Exploring far and wide in Enhancement Week…

Taylor from the University of Georgia used her Week 6 in February 2017 to venture to the Republic of Ireland and Scotland. How will you use yours? Taylor will likely give you some ideas!

At the University of Reading, Week 6 is known as Enhancement Week. Enhancement Week aka ‘Opportunities Week’ gives students time and hosts events to develop their study skills, personal goals, and employability. I choose to spend that week going on my first trip outside of England since arriving. Some of my friends chose to travel to Spain, Portugal, France, and Italy. I chose to start a little closer to Reading in Ireland and Scotland. Many people find they get the most out of a trip traveling solo, but I am a people’s person. I was able to find another study abroad student from Missouri to join me, Laura. Although Laura and I do not have much in common, it was nice to have a travel buddy. We made four major stops: Dublin, Glasgow, Isle of Skye, and Edinburgh. The total trip lasted for eleven days, so I’ll do my best to condense all my adventures.

Our first stop, Dublin, Ireland, was for three days where we met up with another study abroad student from New Jersey named Terry. Our hostel, Barnacles Hostel Dublin, was in the center of the area known as Temple Bar. We spent our time seeing sights such as Christ Church Cathedral, the Guinness Factory, and the Dublin Zoo. The Guinness Factory is a must and I recommend saving your free beer that comes with your entry ticket for Guinness’ Gravity Bar. One night, we went on a pub tour where we went to Whelan’s Pub, the pub where P.S. I Love You was filmed!

Next stop was Glasgow, Scotland. We only spent a night there to meet up with our tour bus the next morning. That tour bus, Rabbie’s, would take me on an adventure I will never forget. Over the course of three days, Laura and I became friends with ten strangers. We drove through the Scottish Highlands stopping in Glencoe where the James Bond movie Skyfall was filmed, Fort William, and finally landing in Portree on the Isle of Skye where we would spend the next two nights.

From what I had seen that first day, Scotland was the most beautiful place I had ever seen, but I would still only be amazed the next two days. Day two we started in the Fairy Glenn. I felt as if I had walked onto the set of Lord of the Rings in the hobbit’s Shire. It was beautiful and magical. After, we stopped on the shores of Glendale and Staffin Bay Beach where we saw real fossilized dinosaur footprints.

Unfortunately, day three came and it was time to leave the Isle of Skye. We would catch a ride to Edinburgh, but on the way back we stopped for a tour at the Eilean Donan Castle and walked around the Loch Ness for lunch. My words do not do justice to the beauty I experienced in the North. If you ever get the chance to go, you will not regret it. The last five days, Laura and I would spend in Edinburgh. By this time, we were exhausted, but still wanted to see more. My favorite part of Edinburgh was the Zoo. It was incredibly open and interactive. I walked through a marsupial exhibit and stood two feet from a wallaby. All in all, I am forever grateful for this experience and look forward to more trips during my time abroad.

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