January 8th, 2016 I set off for the University of Dundee. It was my first time outside of the United States, and I was filled with excitement, anxiety, and wonder for how the next five months would unfold. I knew I would grow, but I wasn’t sure how. There were some many questions, some of which I knew would only be answered by experience and others that might not be answered at all.
Upon arriving in Scotland at the Edinburgh Airport, it was dark, the air cold and crisp, nibbling at my face. But I prepared for this! There I was: wool beanie, sweater, a jacket suitable for artic storms, study boots and long johns underneath it all. A 65-liter backpack luggage rested on my back, and my trusty schoolbag nestled the front. I was a two-sided turtle waiting for the Megabus that would take me up to the small University town of Dundee on the northeast coast of Scotland. The bus pulled up; I tripled checked it was the right one and, the driver instructed me that I would need to transfer somewhere along the way but, his regional accent (they can vary every 30miles or so) proved to be difficult for me to understand at the time. I loved hearing the new voices; it solidified the fact that I was indeed there and not dreaming, although the Scottish accent to me is like someone singing you a happy little lullaby. I deeply feared to miss the transfer point; I had only recognized fractions of the name and the pitch black evening didn’t help much. I refused to ask again because I did not want to be the annoying American who couldn’t understand when English was being spoken. “Halbeath! Next stop, Halbeath.” Other student-aged people, loaded with bags like me set to offboard the bus and, I quickly asked someone if this was the changed for those heading to Dundee. She said yes and, I got off the bus, crisis adverted!
Another 45 minutes brought me to the City of Discovery, and a taxi driver brought me to my residence door. I had arrived! And was feeling quite confident about the next several months in this place.