The end of my second semester studying abroad in Scotland
I meant to write this post before I left St. Andrews, but due to golf, saying goodbyes, and packing, it unfortunately didn’t happen. I’m not sure why it took an entire week of being back in the States to prod me to get this done; could’ve been the unpacking and adjusting to life back here, or it could’ve been the fact that I had made my peace with leaving and I wanted to keep it that way. But either way, I figure it’s about time to write my closing post about my year abroad. Warning: this is yet again another long post, and this one is laced with multiple corny stories.
On Thursday, I played my last round of golf in St. Andrews on the Eden Course with Tony, the starter that me and the guys had become close with. We did a little match play and he beat me by 3 holes, but it had to have been one of the best rounds I’ve ever played on the Links. It actually poured from about the 7th hole to the 16th, but since it was my last round we didn’t really have any intention of going in.
You can see one of the better views of the St. Andrews coming around the back nine of the Eden and Strath, and it happened that after the rain stopped, there was a pretty awesome rainbow going right through the middle of the town as we hit 16, 17, and 18. I had the chance to play another round on Friday, the day before I left, but I couldn’t have planned a better final round than the one I played on Thursday. I decided to hold off playing on Friday mostly out of fear of ruining the greatness of the round on the Eden.
I spent Friday night at the Jigger having my last pints of Jigger Ale, and watching golfers hit up the 18th one last time. It was pretty chilly out, and the cold beer didn’t exactly help, but I didn’t really care. I ended up sitting there for 3 hours until it was too cold for me to pick up the glass. I did a lot of amazing things over the course of the year – traveling, meeting new people, living the dream – but I would say more than anything, my best times abroad were spent on the golf course.
Nothing beat just waking up in the morning, rolling out of bed, grabbing some breakfast, and playing 18. I don’t know exactly how many rounds I played, but I would venture to guess I was able to play on average 3 times a week, even with the course having been closed for something like 6 weeks due to snow. I’ve repeated this story a million times, but I’ll make it a million and one: People always ask why an Asian Studies major (that would be me) chose to go to Scotland – my answer is simple, I just wanted to play some golf, and that’s what I did.
I also spent a day or so just walking around town one last time. I finally made it up St. Rules Tower, which other than the Castle Course, gives you the best views of town, and I finally checked out the Castle. Although the Castle was a little disappointing, I had walked by both the Castle and Tower more times than I can count, and it was definitely worth the money to get into them because they were really the only part of town I hadn’t fully explored.
And of course, I spent a few hours getting some Old Course gear as you do if you’re a golfer leaving St. Andrews.
Flight home couldn’t have gone any better. I made it home right on time. I’m sure people are tired of hearing how my flights go, so I’ll end it there.
So there it is, the end of my study abroad experience. Although I won’t really be doing it justice, I can summarize the year in a few sentences to tie it all together. I went abroad simply because I wanted to travel and play golf. I was lucky enough to do more of both than I could’ve ever imagined.
I made it to 11 countries if you count the Vatican; I drank Champagne under the Eiffel Tower, chilled out in coffee houses in Amsterdam, spent nights in Rome eating gelato by the Coliseum and the Trevi, beached it in Barcelona, drank Guinness in Dublin, and did about a million other things.
For a year, I was a member of the St. Andrews Links. I am one of the few people who were lucky enough to play golf on what is considered to be the home of the game – The Old Course at St. Andrews – not to mention the other amazing courses that are part of the links. I went to one of the best schools in the UK, made friends from all over the world, and to top it off, I passed all my classes without a problem.
I wasn’t very emotional those last few days. It wasn’t because I wasn’t going to miss it because believe me I’ve only been home for a few days and I already do, but it was easy to make peace with the fact that I was leaving. Sure, there were a few things I might have changed here or there, but overall, I have zero regrets. It was everything I had wanted and more. Scotland is a great country – people are friendly, the mullet is still a stylish haircut, and both men and women wear skirts, but hey, it’s Scotland.
For one year, I got to live the dream, and I wouldn’t have done it any other way.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below and I’ll get back to you!