Written by Allie Parker (U.S. - Indiana)
Study abroad changed my life. I know, I know. Everyone who has ever studied abroad claims that the experience changed their life. Here is how it changed mine:
I’ve always been the kind of person who prefers to be busy. I like to feel that I’m doing something or being productive. But, I’ll admit that sometimes I make myself too busy. I’ve struggled with slowing down, until I came to Scotland.
I studied abroad at the University of Edinburgh, through the Institute for Study Abroad-Butler University (IFSA-Butler). The program handled our housing, transportation, etc. I was matched with an apartment for 12 students and these people became my best friends. For many reasons, I chose to stay in Edinburgh with them instead of jetting off to a different city every weekend. Because my friends were from Britain, I was able to truly learn what it meant to live like a local instead of feeling like a tourist, which allowed me to tour and get to know the city like a local too.
While I was abroad, my only commitments were go to class and explore. I knew that this experience was going to end, so I tried to absorb every moment by doing something I’ve never done... slow down. I walked everywhere! Instead of being a tourist in my host city, I embraced the culture like it was my own. I walked back alleys, found amazing views, ate at different cafes every week (although I do have my favorites), and was able to enjoy the present. I was in charge of my life. Not the clock, not my obligations, but me. I found joy in being by myself, in finding my own experiences and taking my time.
Scotland will forever hold a place in my heart, and I am so grateful for the lessons that I continue to learn a year after returning home. Study abroad has changed my life for the better; even though I need a reminder sometimes, slowing down is something I try to practice in my everyday life.
Restaurants & Cafes:
*Hover over each picture to reveal the restaurant's name