2015 Fall Arcadia University Evan McCullough External Programs Scotland

Friends in New Places

This is a blog post about my friends.

I’ve met a lot of really great people since coming to Scotland over a month ago, and even though it feels like I haven’t been here for that long, it feels like I’ve known some of the friends I’ve made for much longer. Some of them I met at my Arcadia orientation in Edinburgh, while others I met here at Alexander Court. In either case, I’m astounded at how quickly I have gotten comfortable with these people, and how close many of us have grown.

My Arcadia friends are Ben, Rose, and Rosalie. I usually don’t like the whole orientation, first-day-of-class thing and the forced interaction it entails. However, the two days I spent in Edinburgh were a lot of fun, and the people I met there remain some of my closest friends in Scotland. A few of my orientation friends went to the Glasgow School of Art, so I haven’t seen them since the first week (with the exception of Gaelen, a fellow Owl, whom I saw this past weekend during an excursion through the Highlands). But outside of my housemates, I probably see Ben, Rose, and Rosalie the most, even though they live halfway across campus. We go into town together and take turns hanging out in each other’s places of residence. I’ve even discussed with Rosalie, who is also from Philly, the idea of making cheesesteaks for my housemates. It still surprises me how bonded I feel with them just because of those few days of orientation, but now I can’t imagine Scotland without them. As they are the first friends I made when I arrived, they are the closest thing to home that I have here.

In the month since orientation ended I’ve grown exceedingly close to the people I live with, as well as the people who live next door to me. I often go to the student union bar to watch football (soccer) or rugby with Levi and Frederik. I play Mario Kart with Cameron, Till (both of them), and Javi. A few days ago Levi and I went to the Stirling University girls’ basketball game to watch our neighbor Maite play, and just last night I went to see The Martian with Cameron, Till (just one of them), Ben, Rose, and three of the girls next door, Sarah, Sofi, and Libby.

Till (left; eyes closed) and Levi (right), with the Wallace Monument in the background
Till (left, eyes closed) and Levi (right) in my backyard, with the William Wallace Monument faintly visible in the background.

My point is, I like pretty much everyone I’ve met in my short time overseas. I’m batting close to a thousand when it comes to people I’ve met that I actually get along with. Those numbers are unheard of to me when I’m home. Maybe I’m more closed off when I’m home and comfortable—I don’t doubt that at all. But I think there is something to be said about how closed off others are at home as well. Here, being surrounded by so many international students, it seems to me that everyone is out of their element. People are willing to let their guard down and to make friends for no reason other than to be friendly. My experience abroad has really reaffirmed my faith in human kindness, and it’s shown me that no matter where I go, chances are I would be able to bond with at least one other person over Mario Kart or karaoke. Friends can be made anywhere, and I’m extremely thankful for the ones I’ve made so far.

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