Scotland, Europe is the home to bagpipes, haggis and many people. Scotland, USA is a home to many of us. At Alma, we have taken pride in our Scottish heritage and traditions for many years. Let’s take a look at the culture and daily life of the citizens of Scotland.
Government in Scotland is ran by a monarch but also has a parliament. Queen Elizabeth II is the current queen with Nicola Sturgeon as the first minister. Scotland is also a member of the UK (United Kingdom) and the EU (European Union).
“Something I noticed about Scotland, especially in the smaller cities, was the amazing community feel. We had the opportunity to go and join a small community for a Scottish dancing party, and everyone was extremely friendly and close,” said Sam Lindeman (‘20).
Em Witteveen (‘19) had a different experience. “Everyone is so quiet there. Restaurants were like graveyards and even if we were whispering it still felt like we were the loudest ones in the place.”
Contrary to the rest of the United Kingdom, it is law in Scotland that all of its fifteen universities are totally funded by the parliament. Students will get full tuition for their undergraduate degrees, but any degree past that they will have to pay for. The “Open University”, which is online college, makes up for 40% of part-time undergraduate students studying at universities in Scotland. St. Andrews University is the oldest university being founded in 1413.
The most common ways of traveling in Scotland are by train or car. “In Scotland, we mostly drove around in a coach bus. In the larger cities, like Glasgow, the streets were always packed. But when we were driving from city to city, there weren’t many cars driving around the countryside,” said Lindeman.
Witteveen, again, had a another take. “Travel is wild. Driving on the wrong side of the road, even if I was never actually behind the wheel, is nerve-wracking. Every time we went the wrong way around a roundabout, I had a mini heart attack. Also, there are a bunch of giant camper vans and tiny roads. Most bridges are only wide enough for one vehicle at a time.”
The food in Scotland is quite different when compared to the United States. Scotland does have some other European influences but many of its traditional foods have been around for a long time. One interesting thing about the cuisine in Scotland is that they don’t use a lot of spices. This is because in the past spices were expensive so Scottish people rely on simple foods.
“When we first arrived, we ate a traditional Scottish breakfast including potato scones, roasted tomatoes, and haggis. It was absolutely delicious.” Said Lindeman. “Having Scottish heritage and being able to experience the culture through delicious food was such an awesome thing.”
Witteveen had quite an experience at Loch Ness. “I went swimming in Loch Ness. It was absolutely freezing, and all the locals thought we were nuts. It was about 48 degrees and there was a cryptozoologist parked on the beach in a Volkswagen van proudly displaying his newspaper clippings proving Nessie’s existence. It was an experience.”
In a final note, Lindeman said, “Being in Scotland and having the opportunity to hike and see some amazing historical sites was awesome. It’s such a beautiful country, and I hope I have the opportunity to visit again.”