It’s been almost 10 months since I committed to Arcadia, but occasionally I’m still hit with the question: “What made you choose that university?”
In all honesty, it was a combination of a lot of small things, as well as one big thing. That big thing was the fact that Arcadia is number one for study abroad. Almost all universities offer some kind of study abroad program, but where else could I be getting on a plane to Europe my freshman year? It’s been three weeks since I arrived in Scotland and I couldn’t be happier.
After orientation in Edinburgh, we boarded a bus to Stirling and before long were dragging our suitcases into our residence hall. Still recovering from jetlag, I rested in a chair by a window overlooking the center of campus. A giant hill/small mountain caught my eye and I immediately began searching for a climbing partner. The next week, a fellow FYSAE (First-Year Study Abroad Experience) student and I set off in the direction of what we found out was simply called Dumyat (pronounced Doo-my-et), thought to originate from Dun (hill fort) of the Maeatae (an ancient British tribe).
We walked for what seemed like ages, but couldn’t seem to spot any sort of trail that would allow us to hike up. Defeated, we stopped at a nearby café before making the long trek back to school. Inside, we overheard an elderly Scottish couple talking about Dumyat, so we decided to ask for directions. It turned out that they frequented the summit, but only in the summer, and were more than happy to point us in the direction of the trailhead. After explaining that we were exchange students at the university, they invited us to accompany them on a walk through town and then to a ballet performance on campus in the evening. It was a lovely night spent in the company of even lovelier people.
The next morning, we woke up bright and early to tackle Dumyat, but were greeted by the thickest fog I’ve ever seen. We asked our flatmate, who just so happened to be a member of the mountaineering club, what he suggested. He warned us that the fog could go all 1,371 feet to the summit and obstruct the view completely, or it could end a little lower and make for some great photos. We decided to risk it. For an hour and a half, we couldn’t see more than 10 feet in front of us, but as we neared the summit, that suddenly changed. Without warning, we had climbed past the fog line and could see close to a hundred sheep scattered around the nearby hills, as well as the white stone marker that signaled the summit. And just like that, we had defeated Dumyat.