The Study Abroad Newsletter

A Lass in Scotland

Amy Chang
University of Stirling, Scotland

Amy Chang and friends at a pub in Scotland My name is Amy Chang, a 3rd year Psychology student, and I studied abroad at the University of Stirling in Scotland. I received a lot of strange looks and comments from local Scottish folks about being a person from Hawaii in Scotland, ‘cause you know, why would anyone ever visit wet and rainy Scotland? But they have a great sense of humour if that eases anyone’s confusion and puzzlement.

Towards the end of my year abroad I had the chance to travel up to Oban and the Isle of Mull on the west coast of Scotland. Most of the traveling that I did throughout the year was mostly on the east side of Scotland, and the west side was a big mystery. Once my flatmate and I got off the train, I could immediately smell the sea and I was suddenly fascinated with the coast, much more than I was with the coast of St. Andrews or Hilo Bay. The town was filled with tourists, and fish and chip shops. I rode a ferry for the first time across the sea to the Isle of Mull to see Duart Castle. While I stood outside the castle in the rain I suddenly felt as if I were in a place like Iceland, where it was wet and green and so isolated from everything else in the world. The highlight of the whole trip was when we had returned from Mull and saw a small seafood shack along Oban Harbour, where they were selling fresh local oysters for 95 pence. I never had raw oysters that fresh and deliciously briny.

Another of my favourite events was when I visited a town in the Scottish Borders called Peebles along the river Tweed. It was very different from the other towns and cities I had the chance to visit in Scotland, mostly because there were barely any tourists in that town. It was very local, and the population appeared to consist of the elderly, and dogs. It was still old-fashioned in that sense, and they still had a local butcher, bakery, and ice cream shop, and surprisingly, an award-winning patisserie. The area was surrounded of mostly hills and sheep. One of my flatmates lived there and had invited me to see his hometown. We also had a chance to take a bus to the next town over to visit the Traquair House, where the Stuarts used to go on holiday and hunt for game.