Studying abroad introduces a whole world of new concerns and things that must be addressed once you arrive. How are you going to travel from place to place? What does a normal week look like for a local resident? Where can I get groceries and why is there no _________? These are all such general questions that need to be answered. They all have one thing in common: they are all matters that you must handle. But what about all of the things that other people (locals) have to address once they interact with you? How the locals treat and address you can—and most likely will—have an extreme impact on your experience. In Glasgow, the locals (and even those just visiting) have been more kind than the people I see everyday in classes and around town back in my own city.
Somebody just taking the time to talk to you and hear about your time in Scotland could really make your day, and be a useful way to learn more about the city! I cannot count the amount of pubs, restaurants, events, shops, etc. that I have only heard about since somebody started a conversation with me and recommended something to me after a wee chat. Looking for a delicious “hole in the wall” cuisine? Next time you’re chatting with a local, ask them then get ready for the list of their favorite places to eat. A lot of this may be since I am an American and sometimes people just want to “chat with the American”, but any sense of kindness and conversation is equally met here.
Long story short, the people in Glasgow, Scotland are some of the most kind general population I have ever met. From the employees in stores, restaurants, and service areas to random people in pubs and on the street, it is astounding the level of kindness you encounter. On multiple occasions just on my walk to campus or out in the city, I have had lengthy conversations with random individuals I would otherwise never have never met. Will everybody be overly friendly to you on your trip abroad? Most definitely not. I’d only be surprised if you visited and never found a nice local to chat with. Just be ready to explain where your home city is located.
Matthew Penzinski is a student at University of Findlay. He is an ISA Featured Blogger and is currently studying abroad with ISA in Glasgow, Scotland.