Wait… It is over???

I am now on my way back to the United States from Scotland and I am happy to be heading home, but so sad to be leaving Scotland behind.

At the beginning of the trip I was very homesick and could not wait for this trip to be over and by the second week I never wanted it to end. Soooo, why should you study abroad? Because it is the single best thing you can do to make yourself grow as a person. It is the best thing you can do to truly learn about a topic. It is simply the best thing you can do. So do it. I mean it. I worked many hours of overtime and spent many sleepless nights working to save up for this trip. I applied for every scholarship possible and it was one of the most tedious processes, but everything I did for this trip was worth it. It was worth it when I first landed in London and saw the British flag. It was worth it when I was gazing up at the Eiffel tower taking in its beauty. It was worth it when I was walking through Edinburgh’s castle.

Edinburgh Castle

It was worth it when I smelled and touched the ocean for the first time in my life. It was worth it when I found new friends in the park. It was worth it through the sleepless homework filled nights. It was worth it gazing at the Highland mountains in Scotland. It was worth it. I would do it all over again tomorrow. I was so homesick in the beginning and now I never want to leave Scotland. A piece of my heart will always be here. There is a maturation that comes with traveling abroad and stepping out of your comfort zone so far you want to be sick. When you decide to step out of that zone you discover the greatest joy and some of the best memories. Do not let fear hold you back because if I had let it hold me back I would have missed the greatest experience of my entire life.  I left my small town and everything I have ever known and experienced the world for all it had to offer. I met new people. I tried new things. I laughed….. A LOT. I guess what I want to say to all of you is please study abroad. Please meet new people. Please try new things. Please try this. It will be one of the best things you have ever done. Good luck everyone. Adventure finally found me, I hope it finds you.

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.

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!


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.


The Adventure Begins…

‘Twas the night before adventure, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; the Osprey was packed with minimal clothing, in hopes of adventure that would soon be here. The boy, however, was not nestled all snug in his bed. Instead he had visions of a laptop and his very first blog.

At 07:00 CT today (6/30) the adventure begins! I will be off to New York, then leaving for Scotland in the evening! My osprey is indeed packed (my osprey porter 46) with what I deem as minimal, however, considering we will be in Scotland for quite awhile I made sure to pack a little extra than what most travel experts may typically consider as minimal, but only to avoid a copious number of laundry days.

I have always been a self-proclaimed wander-luster. Having been a Boy Scout and Eagle Scout I have gone on many adventures to many different places, however, I have never been to Europe and certainly not on my own. This upcoming trip brings a lot of emotions, but for me, it primarily excitement, as I am finally achieving one of my biggest dreams of traveling to Europe, an area that I have always kept a special eye out for on the world map in my room. The world is so vast and beautiful I cannot ever imagine spending it all in one place. The world was made to be seen and I fully intend to do so.

In preparation for this trip I have been reading many travel blogs, websites, and books. For me personally though I found Savvy Backpackers guide to traveling to be the most useful thus far. I will have to reflect on this point when I return to see if all of the advice given was actually good. If you are gearing up to travel though I would definitely recommend it.

At the end of the day, I am ecstatic to be able to travel and learn in Scotland. I am also excited to get the opportunity to do some side traveling after my Study Abroad in Scotland is completed and I intend to visit Southern Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. I will be sure to update you all not only on my study abroad in Scotland, but also whatever mischief I find in my side travels!

As my eyes begin to drift shut I know I have an incredibly busy day tomorrow and should have gone to sleep hours ago, but there is much ado when adventure is in the air, and not even the visions of sugar plums dancing in my head could lull my excitement tonight.

Until next time,


Brandan Fitzgerald is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Business with an emphasis in Finance. Brandan is spending the summer term 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.

Luggage, Layovers, and Long Flights Oh MY!

Dear readers,

This will be my first post not made in my home state of Kansas, and if you read the first post then you know it is by far not going to be the last because I am going to Scotland!

Me waiting in line for security


I began my day at 3:30 am where my mom and I did a last minute edit of what I was carrying onto the plane. Packing for a year is difficult when you have only one checked bag and two carry-ons. There is so much that I want to be prepared for and have on hand, but I simply do not have the space or weight limit to accommodate it all.

My flight from Kansas left at 6am which meant I had to be at the airport by 5:20am to get myself through security. From the KCI airport I landed in Newark, New Jersey where I have the odious layover of 9 hours. Yes I had to get up super early and yes I have to wait an insanely long time for my flight to Edinburgh, but it is always better to be super early for international flights rather than cutting it close. For domestic flights it is recommended that you arrive at least an hour before boarding, but international is a whole new ball game. For an international flight you want to be 3-4 hours early. The process for international travel generally takes longer and the line for security could be anywhere from a 5 minute to a 1 hour + wait.

Right now I am relaxing in the Newark airport, where I have hours to kill, but at least I am through security and my luggage is checked. Unfortunately I won’t be able to write anything from Scotland for one more day. I have traveled internationally multiple times so I thought I would cover tips on traveling now.

With international flights out of the USA you will generally get 1 free checked bag that you can fill as much as you want as long as it is less than 50 lbs., if it is just one ounce over something will have to come out or you are paying. You are also allowed your one carry-on and one personal item. Here are a few tricks to get more things onto a plane and just flying in general:

  • Have your carry-on be a duffle. Duffle bags can squish and form around other shapes so they won’t usually check to see if they meet the size requirements at the gate.
  • If you don’t have a duffel bag and your suitcase is a little bit over the size requirements it is okay. You can gate check your bag, which is free for most airlines.
Checking my luggage at KCI airport


If you want to bring a bulky coat, large pillow, or blanket do not pack them. Leave them out of the luggage and just carry them on. They will not count these items are your personal item or carryon. For instance, I am wearing a jacket but I am also carrying a trench coat and a pillow pet.

  • Wear your bulkiest items on the plane. This will free up space in your luggage and keep you warm because when in the air; airplanes are notoriously chilly.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. You cannot bring a filled water bottle through security, so bring an empty one to fill up at the airport or buy one there. A day traveling on planes is not one where you want to be stuffing your face, but one where you want to be drinking a boat load of water. Think about it, you are sitting on a plane for 6+ hours with little to no movement, you will feel bloated and gross if you over eat or only eat carbs; so drink water and eat your fruits and veggies. Then you will feel fresh when you step off the plane.
  • International flights will have bigger planes and be more comfortable than the general domestic flight. So even though the flight will have movies, music, and games to entertain you try to use the comfort for your benefit and sleep. Wherever you are going is most likely going to have a huge time change so during the flight adjust your sleeping to that schedule so the jet lag won’t hit you as hard.
  • Finally bring Purell or hand wipes. Planes are full of germs and it is easy to pick up viruses while traveling, so use common sense and don’t touch your face and try to keep your area as clean as possible.

I hope these tips can help all you travelers out there. Be safe, pack carefully, and happy travels!


Helpful Hint: With layovers you will want at least an hour between flights. This is because if there are delays you do not want to be sprinting to your next fight or worse missing it.

Do you know where The Titanic’s last stop was?

This week we really focused on the museums in Cork, The Titanic, and art. We typically go to class during the morning and head to a museum as a class during the afternoon.

My favorite museum was the Lewis Glucksman Gallery. This was a very eclectic art gallery with hands on activities all around.

The first thing you see is the largest “knitting map” I’ve ever seen. This piece was created by many people from all over Ireland.IMG_1395

As you walk around and see more, you come across a room with marker all over the chairs & table. Here you can write/draw all over. You see names and images created from people all over the world.

The museum is full of textiles and patterns that exhilarate all of your senses (well except for taste 😜)

Lastly, there is a chalkboard with a single question, “Where do you see yourself in ten years?” That question is answered very easily by myself. I see myself traveling the globe, experiencing different cultures, and learning languages. The world is my playground and I want to explore every square inch. I want my brain overflowing with knowledge from different countries.


Also this week we took a day trip to a very colorful city with an unknown history called Cobh. The city is home to colorful home, fishing boats, St. Colman’s Cathedral, and the last stop of Titanic before sinking.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetAs a class we went to the Titanic experience, we were given a boarding tickets of real Irish passengers that boarded Titanic. I was Kate Connolly, a twenty-three year old third class passenger. You go on a journey of what life was like on the ship. At the end of the journey you see if you survived the sinking. I was rescued by lifeboat 13 and survived the sinking.

During the afternoon, we were able to explore the city. Ashley and I walked around finding the Titanic Memorial Gardens, we explored St. Colman’s cathedral, and enjoyed Raspberry sorbet from a local candy shop.Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetWhat a busy week of study abroad, actually just about every week is busy. This weekend I’m hopping on a plane traveling somewhere, check out my next post to see where I traveled and my experience! 🙂

Here’s a hint, it’s rainy 😜