Glasgow Sem Fronteiras #01 - Lucianna

Ciência Sem Fronteiras comes to Glasgow

Student Tours Scotland works with a lot of students across Glasgow and Scotland. We even host the odd family member on our tours as well! In 2012, Brazil sent eight students to Glasgow Caledonian University from Brazil on a Science Without Borders (Ciência Sem Fronteiras) scholarship for one year. Then came a group to the University of Strathclyde and the University of Glasgow. Then came some more, and then some more. Then more. Now we have a lot of Brazilian's living in Glasgow and it's awesome. We at Student Tours Scotland have been proudly hosting them on each and every tour. In fact, I don't think there has been a single walk or coach trip where there was not at least one student from Brazil. So folks, welcome to a new regular blog introducing you to the many faces of Ciência Sem Fronteiras in Glasgow!

Student Tours Scotland (STS): Hello, so, who are we talking to today? Name, age, where you come from in Brazil, your home place of study?

Lucianna (L): Hello, I'm Lucianna Furtado ('Furtado' means 'stolen' in Portuguese). I'm 22 years old. I was born in Brasília de Minas, an adorable small town in Brazil that no one has ever heard of, and I was living in Belo Horizonte before I came to Glasgow.

STS: Why choose Glasgow, Lucianna? What made you decide it was the place to go with Science Without Borders (UK)?

L: Why indeed? Haha! When I came to the UK last year, I fell in love with Scotland's breathtaking landscapes. Besides, its adorable warm people made me feel so welcome that I wanted to come back. Even though I had stayed only one night in Glasgow back then and didn't get to know the city that well, it seemed like a lovely place to live. But wait, you mean the real reason? It was the Duke of Wellington statue in Royal Exchange Square, with that cone on his head. That's a perfect token of the crazy experiences that Glasgow can offer and the crazy people that live here.

STS: What was your FIRST experience in Glasgow after arriving?

L: For a foreigner, and especially for a non-native English speaker, talking to Glaswegian people is a dangerous adventure in itself. The taxi driver had to repeat the same question seven times before I could understand him, and the poor soul just wanted to know if I had seen snow before in my life. Later on I got lost around the city centre and had no idea of how to get back to my university accomodation. Eventually I found the way and met the other Brazilian students for a kitchen party.

STS: Are you enjoying your time in Glasgow? What aspects of life in the city are you most enjoying?

L: Yes. I like discovering and conquering new drinking territories (a.k.a. pubs), and I particularly love it when I find one that stays open late and/ or sells whisky for a cheap price. Another great thing to do is just take a walk around, with no previous plans, and let Glasgow surprise you.

STS: Have you managed to do any touring around Scotland while here with Science Without Borders (UK)?

L: I've been to Luss (near Loch Lomond), Oban and the Isle of Mull (in West Argyll), Loch Ness (home of the famous Nessie monster), Fairlie (in Ayrshire), Fort William (the gateway to the Highlands), Edinburgh (Scotland's capital city), the Isle of Skye (my personal favourite) and some other places whose names escape my old weary mind. I've also been to Pitlochry (pretty wee village) and St Andrews (the home of golf) as well, but that was last year.

STS: Would you encourage other students from Brazil, who are thinking of going abroad with Science Without Borders (UK) to study in Glasgow? If yes, why?

L: Aye! Some Scottish people can't understand why the hell I left my sunny country to come here, but they underestimate the beauty of Scotland. My sweet Glasgow is not only beautiful, but also has everything you need to have fun and live comfortably. You'll have great whisky, cool pubs, adorable people, charming accent (trust me, once you get it, you'll love it!), great music, wonderful architecture and history. How can it go wrong?

STS: What will you miss the most from Glasgow when you return to Brazil?

L: The cold winds? The rarely sunny skies? The guy-with-the-cone-hat statue? The pubs? The accent? Impossible to name one only thing.

STS: Cheers for chatting with us Lucianna!

L: Cheers!

Glasgow With Brazil Protest

Glasgow With Brazil Protest in George Square

So today saw a group of Brazilian students gather in George Square, Glasgow to protest in solidarity with their brothers and sisters back home in Brazil about many things. What started as a protest against a hike in bus fares has escalated into showing a nation unhappy with how things are run. The students in Glasgow are a great bunch of folk and Student Tours Scotland is proud to have shown them around Glasgow and Scotland over the last few months. For more information you can check out this LINK for more.

Glasgow students from Brazil prepare for protest

Students from Brazil prepare to take George Square in Glasgow

Glasgow is currently host to a large number of students from Brazil. They are here on a great scholarship programme. Many of them are studying at the University of Glasgow; the University of Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian University. They are fantastic bunch of students.

On Tuesday 18 June 2013 at 1900 hours these passionate students are taking to the streets of Glasgow and occupying a small portion of George Square in the City Centre (apparently with the blessing of Glasgow City Council) for a period of time. They want to be heard - just like their fellow country folk back home in Brazil who are protesting around the clock about the way things are being currently run in the country.

Right now there is a lot going on in the world - more than most times. Brazil, Turkey, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Cyrpus, United States of America. All over there are large events happening in response to natural disasters; financial meltdowns and people unhappy with how their government is running things. It's high time people paid more attention to what's going on around them.

Student Tours Scotland popped by to see how they were getting on as they prepared their protest. Looks like things are moving fast in preparation for the event tomorrow. We'll try and head down to George Square to see how it goes too.

Glasgow Prepares for Sighthill Park 2.0

Reaching New Sights in Sighthill, Glasgow

Thursday 13 June 2013 saw Glasgow City Council host an executive meeting in Scotstoun to try and boost public attendance. One of the key items, and one particularly close to Student Tours Scotland's heart, was the proposed redevelopment of Sighthill and Sighthill Park in Glasgow North. For those of you who have been paying attention, Gary Robert Brown (i.e. me) is incredibly closely involved in watching how this proceeds. Every semester, Student Tours Scotland operates a Glasgow Walk to this area of the city. However, in Winter/ Spring 2013, due to high demand we operated no less than four tours to Sighthill Park and Cemetery (See HERE for some pictures from the most recent tour there).

Sighthill Park was created in the 1980's as the largest green space in Glasgow City since the Victorian Era - that is no small feat. The city that calls itself 'Dear Green Place' has no less than 100 parks and gardens (see HERE for information from Glasgow City Council) and in total at least 400 green spaces within the city limits. Sighthill itself is an area currently undergoing a lot of regeneration. Glasgow is shortlisted to host the 2018 Youth Olympics alongside Medellin, Columbia and Buenos Aires, Argentina and will find out this summer if our bid is successful. The proposed area for the Olympic Athletes Village is the new Sighthill. 

Regardless of how our bid goes Sighthill as an area will see change. There will be a new Sighthill and with it a new Sighthill Park. Today saw Glasgow City Council vote in favour to pass the proposals to reposition Sighthill Park (see HERE for the proposal under 'Sighthill Park.doc'). This means the park as we currently know it will be completely changed. If you look at the pdf proposal HERE (under 'Sighthill Park - Plan 1.pfg) you can see rather ambitious and rather impressive plans for Sighthill Park. Student Tours Scotland is very much in favour of a redevelopment of this area and the park. It is currently not very easy to access from the City Centre and despite it's size (see HERE under 'Sighthill - Plan 2.pdf') it is much underused. 

However, as many of you will already know, Sighthill Park Stone Circle is the highlight of our tours to this location and currently it is missing from the plans. A proposed walkway will run right through the centre of the stone circle and this means it may be no more. It would be sad loss for Glasgow to see it's only pagan style monument vanish without a trace. For a history of the Sighthill Park Stone Circle see HERE. Duncan Lunan, creator of the monument and many others are campaigning as best they can to ensure the circle is featured somewhere in the new plans for Sighthill Park. To be fair, Glasgow City Council have not yet said that the circle will be playing no part in the new Sighthill and have said they will do what they can to include it. This is indeed welcome news.

So it is with impatience that Student Tours Scotland, the people of Sighthill and the rest of Glasgow wait to hear the fate of our stone circle that we have affectionately come to know as SightHenge. Hopefully Glasgow City Council will see sense and include it somewhere in the new Sighthill Park. Until then, we can only hope.

Glasgow’s Got History #002: Here Come the Romans

So the Roman empire took over most of Europe, but they made one mistake - coming to Scotland. Student Tours Scotland has been reading up a little recently on the overall history of Glasgow. It's all about expanding our minds on where the city has come from and where it's going. Everyone knows Glasgow started with St. Mungo, but what came before?

The mighty Roman empire came as far as the area between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde - roughly just north of the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow these days. They built a wall here known as the Antonine Wall. This was before the eventual withdrawl of the Romans from Scotland and the creation of the better known, Hadrians Wall.

The Antonine Wall runs mostly through the areas surrounding the current City of Glasgow limits, but there are small segments running through the boundary too. In the areas north of the Possil Marsh and near the Millichen Flood and Farm (north of Summerston) there are some remains of the old line of the wall. You can also see parts over the boundary from the top of Garscadden Wood and the Cleddans Burn area of Drumchapel (from the area shown in the picture). 

The history and importance of these areas should never be taken for granted. The Romans never conquered Scotland their legacy is not as strong here as it was elsewhere but they have an important part to play in the history of Glasgow and this should not be forgotten. You can find out a lot more about the Antonine Wall routes HERE.

The Royal Burgh of Rutherglen #01: Getting in touch with our roots

Rutherglen: Reconnecting with Our Past

The Royal Burgh of Rutherglen is a great wee place. It essentially equates to one third of the south east of the City of Glasgow. However, despite officially being within Glasgow's boundaries from 1975 to 1996, Rutherglen (and neighbouring Cambuslang) remain strongly independent. 

I've been a Rugloanian all my life and love my little Burgh. Strong evidence shows it to be one of Scotland's first Royal Burghs - a title common across Scotland, but very important to a small town. Rutherglen has some great history and, being so close to Glasgow City Centre, it really should create stronger links with the history of the place.

For example, the Castle of Rutherglen may be long gone, but it's links with William Wallace are pretty interesting - his capture was plotted here. The small Reuther Community Centre, could easily double as a museum being so close to Rutherglen Train Station and feature a selection of the interesting items that used to be found in the old King Street museum. The train from Argyle Street to Rutherglen can often be as quick a journey as only four minutes - try getting anywhere else in the city quicker by train.

There was once a lane just off of Rutherglen Main Street called Din's Dyke which was where Mary, Queen of Scots, after fleeing from her defeat in Langside (South Glasgow) was accosted by some men. She fled after intervention from the locals. Her journey to Main Street itself was via another part of Rutherglen at Mall's Mire, which straddles Toryglen Park in Hangingshaw on the current Glasgow City boundary. 

Connection to two notable characters in Scottish history are not all Rutherglen should celebrate more - the Redding (Riding) of the Marches should be reinstated - a festival covering the boundaries of Rutherglen. A modern version could see all the corners of the current Burgh taken in. If money were to allow, 'gates' could be erected at each entrance to the burgh at Cathkin, Fernhill, Springhall, Stonelaw, Gallowflat, Farme Cross, Bankhead, Spittal, Burnhill and Shawfield. Art installations or something similar would be a great welcome to our wonderful wee place.

It's nice to see the Heritage Centre in the local Library taking an interest in recent years in finding the old boundary marker stones and one can only hope that more interest in Rutherglen will come from it.

Take time to visit Rutherglen, especially this weekend (08 June 2013) when our local celebration takes place - Landemar Day. It's a wee Burgh but it's a pretty wee Burgh. Student Tours Scotland even runs a tour here once a semester! 

Lena Points #13: The Clyde Clock, Buchanan Bus Station (Glasgow)

That Clocks Running Fast!

Lena, our fantastic pointer, stands here copying a classic pose that many a tourist and visitor to Glasgow has done themselves over the years. Student Tours Scotland frequently stops by the Clyde Clock on it's tours. It was installed at the start of the new millenium in Concert Square near Buchanan Bus Station and was commissioned by Radio Clyde to celebrate 25 years as a local independant station. The clock is a pretty awesome introduction for the city of Glasgow. However it only recently started working again after a few years of being broken. It's also a cool place to make some bad jokes about time running fast!

Glasgow’s Got History #001: Canoes Abound!

Glasgow is a wonderful place to live - so rich in history and so alive with modernity at the same time. We at Student Tours Scotland are delving into the historical aspects of the city from earliest times to the modern age. We'll take you along on the journey as we go.

There is a sign that lingers in the remains of Tontine Lane in the Glasgow Merchant City near Glasgow Cross. Tontine Lane itself is pretty historical. The old building which was attached to the Tollbooth Steeple is long gone but the lane, with it's three entrances pays homage to it in 2013. Recently, a set of gates were created to stop hooligans and undesirables hanging out in Tontine Lane and sadly the hidden neon signs (there are three of them in total - albeit two are turned off just now) are now inaccessible.

On the Trongate side to Tontine Lane is one of Student Tours Scotland's favourite hang out spots on a rainy tour of Glasgow Cross. The Canoe Was Found here sign is actually more than just a City of Lights landmark. It highlights an important aspect of Glasgow's history. The sign itself harks back to a period of Glasgow from before the Roman conquest (if you can call it that) of the south of Scotland. The fact is, simply, that a canoe was found here. It shows how high the waters of the river came into what is now St. Enoch and the Merchant City. In fact several of these dug-out canoes have been found preserved - in Calton and Springfield Quay as well. 

The caneo was found in 1871 during excavation work and a version of it lies in the Glasgow City Council museum collection - it was present in the old Kelvin Hall Transport Museum - the collection of which now lies in the new Riverside Museum. So next time you pass Trongate, be sure to check out the illumination in Tontine Lane for a little glimpse into the history of Glasgow.

Where are they now #009: Simon (Denmark)

Student Tours Scotland caught up with Simon JUHL who studied in Glasgow a few years ago.

My name is Simon from Denmark and I had the pleasure of enjoying Glasgow for a year while being on the ERASMUS exchange program a few years back. The reason why I went to Glasgow was originally to go to a country where I would be able to follow the lectures without any language barrier issues compared to countries such as Spain or France. However I quickly found Scotland and Glasgow offering much more than just English with an awesome dialect.

I had the privilege to be taken around in the beautiful land of Scotland by no one else, than Gary Robert Brown when he was exploring the best places for what’s now called Student Tours Scotland, which, I, by the way will give my best recommendations.

Besides awesome nature I found Glaswegians to be extremely friendly (contradictory to whatmany news articles say about the place itself). I made both Glaswegian and International friends I still hold contact with today.

I visited Glasgow during the last year of my bachelor, which meant only a few hours of school in my first semester and close to nothing during my second semester, since we had to write our bachelor thesis that year. This gave me a huge amount of spare time, which I of course spend in many random pubs, but also in building what turned out to be an actual business.

In my spare time in Glasgow I learned how to build websites from scratch (yes, I had that much spare time), only by watching YouTube videos and reading online guides. I also learned how to monetize sites and from that I managed to come up with a system to build price comparison sites and profit from them, when I refer new customers to companies presented on the sites.

Today I’ve built three big comparison sites for Denmark turning over more than £200,000 a year and I am currently expanding to Germany and, who knows, maybe the UK after.

So, your take from this should be:

 - Go to Glasgow

 - Let Gary show you the most beautiful places there is

 - Enjoy the pubs

 - Maybe develop a business in your spare time

Wish you the best time in Glasgow,

Simon Juhl