Exploration of the Country You Study Abroad In

Kara McGeehan University of Edinburgh, Scotland


February 27, 2019
Currently Studying at: University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Homeschool: Stonehill College

Though I have been in Edinburgh for just over a month, studying and living abroad is still such a surreal experience. Each and every day, I venture to create new memories while allowing the present moments to soak into my brain. I am truly still in awe while roaming the streets of Edinburgh, you look to one side of you and you’ll see Arthur’s Seat, then look to the other side, and you’ll find jaw-dropping architecture. I have learned the walking route from my accommodation to George Square and back, discovered new routes and short cuts around the city, and just roamed the streets while trying to capture everything I see around me. Edinburgh has truly become my second home.

There is so much more to Scotland than just the city of Edinburgh. I feel that discovering Scotland, and all that this county has to offer is the greatest adventure of all. Most people when they study abroad in Europe want to travel around to different countries and see the world. Don’t get me wrong, that is a great way to find yourself and experience the world; however, I also believe it is vital for people to explore the city and country in which they are living. I have done my fair share of exploring Edinburgh, and plan to do more, however, I have only experienced a small portion of Scotland.

One of my most spectacular adventures was my weekend trip to Firbush Outdoor Centre in Killin Scotland. Firbush is an outdoor centre run by the University of Edinburgh. The centre is right along Loch Tay and just outside the village of Killin. Arcadia organizes a weekend getaway to Firbush for their students which is jam-packed with incredible experiences. I signed up for this weekend getaway because Firbush is located in the highlands. After visiting the highlands on a “One-Day-Tour” in July of 2018, I knew I needed to experience more in this area. Yes, I know, the highlands are quite large, taking up about 26,000 square kilometers; however, I still want to see it all.

After stepping off the bus at Firbush, the first thing that hit me was a smack of fresh clean highland air. That first breath off the bus was very refreshing. I couldn’t see anything around me since it was 7:00 pm and pitch black outside, but I knew this is what I wanted to experience. I could write a novel about my experience at Firbush, but I’ll try to keep this short. On Sunday morning we were offered a few activities to partake in, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, and a few self-lead activities. I chose canoeing. Sunday morning was very foggy and misty on the Loch, but that did not stop me from bundling up, putting on ridiculous looking bright blue waterproof pants and getting in a canoe. This was the most whimsical moment I have experienced. The loch was calm, the fog was surrounding us, we couldn’t see too far ahead until the clouds broke slightly and you caught a quick glimpse of the roaring mountains in the distance. This was the getaway I needed. I love living in the city of Edinburgh, but I wanted to experience Scotland, the mountain, lochs, glens, and wildlife. I did not take my phone or camera on this canoe trip, due to the fear of dropping them in the loch, but I really didn’t need them. This was a moment I knew I would never forget and would tell a million times.