker busses, three tour busses, one Uber, four trains (or “Overgrounds” as they are called in London), two “Undergrounds,” or subways, one public transit bus, two ferries, three cars, and walked all around the cities of Edinburgh and London. Before this trip, I had not traveled much in anything other than a car, so I was nervous at first about navigating the airports, subway stations, and train stations and finding the correct platforms or terminals in time. But I am now confident in my ability to make it anywhere after such an extensive immersion. This skill is vital to have, as I could only make it so far on my feet or in an automobile. But I feel like the whole world has now been opened to me after gaining such experience with nearly every possible method of transportation.

My total time spent on this final train home was seven hours (It was supposed to be four).

It is also during these times riding various vehicles that some of my best memories have been made. The sightseeing tours on double-decker buses in Edinburgh and London gave me the opportunity to see and learn about each city’s most iconic buildings, statues, and natural landforms. The first two Fridays, I traveled with my classmates in tour busses to places like the ruins of Jedburgh Abbey, the important Scottish author Walter Scott’s home, and Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns’ hometown. The various plane, train, and subway trips on my weekend trip to London helped me to become closer with two of my best new friends who came with me. Perhaps most notably, being stuck on a tour bus with all my classmates and our professors for a week traveling around the Highlands and a couple Isles has given us a bond unlike any other, including subtle annoyances with each other but more importantly a unique sense of community that will last in our memories and hearts for a lifetime.

So as I read blog postings from other students about what it feels like to be back home while I’m stuck here on the tracks for another two hours now, I am remembering the wonderful memories and experiences each mode of transportation has introduced. In a way, these delays have given me a gift by allowing me time to reflect on my experiences and develop a deep gratitude for them. I am eager to get back home and share with my family and friends the memories I have gained, but for now I have found a way to become content waiting and reminiscing on my own.

 


Kathryn Smith is a freshman at the University of Missouri- Kansas City majoring in Psychology and Pre-Medicine, with the goal to become a psychiatrist. During the month of July, Kathryn is participating in the UMKC Honors College 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.

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.

Alone in a City of 8.8 Million Residents (Plus Thousands of Tourists)

Big crowds scare me, especially if I do not have someone I know with me to help distract from my

A model of Stonehenge made from the rocks along the coast of the Butt of Lewis lighthouse

imaginings of all the potential things that could go wrong and cause widespread panic. So why would I ever dream of or even feel excited for a day spent all by myself in one of the most crowded cities in the world? I can’t seem to answer this question, but somehow I ended up convincing my friends to leave me behind in London as they traveled to Bath and Stonehenge without me during our weekend excursion.

 

A wax figure of Mary, Queen of Scots, a subject of our studies, at Madame Tussaud’s

The first thing I did on my solo adventure was find my way to and attend Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. I could tell during our first night in London while we were planning our weekend that my travel companions were not too excited about this suggestion, even though they tried to conceal it and not disappoint me. So I was happy to go to this attraction by myself and spend the time I wanted there without feeling rushed or sorry for making my friends spend valuable time and money on something they didn’t want to do. Afterwards, I returned to the hostel we were staying in and was surprised and happy to find our 20-person dorm room quiet and completely empty, giving me a great opportunity to finish writing my speech for class without any distractions.

With the weight of an incomplete assignment off my shoulders, I found myself with quite a bit of free time. I decided to just wander around and explore the city, and eventually found my way to a tea shop in a district of the West End of London called “Soho.” The shop was incredibly busy, so I barely fit my way into the door and up to the counter to order. Once I got my pastry and pot of tea and sat at a newly vacated table, the charming shop owner asked me if I would mind another customer sitting with me. I spent the next hour or so talking to a gentleman who had lived in London for around five years, who told me all about the hidden treasures of the city most tourists would never discover. After warming back up from the rain and sharing a table with yet another local customer (although he was much quieter), I walked across town to the London Eye, where I would eventually meet back with my friends.

A view from the top of the London Eye, a giant ferris wheel

The crowds of visitors eventually became too much for my nerves, so I wandered away and eventually found myself talking with another Londoner, this time an older gentleman being treated at the hospital I was seeking refuge from the rain in. He asked me what I was studying and what career I eventually wanted to have, and he told me his experience with England’s healthcare system after I expressed my wish to become a doctor. Speaking with these local citizens showed me their perspectives, teaching me much more about the city than I could ever get from simply visiting the most popular attractions.

 

Another view from the London Eye showing Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

Even though I began the day alone, I ended up meeting and chatting with three other young travelers from Canada and Australia, as well as three people from London. I think what gave me the opportunity to meet them was the fact that I was by myself and therefore open to interacting with people I didn’t know instead of focusing on prior friends. The best part about this “lonely” day, however, was that I could do and see what I wanted without worrying about making others miss out on what they wanted to experience. I was able to get a much more in-depth experience in London by taking the time to explore the city and meet new people, and my friends and I each formed new stories during our time apart to be able to share with each other.

 


Kathryn Smith is a freshman at the University of Missouri- Kansas City majoring in Psychology and Pre-Medicine, with the goal to become a psychiatrist. During the month of July, Kathryn is participating in the UMKC Honors College 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.

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.

The Highlands or Bust!

How great can five long days in a big yellow bus with the words “Wild & Sexy” written on the side possibly be?

Extremely.

The past five days have been a whirlwind: between ferries, speech drafts and presentations, and essay drafts, it feels as if no time has passed at all, but at the same time, it has been the longest week of my life (well, that may be an exaggeration, of course. We’ve all been through finals week!).  In truth, I don’t remember the names of the towns we stayed in or of all the monuments and national parks we stopped at. All I know is that the 17 of us had an absolute blast.

On Tuesday, we took a ferry up to the Isle of Lewis and made a stop at the Butt of the Isle of Lewis. There, we stood at what felt like the edge of the world – to the north of us was the Arctic ice cap and directly to the west was Nova Scotia. This edge of the world is stunning. Black cliffs, spongy land beneath your boots, and an overcast afternoon make for one heck of a view.

Cliffs at the Butt of the Isle of Lewis

I also had the opportunity to see Loch Lomond. During a brief, unplanned bathroom stop at a visitor’s center on the Loch, I hopped off because I needed a photo. I was a choir kid in high school, and my junior year we sang “Loch Lomond”, a traditional Scottish song. To this day, it is one of my favorite pieces I have ever performed with that choir, and so I knew I had to get a photo of the Loch so I could say I’ve been there (even if only for about 5 minutes!).

The bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond

Despite my attachment to Loch Lomond, I must give the award for my favorite views to Glen Coe, in Clan Donald country. It was another short stop, and even the fifteen minutes we spent there could have easily been stretched to hours, but Glen Coe was a beauty. Standing in front of these huge, majestic mountains, I felt as if I was standing in a super high-quality photograph that people would (and probably have!) paid a lot of money to have on display in an art museum. The mystic beauty of Glen Coe can’t be beat.

Glen Coe
I have to own up to taking a highly stereotypical photo there, because truthfully, I couldn’t resist.

In the end, the Highlands are an unbeatable experience and a must-see if you ever find yourself in Scotland. The experiences I had in the Highlands are going to stay with me forever, and thankfully, so will the photos.


Victoria Davidson is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City double majoring in History and Foreign Languages and Literature with a German emphasis. Victoria is spending July abroad with the faculty-led 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.

UP….UP…. AND YOU ARE IN THE HIGHLANDS

The ocean

Want to know the most beautiful place on planet earth? It is the Highlands of Scotland! Greenery surrounds you almost everywhere you look and the water is restless, but stunning.

Just a small glimpse into the beautiful Highlands

There is always a hanging mist in the Highlands in Scotland and I admit it is really cold here, but if you bundle up and brave the cold it is a sight worth seeing. We took a boat into the Highlands and I have never been on a cruise ship, but that is what I imagined it would look like. It was huge and luxurious with a cafe. I was able to relax for a little bit and enjoy the ocean. On this trip to the highlands we are visiting the Isle of Lewis and the Isle of Harris. There are many monuments here and the start of our journey in the highlands we went to the Butt of Lewis. You read that right. I said the Butt of Lewis (don’t google or you may get some weird images). It is the end of the Island of Lewis and there are cliffs high up that we got to look off and stare at the ocean. I stared at the sea gulls circle around trying to get the fish and there was a seal popping his head out of the water daring the sea gulls to come closer. The water crashed into the rocks angrily and the vastness of the ocean is enough to make the largest person feel small.

There was a lighthouse behind the cliffs and it was everything I imagined it would be. I felt at home here and never wanted to leave. But we made our way back to our Hostel for the night where nine of the girls in my class here all stay in a hostel room together. It was so much fun, it felt like a slumber party! The next morning we had class things to clear up, so we gave our speeches in the hostel. This trip has taught us all how to be flexible and roll with the punches! It has been a very fun experience seeing what our journey will bring us next. The second day we made our way to the Isle of Harris where we stopped at an old town where we learned how tweed blankets and scarves are made. It was interesting to watch and the people there were very kind. A nice man explained everything to us and left nothing but happy feelings in my heart. I will definitely be visiting that town again.

The mighty and powerful stones

Next, we made our way to the Calanais stones which were tall, mighty, and mysterious. These stones are mysterious and no one knows exactly why there are there. After the stones we made our way to the beach and at the beach I got to see a HIGHLAND COW (pronounced coo). If you have been following my blogs you know I am a farm girl and all I wanted this whole trip was to see a Highland cow and get a picture with it! I finally got it and my dreams have been fulfilled.

My baby Highland cow. I FINALLY GOT A PICTURE!!

We then made our way back to the hostel and all in all. The highlands were pretty amazing. As always, may adventure find you… even if it is so far north that it doesn’t get dark at night.


Kylie Wilson is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Nursing. She is spending the summer term abroad with the UMKC Honors Program in Scotland. Kylie is from small town Helena, Missouri and hopes to be a Cardiac Intensive Care Unit nurse in the future. She has a pet cow named Betsy whom she loves dearly.

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.