Hey everyone! I’m Maya Armas, a third-year Game Design Major at Champlain. I somehow found myself swept away to the mysterious land of Scotland to study at Abertay University for a semester. I would like to put some stuff in context, for most of my life I’ve only ever had a handful of close friends, and the farthest I ever traveled was to Ecuador to meet my great-grandmother for her 100th birthday. I have never traveled across the Atlantic with or without my family, so that is why this is so strange, and I have Champlain to blame. I left the coziness of NYC to go to Burlington to study and since then I’ve wanted to see the world.
I was given the opportunity to study abroad through an Exchange Program with Abertay University. Discussing my interest in seeing the world and studying different cultures with my advisor had resulted in me learning about the Abertay exchange. I’ll admit that I wanted to see the world but I was scared of making that step out of my comfort zone. But I am glad I did, as this time in Scotland will give me opportunities to grow in my communication skills and expand my worldview.
Something I picked up quite early was how friendly the people in this little city of Dundee are. I was told this is the sunniest city in Scotland and a common joke amongst locals is that if it was this sunny everywhere then the rest of Scotland would be just as friendly. It also helps that this is a college town so there are a lot of people from all over the globe and shopkeepers are thankfully not annoyed if asked to repeat something multiple times.
Coming from NYC has put me at a disadvantage here since I am so used to buildings everywhere, but in this peaceful town, there are few tall buildings and so much foliage and waterfront it is honestly breathtaking. Even the architecture is something to marvel at as most of the buildings are quite old, but this leads to some weirdness as I once saw a martial arts studio in an old church and a chiropractor’s office in a repurposed bank.
For anyone interested in coming to this town I will warn you that discerning all the different coins that make up UK pounds is quite a difficult task, but people here are patient and no one will rush you. I would also like to warn you that our English is a bit more different from theirs than we realize, especially in what we call our herbs, for example, “rocket” is arugula and “coriander” is cilantro. However, after a week here it is easy to navigate the city and find the differences in UK English and American English. My last tip is that Domino’s tastes exactly the same here so if you need late night food that is still a wonderful option.
I can’t wait to complete my semester here and really learn more about life on this side of the ocean.