Lesson 1: Know your University and Fresher’s Week

Aimee P. University of Aberdeen, Scotland


November 21, 2014

Hi there! I can’t believe how fast time goes when you travel. It seems like Fresher’s week was only a few days ago. For those that aren’t aware, Fresher’s week is a week for students to settle in campus before classes begin. It’s really interesting what you can find out, so save the unpacking until later! Learning about the clubs and societies available are a fantastic way to make friends, but keep an ear open for events themselves. The University of Aberdeen is filled with events and trips, but it’s also really difficult to keep track of them. Make sure you follow any Facebook pages associated with your universities; it might just lead you somewhere! Also, try to attend a campus tour at least once, every guide has different advice that can come in handy.

For students going to Aberdeen, make sure you check out the Butchart Center. The center provides day long trips for little expense, and the bus rides are a great way to meet new people. Besides your camera, be sure to bring a notepad to write down Facebook addresses. When the trip is finished everyone is too busy trying to get to dinner, so get the contact info early. On my trip I met so many people with the same interests! (i.e. Harry Potter, The Hobbit, Supernatural, Doctor Who….). Anyway, it was amazing to see Crathes Castle and Dunnottar Castle on the same day! These castles are the polar opposites of each other. Crathes Castle once was home to a huge family with 21 children. It’s still inhabited by gorgeous gardens and forest life (see photos), so be sure to visit it during the warmer seasons. Even if you won’t go hiking, take a few steps into the forest, their exotic trees are wider than many cars, making you feel as though you’re in another reality. If you really want such an experience, try their maze as well, it’ll remind you of Alice in Wonderland. (Don’t worry; their rose garden isn’t all red).

Dunnottar Castle, on the other hand, has a very eerie beauty to it. Similar to the castle’s visitors William Wallace and Mary Queen of Scots, this once great and intimidating fortress is now a majestic ruin. Personally, I prefer its abandoned appearance on the sheer cliffside. The setting makes for a fantastically dark movie scene, or something you’d expect in a book or video game. I found it very imaginative. Since some of the structures are only half standing it’s easy to envisage how the fortress was made, what may have been part of the broken rooms, or even how to escape if you were locked in the dungeon! If you go to Dunnottar Castle, be certain to bring your scarf and a plastic bag. The wind off the coast can get pretty chilling, and the castle has a pathway down to the shore. Use your bag to collect Scottish sea shells; they make wonderful (and free!) souvenirs. Your notepad will definitely be handy as you drive away, use it to write down any ideas or thoughts you had while exploring the grounds.

Anyway, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, this is my first blog post, which makes it very late. However, that just means more writing for me to catch up on and more reading for you! So keep checking in for more ridiculous stories and lessons about travelling. Stay tuned to hear about how I was teased by Sir Ian, and ended up in the Highland Games!