Life as an International Student in Scotland

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.  

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Three Lochs Forest Walk – Photography by Marianna Marcelline

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.

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Three Lochs Forest Walk – Photography by Marianna Marcelline

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

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