Passports

Dispatches from Abroad

Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010 9:53 a.m.

Updates from Tess, studying in Edinburgh

by admin

Photo courtesy of Tess Malone.

After a month in Edinburgh, I’m finally hitting my stride. Classes have started, all three of them. Needless to say, I have plenty of time to scope out the city. I can find my way around the cobblestoned streets to every adorable bakery in town, but I still trip over the uneven stones as a warning to not go overboard with that delicious millionaire’s shortbread. Most importantly, I now know my favorite drink at the pub, but that was a learning experience.

When you’re studying abroad, the roles of tourist and student blur. There are certain things you have to do once just to say you’ve done them – like pull an all-nighter – that you would never do again. Going on a pub-crawl is another.

The pub-crawl is a mainstay of fresher culture and how most student societies kick off their year. Edinburgh may have a plethora of nerdy societies like the Literature Society, but they don’t just sit around and discuss theory every week—all society nights end at a pub.

If almost being thrown out of the first pub because you didn’t have a passport on you for ID constitutes a bad night, I would say my Literature Society pub-crawl started off terribly. After missing the first 45 minutes of the night to literally run back to my flat to retrieve my passport, I was worried that the party had started without me. Luckily though, the Literature Society provided a good icebreaker: At the beginning of the night we all picked name tags of either a character or an author and had to match up. Just to confuse people, I picked “Tess of the D’Urbervilles.” I never found Thomas Hardy in the crowd, but I did have some great introductory conversations, “Hi, I’m Tess. No, I really am.”

Since then, the Literature Society has led me to author readings, local theater productions, poetry slams and of course more pubs, where I finally learned my signature cheap student drink is anything with cider or whiskey – or whisky if its Scottish. The group’s combination of dorkiness and alcohol is surprisingly endearing and I think I’ve found my friends for the year.