Exchange Diaries: First Impressions of Glasgow

By Cole Meagher (ArtSci ‘ 14)

When asked why I chose to go on exchange by my friends or family, for the longest time I didn’t know what to say. I usually gave a standard response about the beauty of Europe, the opportunity for a unique experience, and that it might just very well be a bit of fun.

It wasn’t until Tuesday morning after 9 hours in the air and a 5-hour time shift that I felt the giddiness of what this experience might bring. As I got off the airport shuttle from Prestwick I made my way to the unofficial city center of Glasgow, called George Square. With the city chambers towering over me I felt very humbled knowing that this building had been sitting here for hundreds of years and built by men long since passed…and I was simply discovering it now. It was an indescribable sight and definitely not like any building you might come across in Canada. At that moment, I realized that this exchange is going to be something I will be talking about for a long time.

While the architecture is quite inspiring here, I’ve really enjoyed the people thus far (both Glaswegians and fellow exchange students). Everyone wants to show off their city, and living with other international students has been great as everyone is in the same boat. I have hit the town both nights and had a lot of fun partying it up with students from Spain, Germany, France and Belgium. Despite the fact that we’re all from different upbringings and home countries, everyone is so positive and interested in the same thing; making the most out of how ever long we have here.

Over the past couple of days I’ve been going out by myself to wander the streets as most students here are in the middle of exams, and it’s been awesome! I love being able to come and go as I please, and it’s given me a lot of time for self-reflection. In this time I have gone back to that question I was confronted with prior to leaving Canada: “Why do I want to do this?” While I am physically far from the people I cherish back at home, Glasgow has given me the unique opportunity to learn from people with different values and backgrounds. I think I will learn a lot about myself as I experience situations where I might be outside of my comfort zone. I think this will challenge me in ways that I haven’t experienced in the comfort of my bubble back at home.

While I’ve only been here a short while, I am anxious that there is too much to do in what little time I have here. I have started to compile a list and will try and tick things off as I go. I do not want to waste a second here.

Cole Meagher will be blogging for QJBlogs as part of our exchange series. Stay tuned!

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