My First Impressions of Scotland

Thuy Pham is a student at Texas Woman’s University and an ISA Featured Photo Blogger. She is studying abroad with ISA in Glasgow, Scotland.

I cannot believe I have already been abroad for three weeks. There have been a lot of changes, adjustments, learning processes, and I have even gotten lost many times. However, I have to agree with the readers of Rough Guides that Scotland is the world’s most beautiful country. There have been so many times I keep saying “wow” after “wow” when standing in the front of the most breathtaking scenery. I am so amazed and cannot believe that I have seen such beautiful views with my own two eyes.

During these first weeks, I have been spending a great amount of time figuring out how to get to places, getting used to the lifestyle over here, and traveling to some places. Unlike in the U.S., I walk to most of the places in Glasgow or take train on some occasions instead of driving. Carrying groceries and walking home with them can be quite challenging sometimes, but it is getting easier each time. There have been so many experiences that I would like to share with everyone, but below are some of my highlights for the first three weeks.

1. Scotland has taught me to appreciate our nature and environment more than ever before.

After my flights got cancelled and rescheduled several times due to hurricane Harvey, I was so pleased to make it safe and sound in Glasgow, Scotland after 30 hours worth of flights. Witnessing how much people suffered from the flood– losing their houses and everything they have worked for their whole life as “American Dreamers”– broke my heart. However, I was so happy to see how beautiful and green Scotland is. It was a wake up call for me that global warming is getting extreme around the globe, and we all need to do something to maintain and protect our environment. There have been so many natural disasters lately, not only in the United States, but also in other countries. We need to start to live greener, preserve our natural resources, and stop being wasteful. Scotland has really gotten me to start recycling as a habit.

2. Scotland has really challenged me to learn to be more patient.

The “every minute counts” lifestyle has gotten so in my head that I have often overlooked and approached things without fully assessing the situation. However, people in Glasgow have really helped me realize how valuable being patient can be. Through my observations, people seem to take more of their time to enjoy their meals and daily activities compared to us. I have always heard that “patience is a virtue”, and it is now a time for me to practice it.

3. People in Scotland are so welcoming and friendly.

The friendly and welcoming people of Glasgow have helped to ease my nerves and given me a sense of belonging. This picture was taken on my first day of class at the University of Glasgow, and I truly felt that I belonged. My study abroad journey has officially begun, and I cannot tell you how much I have loved this place already. These past three weeks have been so crazy for me trying to settle in and getting my classes situated. One thing has impressed me the most was that I was so welcomed by the School of Nursing director, faculty, and my course manager from the University of Glasgow.

I am so excited for a semester filled with learning and gaining new perspectives about the culture and health care system in the United Kingdom. Thanks to everyone that has sent me safe travel wishes and told me that you are proud of me. That really means the world to me, and I hope I will not ever disappoint you.


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