Studying in the UK was something I had set my mind on when I was in school. Fortunately, I got accepted to four of the five universities I’d applied to and was left with making the choice of which offer letter I wanted to accept.
Glasgow seemed like a perfect fit. The University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest institution in the English speaking world, the course curriculum was perfect for me and the city seemed to be an ideal place for me to live and study in. My parents at home, in India were very supportive of this decision but I did get a lot of negative comments about the weather – “it’s always raining there”, “sunny days are far and few in Glasgow” and many more to this effect. I didn’t let any of that affect my decision and I began preparing to leave for Glasgow, my first time living abroad. My excitement and nervousness were in equal measures when I boarded the flight to Glasgow on the 4th September, 2010.
Eleven hours of flying time and a seven hour layover later I WAS IN GLASGOW. From the second I saw the countryside out the flight window, I was in love. Glasgow was (and still is) gorgeous.
The first thing that struck me was how friendly people were — the officials at immigration, the student reps from the university who helped me get to my accommodation and my flat mate who took me out to dinner to The 78, my first day in the city.
My second day in Glasgow I decided to walk through Kelvingrove Park and check out my university. I was gobsmacked when I did. Words can’t describe how magnificent The University of Glasgow is.
After that I got busy with classes, lab work and assignments at the Wolfson Medical School and Yorkhill Hospital. I made many friends along the way and I have some amazing memories of travel, parties and other things great friendships are made of.
I discovered as much of Glasgow as I could and loved playing tour guide to my family and friends who visited. Living in the West End made me partial to the beautiful sights in the area. The Lighthouse on Mitchell Lane with a breath taking view of the city, the city centre with faint sound of the accordion through the hustle and bustle of shoppers, the river Kelvin flowing through the lovely gardens of Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow University in all its splendour and Kelvingrove Museum were just some of the places I never tired of visiting. Every time I went back I found something new that made me fall in love with Glasgow more.
Picnicking in the park, spending a lazy day at the Botanical Gardens and catching up with friends in one of the many pubs and cafes on Ashton Lane, Merchant City or Sauchiehall Street are some of the fondest memories I have of my time in Glasgow.
The weather didn’t bother me at all, for what it lacked in sunny days, Glasgow made up for in friendly faces, pretty gardens and fine single malts. It will definitely take more than one blog post to describe my experience in Glasgow and the impact it had on me. It has been about four years since I’ve been back in India and not a day goes by when I don’t think about my Glasgow memories and smile.
Anandini Swaminathan is a dietitian by profession with a Master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and helps look after her family’s coffee and pepper plantation in India. She is passionate about promoting healthy eating within the community and loves to travel. To find out more, visit her blog at www.confessionsofadietitian.in.