Today marks the start of my second week of classes and my third week in Edinburgh! The first week here was freshers week, full of social events, society meetings, and signingup for listservs. Roaming around the activities fair and going to different events allowed me to meet many new people and find what I actually want to be a part of here. A lot of the other American exchange students already have plans to travel around Europe over weekends, but I have yet to make any plans. I decided that I’d prefer to focus on my experience in Edinburgh and forming bonds with the people here. That’s why I applied to societies with substantial time and energy commitments. The two that I was most excited about were the acapella community and a consulting organization called FreshSight that provides free services to charities and nonprofits in Edinburgh. I was fortunate enough to be offered places in both societies, but had to decline the consulting position because it met at the same time as acapella rehearsals. Despite the bittersweetness of the situation, I’m ecstatic to be performing and competing with Tone Up, the co-ed acapella group that I am now a part of! In addition, I planning on getting involved with the Swing Dance Society and Tea Society, but I’m still looking for service opportunities that interest me.
With all that, I’m balancing my academics. I was told by multiple people that I would be in class a lot less here than at Georgetown, but my schedule is pretty similar to my semesters in which I had 12 or 15 credits at GU even though I’m only taking 3 classes at Edinburgh. My lectures and tutorials fill about 9 or 10 hours of my week. From the syllabi, it looks like the homework load will be similar too. In the first week, I’ve had about 1- 2 hours of homework and readings for each hour that I’ve had class. All of my classes seem super interesting, and I am HYPE to delve deeper into them. My Gaelic language class is so intriguing. I love learning how to pronounce words and knowing what sound each letter (or group of letters) make. There’s a history component of this course, too, which has been enlightening and has helped me understand Scotland better. My other two linguistics classes are probably going to be more challenging. Both Universals of Language and Evolution and Origins of Language are honors levels courses which means that they’re grad classes that third and fourth year undergrads can take if they want a challenge. It’s not only rigor that’ll be tough, though. The linguistics classes here are super sciencey. I’ve done many readings on evolution, watched a lot of animal communication clips, and had to brush up on my math skills in the past week for these classes. At Georgetown, however, the linguistics classes are more people based, and linguistics is presented from more of an anthropological view. I’m looking forward to studying it from this angle and challenging my previously held beliefs about linguistic theory.
Lastly, I thought it would take longer, but my room and flat are actually feeling like home. I think that’s more than partly due to my lovely flatmates. We live in Kincaid’s Court, and, while it’s definitely old, I’m really happy with it. My double room is bigger than any of the doubles I’ve seen at Georgetown and everything in the kitchen works! (Unfortunately the elevator doesn’t though, and I live on the 6th floor so it’s been quite the workout!) Once or twice a week the university has a custodian come in and clean the common room and kitchen, and Residential Living has given us a vacuum, three saucepans, a frying pan, and an electric kettle! I am absolutely loving having a kitchen and cooking for myself. And, cooking together has been a wonderful way to bond with my flatmates! We cook dinner together once a weekend so we can catch up, eat some good food, and end with dessert to propel us into the next week.
Cheers to a great semester full of adventure and new friendship!