Adjusting to Glasgow from abroad

When I first arrived in Glasgow two years ago, there was only one thing I knew for sure – I wanted to avoid Italians. Coming from Italy myself, I wanted to mix up with local to get more into the Scottish culture. Now, my two flatmates are Italian, and so are the other four people in our group of closest friends. And I love that, and them. However, if you’ve just arrived in Glasgow and seem to only meet people from your own country, don’t despair. First, because you’ll learn English anyway even if you hung out with them all the time, you have to go to class after all, right? Secondly, because it’s easier to start going out with people who are culturally more like you, and going out will help you get loose (you’ll be able to see what I did here in a couple of weeks) and meet someone from somewhere else. 

Even though you’ll have heard this a million times already, get involved! Nobody knows you, so you don’t have to be the person you have been so far if you don’t want to. You can change, completely, and become someone else. To get the most out of your time here, whether you’ll stay for a semester or for a seven-years-long architecture degree (God save you), experience things you’ve always wanted to try but never dared to! You are already out of your comfort zone, so don’t stop going further. Try something completely new, there are plenty of options within and without the university environment. Join the Telegraph, for instance. There are many other societies on campus, and besides the International Society, which is entirely focused on you, they are all glad to take foreign students on board and involve them in their activities.

Also, there are lots of things to do and places see if you want to explore the city and Scotland. Take advantage of September, when the weather isn’t too Scottish yet, and get on that early morning bus to the Highlands. In Glasgow take a tour of all the stunning street art the city has to offer, starting from the university campus of course. Then, eat haggis (it’s much better than it sounds), drink Tennent’s and never show your support for either the Celtics nor the Rangers in public. Seriously, don’t. 

If you aren’t that confident about your English, don’t worry, it’s not you, it’s them. But once you’ll get used to the Glaswegian accent, you’ll understand how sexy it is and you’ll start dropping “wee” and “right mate” in every sentence. However, if you still are having some problems communicating, the university offers courses to bring up your level and set you ready for success in the academic year.

Don’t worry anyway, as you’ll begin to feel at home in about two months if you let Glasgow into your heart, and that won’t be too hard. The people will help as well, it’s not just a myth that the Scottish are welcoming and outgoing, must be they make up for the lack of solar heat with human warmth. 

Overall, adjusting to living in Glasgow will be much easier than you expect, but you must be open and willing to accept that not everything will be perfect from the start. You’ll hate the weather for at least all the time you spend here, but you’ll also fall in love with the sunsets from the Necropolis, and on the Clyde, and pretty much everywhere. 

By Tommaso Giacomini