Yesterday was the second day of orientation. In the morning, we had a “supermarket session” where we were able to speak to representatives from each department in which we are thinking about taking classes. I spoke to the Scottish Literature and Film and Theatre departments. I hope I don’t jinx it by writing this (since nothing is final yet), but as of today my plan is to take three classes. They are: The Scottish Enlightenment: Ideas and Influences, Scottish Literature 1A: Writing the Nation: Scott to MacDiarmid, and Film and Television Studies 1A: Reading the Screen – Cinema. From the American perspective, it seems a bit odd to only be taking three classes. But each of my classes is worth 20 SCOTCATS (Glasgow credits), which equates to 4-6 Creighton credits depending on what Creighton decides to give me. So I am really taking a full load. I’m curious to find out how difficult the courses will be and compare them to my American classes. Last semester at Creighton, I took 19 hours and worked two jobs (over 30 hours per week). So this will definitely be different, but I am genuinely looking forward to it.
After the supermarket session, I wandered down to the City Centre with a couple of new friends. It is about a mile and a half walk from my flat. It probably wasn’t the choicest time to go, since it was raining, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The City Centre is basically a few streets with a bunch of shops and things. You can buy pretty much anything you need there. It is also close to Glasgow Central Station, the University of Glasgow Art School, the Buchanon Mall, museums, and many other things to see. Since it was raining, we decided to look for rain boots (or Wellies). We looked and looked but we couldn’t find any cheap enough to suit our tastes. So we gave up, and after three hours of walking found ourselves back at another orientation session. That one was not very interesting, just a long presentation on university services, etc.
Today, we had another presentation on university services. Both the presentation yesterday afternoon and this morning were held in a big church on campus. After the presentation this morning, we went down to the basement of the church to the Crypt cafe to have coffee, tea, and scones. The Crypt Cafe is quite an interesting place. It is a non-profit cafe that serves fair-trade drinks and homemade baked goods. It has free wi-fi, and during the year they serve cheap, homemade lunches. I quite liked it and plan to go back to study sometime.
After that, we wandered around a bit and soon found ourselves in the Hunterian Museum which is housed in the main university building. We were able to see some of the collections of Dr. William Hunter who was a doctor and professor at the University of Glasgow during the 1700s. Some of the objects on display included coins, shields, numerous rocks and minerals, several stuffed animals, and preserved anatomical samples (including a fetus in a womb… kind of disturbing). The main room of the museum was closed due to roof construction, but I hope to make it back there at least once before I leave.
We wandered around a bit more and then went to the university services fair. There, I signed up for the International Student club which has programs running six nights every week and also organizes trips on weekends. I’m looking forward to participating in that. I was also able to pick up some information about traveling around Scotland and the U.K. as well as information about Glasgow’s public transportation. I have so many booklets and leaflets and papers from today and earlier this week… I don’t know if I’ll ever get through all of them. But it’s good to know that I have the information if I need it.
After that, Ariel and I took a taxi back down to City Centre where we were finally able to find some Wellies in our size and price range. Unfortunately, there were only two styles available in my size, one was a dark green (that looked like a gardening boot). The other was these:
If you can’t tell, the Union Jack (British flag) is printed on them. I bought them, mostly as a joke, but I really do need rain boots to wear while I’m here. I kind of regretted the purchase afterward, and I’m contemplating returning them. What do you think? Should I keep them? Are they too cheesy?
When I got back to my flat, I had about an hour to kill before the ever-so-ominously-named “Social Event” that took place tonight. I rested for a bit before once again heading back up to campus. The “Social Event” turned out to be a céilidh, which is basically a traditional Scottish dance. The dancing was mostly group based, and I took part for a few rounds. There were two musicians: an accordion player and fiddler. The accordion player explained each dance very patiently before launching into some typical folk-sounding music. There were drinks and some food and lots of people. I was able to meet a few new friends including people from France and Germany. Overall, it was a pretty good time.
So far, I’ve really enjoyed my time in Glasgow. I’m looking forward to meeting more people, exploring Glasgow, and traveling. I almost wish I would’ve known about the University of Glasgow back in high school when I started my college search. I just might have decided to come here. I’ve never felt so immediately at home anywhere outside of Omaha. I like it. Of course, that may all change when the infamous Scottish rain arrives, but for now, I’m enjoying it. Until next time…