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The Traveling Column: why study in Scotland?

Photo by Maria Marabito.

Throughout the past eight months, I have been writing about my experience studying abroad in Edinburgh and now I have only a few weeks left before I return home. I have had the most amazing time in Scotland’s capital and studying abroad has been the best adventure. I encourage everyone to study abroad if they have the means and the interest. Do not let fear or hesitation stop you from having an incredibly unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Going abroad not only develops you as a more independent individual, but you will learn infinite life lessons and become more informed about the world by living in a different country and meeting different people.

Resiliency, adaptability, appreciation and new perspectives are some qualities you will gain. Studying abroad is an exciting experience that is not only valuable on a personal level, but also makes you more employable in the job market. That is not to say studying abroad is not challenging, but it is a challenge that is worth any struggle you might have while abroad 10 times over. Many people end up not studying abroad over a worry of FOMO (fear of missing out) or that they will not do well away from their family, but the confidence and maturity you will develop when choosing to go on this nerve-wracking, challenging experience will be invaluable. There is infinite value in studying abroad and it will be a decision you will never regret.

Deciding to study abroad is a momentous decision to celebrate, but choosing where to study requires even more consideration. According to GoAbroad.com, this year the three most popular destinations to study abroad this year include Italy, Spain and England. Scotland does not even make the top ten by trend. In my entirely truthful and biased opinion, Edinburgh is the absolute best destination to study abroad. Living in Edinburgh, you will get to experience city life and nature at the same time since there are plenty of hiking and walking fields to enjoy, such as Arthurs Seat and the Pentlands. Even though Edinburgh is a city, I never felt unsafe while going out and exploring my temporary home. People have always been very kind and helpful in Edinburgh, which is very reassuring and welcoming.

There is an abundance of culture in Edinburgh since the city attracts people from all over the world as an intellectual and cultural hotspot. You will find your pick of the litter in terms of food options since there are countless delicious restaurants and cafes of all different cuisines to try. The ease of travel within Edinburgh and Europe is effortless and very affordable. The city has a great network of buses and trams that run often so that you never have to worry about finding a taxi or walking long distances.

The flights out of the Edinburgh airport are usually affordable with budget airlines and top destinations like Paris, London and Barcelona are just a short plane ride away. The rail system is also very well-organized giving people who live in Edinburgh a cheap way to take day or weekend trips. Beaches are just a half an hour away by train, while London is about two hours. Popular towns and cities like St. Andrews and Glasgow are very easily accessible from Edinburgh, leaving you with infinite travel options.

Edinburgh as a city to live in is very affordable. Weekly groceries cost less than 20 pounds, rent is much more affordable than in London (and even West Chester for that matter), many restaurants and bars give student deals or discount nights, and there are tons of charity shops to go thrifting in. Living in a city also has its perks, since there is something going on all the time, like plays, comedy shows and poetry readings. There really is an event for everyone to enjoy. Edinburgh is also fantastic as a historic city. Its ancient architecture, impressive monuments and countless museums remind visitors of the interesting past Edinburgh has, and the unique part it has played in history.

If you come to Edinburgh, you can get lost in the endless exhibits in the National Museum, hike a dormant volcano, drink at any time of day, take a plane to London, study with other students from around the world, dance at a ceilidh, try haggis, visit the highlands, search for the Loch Ness monster, walk through castles and much, much more. I cannot express just how extraordinary Edinburgh is. Say yes to study abroad and say yes to Edinburgh. Apply to scholarships, talk to the study abroad office for advice and make your study abroad adventure happen! It is truly an unforgettable experience not to be traded for anything.

I am going to miss the city and all that comes with it so much. It has been an incredible adventure to have lived in Edinburgh and I had the greatest year studying abroad. Studying abroad is an experience I wish for everyone; it is unparalleled and how it develops you as a global individual is irreplaceable and unique. Out of all the study abroad students I have met, they all expressed how happy they were with their decision to study abroad, and you will be, too, if you decide to make the leap.

Maria Marabito is a second-year student majoring in English writings track. MM883631@wcupa.edu

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