Glasgow offers an open, multicultural and benevolent environment. It is populated by beautiful, comedic, and passionate people who come from varying backgrounds. Living here as a minority for the past two and a half years has been a mixed blessing. Often, it is convenient that I can usually make friends from different (or same) nations (other international students), especially around campus, just by being an international student myself.
However, sometimes I find it challenging to establish common ground with new people (only due to the differences in culture)– I can sometimes come off as too forward, which has very obviously spooked some people! This learning journey has brought about changes in my life, reshaped my core values as I would never have imagined. More so, it has made me value my culture even more.
The incredible experiences I have had with friends and strangers during my time here were unforgettable. From dancing and karaoke-ing with friends and strangers in HIVE, conversing with middle-aged Scottish men in local pubs about their hot takes on British politics, to travelling and camping with friends on some highland farmer’s backyard. There have always been kind-hearted people who are just looking for a good time.
I feel that there has been no place more welcoming to foreigners and minorities in the world than Scotland. I would encourage any BAME person to enjoy the treasures of Scotland, whether it be going to a local pub, joining a ceilidh, whisky tasting in Islay, going to local music gigs, or travel the stunning Highlands either alone or with friends – you will undoubtedly be mesmerized by the loving people of Scotland you meet along the way.
By Val Piekarsa