Defining Scotland

Melissa Thompson University of Aberdeen, Scotland


May 10, 2016

“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey” –Pat Conroy

It seems like only yesterday that I stepped onto the plane in Texas that would take me into Scotland and on the journey of a lifetime. Now I have just a few weeks left until my story here at the University of Aberdeen comes to a close. I wanted to use this blog to reflect on what Scotland and Aberdeen has come to mean to me.

When it comes to defining Scotland, there are quite a few images and words that most people probably associate Scotland with. I’m sure that most people have seen popular movies such as Disney’s Brave, the classic movie Braveheart or even Made of Honor which all have settings in Scotland. Or perhaps you’ve read the book series Outlander or have simply heard of the Highland Games. To be honest, before coming to Scotland I knew pretty much nothing about this amazing country except for what I’ve seen in movies or read in books. Now, having lived in Scotland for quite some time now it’s beyond exceeded my expectations.

Scotland is not a place that can easily be defined in a few words, but a place that one must simply experience for oneself. It is full of history, ancient castles, friendly people, beautiful and breathtaking scenery and is absolutely rich in culture.

From my adventures around Scotland, I’ve learned that each city has its own treasures, histories and secret destinations. Aberdeen is a small coastal town with a wonderful beach and a nice shopping area in town. It’s unique in that all the buildings are made of granite (hence the nickname ‘Granite City’). The culture is also interesting from the rest of Scotland because the locals here have a dialect called Doric. Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and a huge city with much to do from the Edinburgh Castle to hiking up to Arthur’s Seat. The towns I’ve visited such as Stonehaven and Perth also have their own unique sights and sounds. I absolutely love how diverse the Scottish culture is! It’s so interesting to see how different each place in Scotland is from the other and how each place contributes a unique piece to the Scottish culture as a whole.

While reading or watching movies about Scotland is certainly entertaining, it could never quite compare to actually seeing Scotland and living here. Scotland has truly been an amazing experience and I wouldn’t trade it for the word. So if I had to define Scotland, perhaps the closest I can come to describing it would be a place of adventure, friends, laughter, memories, and home.