When I first moved to Scotland, I was nervous about my options as a vegetarian. I was accustomed to the meat substitutes and vegetarian-friendly menus that cluttered every grocery store and restaurant in Canada. Toronto has a thriving vegan and vegetarian community, with health foods and meat/dairy alternatives gaining popularity every day. After studying in England for a semester in 2016, I knew my choices would be more limited in the UK. It’s far from impossible to maintain a meat-free diet here, but you won’t find a Whole Foods Market or a vegan café on every corner.
Part-time work has always been a priority for me. Everyone has their preferences, but I believe part-time work is essential while studying. Even one shift per week can make you feel more independent and confident with your financial situation; a part-time job provides you with spending money, funds for groceries, and even spare cash for a coffee in the morning.
Living abroad inspires you to travel. It educates you on new places and cultures through the places you visit and the people you meet. Since moving to Scotland, I’ve gained a heightened respect for other cultures, as I’ve spoken to many different people from around the world. The people you meet abroad are reason alone to travel – I now have connections throughout Europe, the United States, Mexico, and even Dubai. These are people I’ve met while studying and working in Aberdeen, but also through travelling. Luckily, travelling while abroad is incredibly easy, even on a student budget.
Christmas is largely celebrated in Canada. When November hits, we settle into the familiar pattern of holiday music, decorations, and classic Christmas movies that seem to play on every channel. If you’re worried about a shortage of festivity in the UK, fear not. Christmas is equally as popular in the UK, if not more popular.
Since high school, I wanted to move to Vancouver. That was my end-goal. I planned to finish my Bachelor’s degree in Toronto and then move across the country to B.C. for my Master’s. For years, I told everyone that I was moving to Vancouver after I graduated. I wanted to study at UBC or Simon Fraser, ski in the Rockies, hike, and visit hip vegetarian restaurants. My plan was set in stone, or so I thought.
Time passes quickly in Aberdeen. The leaves drop without warning and the sun sets earlier every day. It’s hard to believe that two months have passed since the beginning of the semester. I’ve submitted essays, worked on group projects, and given presentations. Yet, I still feel as if I only arrived last week.