An American (Almost) in Dundee

Christina Hiking in the North Cascades

My name is Christina, I’m 32 years of age and I’m an American.  I am currently waiting for my Tier 4 Visa approval to come back from the lovely, wonderful (are you reading this, Visa people?) folks in New York to decide that I’m worthy of studying in Scotland.

I also like long walks in the mountains…

Nope.  Definitely sounds like a singles ad.  *sigh*  I suppose most Internet introductions come across like an ad for the desperately seeking, so please just bear with me here while I get all of the required details out of the way:

As stated above, I’m a 32-year old American who will soon be studying at Dundee.  Yes, I’m old and was once a member of the full-time had-a-real-grown-up-job in the big-scary-world adult club.  Don’t worry, if you aren’t already “old” like me, you will be one day!  It’s actually quite an amazing period in one’s life, these thirties.  I used to think I knew who I was and what I wanted, and then BAM!

Enter: Epiphany.

I was standing on Luinne Bheinn out on Knoydart Peninsula one month after my 30th birthday and it hit me like a meteor hitting the earth: I had a severe dislike for the life I was living because I was living it in neutral.

So, how did I wind up at Dundee?

The short version:  I spent another year at my job and saved money.  I then packed up my car and headed for Washington State while taking a nonsensical – the route, not the trip – 6,000 mile driving, hiking, and camping trip through the US in order to decompress before starting a new phase of my life.

Oh, did I mention I left without a job lined up?

Insane, I know, but I had well laid contingency plans if I couldn’t find a solid job within the first few weeks.  One of those contingency plans included applying to schools, which then branched out into applying to foreign schools; I mean, why not?  I have precisely zero children, zero animals, and no husband.

Having fallen in love with Scotland in 2014, I immediately began researching schools in the UK.  I wanted a university with a good reputation, one with a great location (hi, Cairngorms and Loch Lomond, anyone?), and one that continually showed advancement: Dundee offered all of those.

I applied for the Masters in European Studies and History program, thinking it was a long shot, but here I (almost) am!

It’s so strange to know that I will be of the same age as some of my professors and older than most of my fellow college students.  I have also lived outside the safety net that is school while many of my peers will just be learning what it’s like to live away from home.

What I am excited about is the chance to be able to contribute by sharing the things I have learned; both the hard lessons and the simple truths.  I don’t pretend to know everything, I just know that if I can help someone ease into the aforementioned big scary world or bring something more to the table during discussions, I will know that this decision to completely uproot my life was a good one.

I look forward to sharing my experience out on the hills, along the rivers, and out at sea with you as I adapt to university life as a “mature student” (this seems to be the pre-approved term for us non-traditional students), and joyfully adapt to living in the rugged beauty of Scotland.

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    4 Responses to “An American (Almost) in Dundee”

    1. Rebecca Trengove

      Hi Christina,
      sounds like you already know the Scottish hills well (not many Scots have even been in Knoydart) but you might be interested in the Rucksack club when you get here https://www.durc.org.uk/. Or pop along to the marketing office – am happy to talk mountains any time! Look forward to meeting you
      best regards
      Rebecca

    2. George Williams

      Hi Christina. I, too, am a ‘mature student’ from the US. I actually came over in 2011 and did a masters at Aberdeen. I fell in love with Scotland and when I found Dundee I decided to stay and do a PhD. This country is addictive, in a very good way. Good luck to you in your studies.

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