Arthur’s Seat

At the beginning of April, my brothers came to visit Scotland for a few days.  We spent the long weekend in Edinburgh and I got to check another thing off of my to-do list for the city: hike Arthur’s Seat. This is a hill in the middle of Edinburgh that when you hike it, offers incredible views of the city.

top of a hill overlooking Edinburgh
view from the top

The entire hike up was also really beautiful and I couldn’t believe we were still in the city.

hill surrounded by green grass and a blue sky
on the way up
pond with birds flying and a blue sky
the view before even beginning to hike

I would not consider myself a skilled hiker or even a casual one but this hike was definitely doable and completely worth it.  I spent a lot of time in Edinburgh over the past year and Arthur’s Seat was one of my favorite things about the city.

two people selfie overlooking edinburgh
selfie for our mom<3

The Highlands

Back in November, my parents came to visit me in Scotland. We spent some time in Edinburgh and they visited St Andrews for a day.  The real highlight, however,  of this visit was going to the Scottish Highlands. We went on a day trip that took us up and around various parts of the Highlands. Our first stop was a farm to see the beautiful hairy cows that are a staple of Scotland.

We saw picturesque landscapes and villages like Glencoe which is pictured below.

Mountains and river photographed from a bridge

We even went up to Loch Ness. I won’t reveal whether or not we spotted the Loch Ness monster… you’ll have to go and see for yourself.

three people in front of a lake with a cartoon montser in the back
nessie, my parents & I

Seeing my parents and showing them Scotland was so special to me. I hadn’t been up to the Highlands before this so it was awesome to all experience that together.  Although it was months ago, I still think about this trip and week with my parents often and wanted to share it with the blog!


A Hint of Spring

Classes are quickly coming to an end here in St Andrews and Spring is making an appearance. The days have been warmer and the sun out for much longer. The nicer days means spending more time by the ocean, one of my favorite places in St Andrews. On one of the first nice days, I spent my time in between classes sitting on a bench over-looking the ocean and ruins.

As the days get longer and warmer, my time abroad get shorter. I am trying to take it all in and make the most of my last month here. The warmer weather and the beauty of St Andrews will definitely make it more difficult to leave!

sunset over town
sunset over Market Street

Raisins, Minions and Foam Oh My!

While the semester is in full swing with assignments and due dates, I wanted to share some moments from my first semester here at St Andrew’s. Being abroad for the academic year means being able to get the full experience of the university.

One of the big traditions here is academic families. This is where older students “adopt” first years of any kind. So even as a junior abroad, you can become a member of a family. I met my family randomly going out one night with a friend. It’s a way to get to know people and then take part in other school traditions like Raisin Weekend. On Sunday of that weekend, I met my family super early (6 am early) to head down to the beach for games and challenges. I am not an early riser but it was worth it that day. We played games, saw the sunrise, and even a rainbow over the beach with all the other academic families. Afterward, we went back to the ‘parents’ house for brunch and more games. Then we, the kids, participated in a scavenger hunt around the town. It was a fun bonding experience with my academic family and Sunday ended with a party at my academic parents’ house.

The fun doesn’t stop there though. The next day all of the academic families participate in a massive foam fight on the quad. The parents dress up their kids in silly costumes and watch from the sidelines. See below to see my minion costume in its full glory. Emma, a fellow Holy Cross student, had a great beard drawn on her by her parents. Which one of us had it worse is the real question.  I will be honest, I don’t really know where the name Raisin comes from because no raisins were in sight when I participated. But despite the confusing name, it is a super fun tradition at St Andrews and one I recommend participating in if you get the chance!

A Few Days in Edinburgh

This past week St Andrews was on break. So, my friends from home came to visit and we spent a few days in Edinburgh. I’ve visited Edinburgh a few times and each time I go, my love for the city grows.

During our first day, jetlag and exhaustion hit hard. So we had afternoon tea and spent the rest of the day relaxing and walking around the city a little. 

The second day, everyone was well rested and we started our day with a tour of Edinburgh Castle. This exceeded my expectations and I highly recommend to anyone visiting Edinburgh. It has great views of the city and there is a ton to see up there.

There are old prisons, crown jewels,  memorials, chapels and canons galore!

Our afternoon was spent seeing Victoria Street, shopping and grabbing some fish & chips. Fun fact: Victoria Street was the inspiration for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter!

The next day was our last full day together and again we walked around, shopping and enjoying what the city has to offer. One of the prettiest places in Edinburgh is Princes Street Garden, which has a spectacular view of the castle.

We then stopped at the Scottish National Museum where we only got a picture with Dolly, the first cloned mammal. The museum is full of cool stuff but Dolly is definitely a standout.

three girls in front of sheep at a musuem
Dolly and Molly and friends!

My favorite thing we did was a drinks making potion class which definitely fits in with the magical vibe of Edinburgh.

With only a few days with my friends, we managed to fit in a lot of fun.  and it was special to see them after six months apart. Edinburgh is one of my favorite cities and I loved being able to share a piece of Scotland with my friends. 

Superbowl in Scotland

While a big part of studying abroad is about immersing yourself in the local culture, sometimes an American tradition makes its way in. 

The semester is in full swing and even with deadlines looming, last Sunday my friends and I had to make time to watch the Superbowl. One of the local pubs had advertised that they would be playing the game and we couldn’t resist. I wasn’t sure what to expect for Superbowl Sunday in a small Scottish town, especially with the time difference. The game didn’t start until 11:30 pm and went into the early morning. 

But I wasn’t disappointed. The pub was busy and everyone was into the game. They even had gameday food like wings and loaded fries.

I have to admit that I am not the biggest football fan (neither American nor European football) and the main attraction was Rihanna of course. However, it was a wicked fun night. We had to celebrate arguably one of the most important US holidays and it was especially cool to see such a tradition in another country.

Eating Like Royalty

One of my favorite things about the town of St Andrews is all of the different cafes and restaurants they have. Last semester, my friend, Emma, and I would grab lunch weekly when I would have a break between classes. We decided to continue the tradition into this semester. We have a few different places we like to go but a personal favorite is North Point Cafe. Outside it is advertised as the place “Where Kate met Will for coffee” as in Kate and Will of the royal family. Fun fact, they attended St Andrews as undergrads. So we’re basically eating like royalty. Well more like eating like college students but the idea is there! 

The food is the big selling point though. My go-to is a mocha latte with oat milk and a bagel with bacon and eggs with cheese. It reminds me of something I’d get from home at a diner, just with a UK twist. Aside from the food, the environment is also super cute. 

This cafe is just one of many that we frequent throughout the town and part of what makes St Andrews fun. A must-visit if you’re ever in St Andrews.

First Week of a Second Semester

Hi Everyone!

My name is Molly and I am starting my second semester studying abroad at St Andrews, Scotland. Welcome to the blog!

This week was our first week of classes. To me, there is always something exciting in starting a new semester of classes, even though I’m not necessarily thrilled about getting back to work. My first class of the semester was an English class focused on Jane Austen. Meeting new people and a new professor is something I love about a new semester and this class in particular seems exciting. Jane Austen has been on my list to read forever, an English major rite of passage honestly. So now I have no excuse to put it off.  Early morning classes are rough but the beauty of St Andrews makes it more bearable.

My second class of the semester is an intro philosophy class about reasoning. This 200-ish person lecture is very different from the small classes I’m used to at Holy Cross. I had a few of these large lecture style classes last semester. At first, these large classes scared me but I’ve found that like small classes they have their pros and cons. I haven’t been to my last class, Developmental Psych, yet but have a good feeling about it.

I’ve found that some parts of studying abroad aren’t so different from life at Holy Cross. I’ve spent the week trying to find a routine with my classes and getting back into school mode. One perk of being abroad for the year is getting to come back already familiar with the school/town so it is more about adjusting to the work load and class schedule. 

I’m excited for this next semester here at St Andrews and to take you guys along with me.

Until next time!