Hello from Scotland!

Happy New Year and happy spring semester!! I am writing from the beautiful city of Edinburgh, Scotland.  Tomorrow marks two weeks since I arrived and I am loving my time here.

I am studying this spring semester at the University of Edinburgh as a study abroad student.  Classes started last Monday, so I am in my second week of classes.  I am taking three philosophy classes over here: (1) Philosophy of Well-Being, (2) Puzzles and Paradoxes, and (3) Logic, Computability, and Incompleteness.

Classes here are quite different from how they are in America – for example, I only have each class once a week.  The grades (which they call “marks”) are also very different – a 70 is an A here, and it is extremely difficult to get a 70.  I do not think anything will prepare me for receiving my first mark here – I am so used to mid-60s being a failing grade, but here that is a good grade!

I love my classes so far, especially Puzzles and Paradoxes.  I find the material for this class especially fascinating!! Last week, we discussed the question “What came first: the chicken or the egg?”.  This week, we discussed the Liar Paradox, which has many different formulations, but one of these is “This sentence is false.”  I am looking forward to learning about some other paradoxes in the coming weeks!

Having fewer hours in lecture means I have a great deal of independent work, so I have kept myself busy with that.  However, I still have quite a bit of free time to participate in the University’s social events and explore!

I have attended so many events already, but the most stereotypically Scottish are definitely the “Taste of Scotland” held the first night I arrived and the ceilidh held on Friday.  At Taste of Scotland, I witnessed the Address to a Haggis, which involved a dramatic reading of a Robert Burns poem by a man in a kilt, and a procession with another kilted man playing bagpipes.  Then, we all ate haggis, neeps, and tatties (Sound Scottish enough?).   Here are photos:

New friends and kilted Scottish men! (Jennifer, Me, anonymous kilted bagpipe player, Carla, Alex, Bobby, anonymous kilted poem reader)

Address to a Haggis

Haggis (brown), Neeps (orange), and Tatties (white)

The ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee), hosted by EUSA (Edinburgh University Students Association) was the first of several throughout the semester, and it is a social gathering featuring Gaelic music and dancing.  And yes, there were more kilted men here – this time, though, students!

And as far as exploring and traveling…

I still have a great deal of exploring to do around Edinburgh – good thing I have all semester 🙂 For now, I know the area surrounding my flat the best.  I was very lucky to end up where I did; I live a 10-15 minute walk from main campus in Meadow Court student housing.  I have my own room in a four-person flat; two of my flatmates are first-year students at the university, and one of my flatmates is a fellow study abroad student from the United States.  They are all very sweet girls and I am glad to live with them! My favorite part about this location is what is practically in my backyard (well, I don’t actually have a backyard, but this is a one-minute walk from my door)… The Meadows 😀 Here is a photograph I took of the Meadows (I actually took this from the opposite side as the side I live near because I wanted Arthur’s Seat in the background!)

Speaking of Arthur’s Seat… I climbed it on Friday! Arthur’s Seat was formed by an extinct volcano, and it is part of a group of hills in Holyrood Park in Edinburgh.  I climbed it with my friend Alex (from University of Scranton!) and some new friends she introduced me to: Angela, Rachel, and Sarah. Here are some photos I took during the climb:

View of Edinburgh (this wasn’t even taken from the top!)

Panorama of Edinburgh – click to enlarge!

On Saturday, I went on the International Student Center trip to St. Andrews, which was lovely! It was bitterly cold but the sights and structures were beautiful.  Alex also went on the trip, and we got brunch at Northpoint Cafe, which I strongly recommend… in fact, my temptation to go back to Saint Andrews is largely fueled by that cafe.  I got one of their griddle melts: ciabatta with goat cheese, roasted bell peppers, pesto, and spinach.  Oh my gosh, I want another.  Moving on… here are photos from St. Andrews!

View of St. Andrews from St. Rule’s Tower

Panorama of St. Andrews from the MUSA (Museum of the University of St. Andrews) viewing terrace – click to enlarge!

Like I said, I went on this trip with the International Student Center, or the ISC.  I have so much to say about the ISC, so I will definitely write all about that soon! (But in summary for right now… I LOVE IT)

Last thing for this week’s entry… Monday’s happenings.  Alex and I went to Scotland’s very first cat cafe, Maison de Moggy, conveniently located right in Edinburgh.  It was absolutely adorable and such a fun, happy, and relaxing experience! Of course, photos:

This is Guillaume 🙂

Me and Guillaume!

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more adventures!

– Tori

Ms. Victoria J. Malstrom

Welcome to my blog! My name is Tori Malstrom and I am from Baltimore, Maryland. I am a junior at the University of Scranton. I am majoring in Mathematics and Philosophy and minoring in Criminology. I am in SJLA, which is the Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program. Currently, I am studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. In my free time I love reading, cooking, listening to music, and playing piano and guitar. I love animals, especially my dog Molly :) If you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment directly on my blog posts. Thanks for stopping by, and please stay as long as you'd like!

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