The past week has been a whirlwind of adventure. Last week, I led my second DOC First-Year Trip, and I had to say a hasty goodbye to my newfound ’17 friends because I got straight on the Dartmouth Coach to go to Boston Logan Airport and fly across the Atlantic for the Philosophy FSP in Edinburgh! I flew with two of my fellow FSP’ers, and one of our friends, a ’13 who’s now working in Boston, came to see us off at the airport, which was really lovely. Needless to say, my friends and I dominated the in-flight trivia game as we headed across the ocean. We also narrowly avoided tragedy when we got stuck in security lines and almost missed our connecting flight in London to Edinburgh – on the bright side, now I can say that I’ve legitimately sprinted to get on a plane! Anyways, after all that, we made it to Edinburgh and got settled into our flats, where we’re all living with other students from the university. My flatmates are from Korea, Manchester (UK), and Germany. Living amongst non-Dartmouth students makes it really easy to branch out of our FSP group and make friends from all over the world (not to mention the exposure to so many different cultures. And accents).
We were asked to get to Edinburgh for Freshers’ Week, which is their equivalent of Orientation. However, since many of the activities are directed towards first-year students and not exchange students (a.k.a. us), we have tons of free time to explore the city. One of the first places my friends convinced me to go was the Elephant House, which is the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote down the beginnings of Harry Potter. As if that wasn’t cool enough on its own, the bathrooms at the Elephant House are a shameless shrine to everything Harry and Hogwarts.
Other highlights of my time here so far include going to a karaoke bar with half of the FSP, aimlessly wandering around the city for hours just exploring because I actually have the time to walk around with no destination, and playing pickup frisbee in the Meadows with a local group of frisbee players! The Meadows is also one of my favorite (or favourite, as they spell it here) things about Edinburgh. Imagine if the green at Dartmouth and Central Park in New York City had a baby – that’s the Meadows. A fairly big grassy area just south of the center of the city, it’s always full of people running or playing pickup sports or just relaxing on the grass. It also happens to be very close to my flat, and I really appreciate the opportunity to still be around trees and grass despite the fact that I’m living in a big city. On that note, there’s also a big mountain called Arthur’s Seat that’s east of the city center, and a bunch of people on the FSP are planning to hike it tomorrow! I can’t wait to see Edinburgh from the top. Nature actually is all around. : )