Tellus: (tel’us), n. 1. [Latin] earth, soil, and the land; a country; the world. 2. a collection of Willamette University student’s insights, stories, photos and thoughts from their experiences studying abroad.

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I Had the Chance to Change My Fate (And I Did)

We all love to hate a cheesy Disney/Pixar trope or  message (while actually kind of really loving it anyway). Although it wasn’t my first choice, I was really excited by the prospect of studying abroad in Scotland. And though I was offered a spot in Glasgow, far away from the Highland setting of Brave, I have to admit that when I first read the line saying “University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland,” all I could hear in my head was Merida’s brogue chanting, “If yeh had tha chance te chenge yer feit, woodjyoo?”  I can now admit with only a little embarrassment to most people who ask that this saying was a big inspiration during my time abroad. I wanted to make my time in Glasgow mean something. I wanted to explore. I wanted to grow. And I think I achieved all those things thanks to a corny slogan from a children’s movie (which yes, I did rush to see on opening weekend).

Moving overseas for 4 months is scary. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. And while it gets less scary over time, it doesn’t necessarily get any easier. Being over 5,ooo miles away from family, friends, significant others, favorite TV shows, familiar stores, and easy to understand accents was something that stuck with me during my entire trip. But a couple things that make all that seem a little less daunting are all the amazing people you meet and the incredible memories you make with them.It was hard to pick from so many pictures and memories, but below are just a few pictures of the people and places that made my trip pretty darn close to Disney Magic.

One of my favorite parts of studying abroad was the diverse group of people I befriended. In this picture, one of my flatmates, two boys from downstairs, and I went to Christmas carnival that was only a few minute’s walk from campus. I’m on the left, sporting my purple ‘do; next to me is Val from Bulgaria; next is Ronnie, from a town called Stirling that’s between Glasgow and Edinburgh; last is Steph from Inverness, way up in the Highlands.

I had to inclue a picture of the room in my flat of course! Each block had four flats of 6 people with a common kitchen/living room area and shared toilet and shower rooms. My flat was really eclectic and consisted of myself, Steph (Inverness), Annie (Edinburgh), Desi (Bulgaria), Angela (Spain), and Marie (France).

I went on several day trips all over the country in my time abroad. This is a picture I took in the small town of Inverary, on the way to the costal town of Oban. The town used to be located a little down the road, but one day the Duke of Argyll, whose castle was in the center of town, decided he didn’t like all those people crowding his space. Apparently, it’s good to be the duke as well as the king.

I was so lucky to be able to go home with my Bulgarian flatmate Desi for a week in December. Honestly, the only thing I knew about Bulgaria before hand was that Viktor Krum from Harry Potter was from there. The experience was absolutely amazing and not one I would exchange for the world. In this picture, the two of us and her high school friend Valentina are in front of a monument built in memory of the Bulgarian national hero Vasil Levski, who was integral in gathering support for the revolution against the Ottoman Empire.

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