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.