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October 29, 2019

By Kyra Christie ‘21

PARIS, France — We’re in Week 10 of Asbury University’s Paris Semester, and I just returned from visiting a friend in Scotland. If you can imagine places more opposite to France, Scotland would be high on the list. Compared to the elegant wrought iron railings and delicate cafes that line the streets of Paris, Edinburgh is made up of thick and heavy stone that has felt the wear of thousands of dreary, rainy days.

And while France’s history is full of the rise and fall of Kings and revolutions, Scotland provides a history just as old with warring clans in kilts. The hearty food of haggis and porridge had the simple purpose of providing substance and warmth in the constant cold, far from the delicate croissants and macarons that make the perfect Parisian Instagram picture. And yet, the roughness and simplicity of Scotland provided the perfect amount of intrigue and comfort to cure my mid-semester blues.

After living in Paris for the past two months, one could imagine the daily frustrations from not understanding the language, as well as being an introvert in a very extraverted city. Simply stated, I was excited to explore a smaller city without worrying about how to say hello and goodbye.

My trip lasted only a few days, snuck in between busy class days. Though short, it was something I will never forget. The first few days consisted of exploring Glasgow and Edinburgh, two cities in the south of Scotland. Glasgow is a more modern city, while Edinburgh includes traditional architecture that comes with centuries of history. Though this city holds the crown jewels of Scotland, I couldn’t help myself from being completely fascinated by the various locations that inspired J.K. Rowling’s famous books scattered throughout the streets.

My last day was spent touring the Highlands of Scotland, visiting countryside castles, coastal towns and the various rolling glens and lochs that accompany the North. In just a few hours of driving, the landscape, which was quite similar to Kentucky’s, was transformed from a flat modern city to towering mountains. It was here with scattered rain and sheep in the distance, that I could fully appreciate the beauty of Scotland and its culture.

I am still amazed by how easy and casual traveling to different countries is here in Europe. Even though there is a definite learning curve for traveling alone internationally, once I took that first step towards the train, I immediately felt more confident and independent. There is a freedom here that encourages you to go out and experience the world and everything that God has made in it, and I hope that everyone has the opportunity one day to feel this kind of freedom. I’m thankful to have that opportunity on Asbury’s Paris Semester.