At Semester's End: What I've Learned

It's hard to believe that I've been at Uni for a whole semester now. The fact that I haven't gone home has, in a way, made this time fly by, since it hasn't been broken up so much.

I'm incredibly excited to return home, but I know that once I touch down in the States, I'm going to go on and on to my friends and family about how great it is here in Edinburgh.

Before all of my friends here left, we had our last hurrah as a group by going to see the Nutcracker. Going to the ballet and doing most "cultural" things is usually something that I do with my mom. But it was really nice to go see a show with my friends that wasn't a movie, but that we were all equally excited about.

Seeing the Nutcracker got us into the holiday spirit!

Now that it's quieting down here as students return home this week, I've had a lot of time to not only revise and watch Netflix, but to reflect on what I've learned from being abroad for a semester. Of course, I can't include everything that I've experienced in one blog post, but here's just a taste of what I've learned:

I could never "study abroad" for just a semester.
Or a year, for that matter. I've only been in Edinburgh for about four months now, and couldn't imagine leaving so soon (as many American students I know here are doing just now). There's simply too much to discover and experience to limit it to a single semester. Studying abroad is great, but if you ever have the chance, try doing so for more than a just a semester. You won't regret it.

Starbucks is cheaper in the US. 
As are many other American brands such as Anthropologie and J Crew. They do this really annoying thing where they keep the number value as the American price, and just stick the pound sign in front of it. So, a Starbucks holiday latte priced at £3.25 is actually over $5. And you thought the American price was ridiculous. Beware the Starbucks, friends.

Alcohol isn't for chugging. 
It's for sipping and enjoying. And maybe sometimes chugging. Being legal to drink has allowed me to enjoy alcohol more. I also know a lot more about alcohol than I used to. It's not just about vodka and gatorade. I've learned how to properly order a drink like a woman in a James Bond movie. And I've also found out what drinks I really like- not just for the drunk-factor. I love being able to buy a bottle of wine at the grocery store or enjoy a fancy cocktail with dinner.

Having an international friend group is the best. 
With just one semester down, I have friends not only in Scotland and England, but friends in Canada, the UAE, Uganda, and Germany as well. In no other place would I be able to have such a richly international experience. I've learned a lot through my friends by comparing and contrasting our schools, social lives, and daily activities. Plus, if I ever want to go to any of these places, I'd like to think that I have a free place to crash.

The UK doesn't have bad food.
Seriously. From juicy burgers, to amazing breakfasts, to addicting Indian food, the UK (and Scotland in particular) has a lot more to offer in terms of food-diversity than you might think. Oh and when I say the UK has good food, that does not by any means include my dining hall. The JMCC is bad news.

There's so much more I could say about my first semester, but these are just a few of my biggest lessons learned. If you want to find out more about my first semester in Edinburgh, then feel free to stalk me all the way back to the beginning of this blog!

The next time I'll be blogging, I'll be doing so from the comfort of my own home back in the States. Until then, I'll be drinking coffee and doing too many readings about Social Anthropology. Please send help and/or food.

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