Lena Points #22: Robroyston Park in Glasgow

Getting Pointy in Robroyston Park in Glasgow

Student Tours Scotland and Lena have a relationship spanning many years. The legend that is Lena goes back to 2009. She was gifted the Glasgow a cosmic force and ended up showing her awesome pointing skills. Check out the latest installment today as she points at one of the Local Nature Reserves in the Glasgow City Boundary and also one of the most loved parks in the north of the city. 

Robroyston is a great wee area of Glasgow and the park here has two ponds that attract a lot of cool wildlife. Going for a walk around this area of the city will certainly make you feel like you've spent your time well. It's not as easy to get to as other parts of Glasgow but the lush green vegetation and the wee wooded walks make it an afternoon stroll that delivers.

Glasgow Sem Fronteiras #13 - Helga

Brazilian's Love Glasgow!

Student Tours Scotland chats with another of our awesome Brazilian students on the Ciências sem Fronteiras - Science Without Borders UK Scholarship.

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?

Helga (H) : Hey !! I'm Helga, 28, I'm from Brasília but living in Natal for the past 12 years, so.

STS: Why choose Glasgow?  What made you decide it was the place to go with Ciências sem Fronteiras - Science Without Borders UK Scholarship?

H: I have actually chose the university first, from the list of universities available for the UK, and it ended up that the one I chose was here so, it came to be Glasgow, which ended up being alright, I like it in here.

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

H: Hmmm I went to a pub in the Merchant City, Blackfriars, with my flatmate and some other Brazilians. Love it there! Great food, great music, excellent beers available, everything there is awesome!

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

H: I really love it here! Just not so much when the wind is apocalyptic. The thing i like most in here is the beer. When I was about to come everybody was talking about Scottish Whisky, blah blah blah, but no one told me they have the best beers. From my window I can see West Brewery's chimney, and I always feel happy just for knowing that at the current time they are making some awesome beers in there.

STS: Have you managed to do any touring around Scotland while here with Ciências sem Fronteiras - Science Without Borders UK Scholarship?

H: I went to the Highlands for a day trip only and a weekend in Isle of Skye. Skye is amazing. I wish I had more time so I could go back there. Still planning to spend at least two days in Pitlochry, let's see how winter is.

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?

H: Yes. Glasgow can be very quiet or really exciting depending on the lifestyle you have. There is loads of cultural events to go to, people from Glasgow are very kind and helpful, food is cheap compared to Brazil, it is really easy to travel from here to other places in Europe, universities are really good. I would only recommend to have a good look in which university would be better for your course and then go for it. Glasgow is really worthy.

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

H: I don't think you can tell until you miss it but i would say the venues, my flatmates and the BEER!

STS: What one thing would you tell an incoming student that they HAD to do in Glasgow?

H: Go for a walk on Kelvin Way, I went there during summer and autumn and both are amazing. I'm waiting for the snow to go check it again. If you are feeling rich and up for a steak, end up in the Butcher Shop, it's worth the money.

STS: Cheers for chatting with us Helga!

Pumpkins Without Borders in Glasgow

Glasgow Caledonian University Brazilians Get Into the Pumpkin Spirit

Student Tours Scotland recently teamed up with the Ciências sem Fronteiras - Science Without Borders UK Scholarship team at Glasgow Caledonian University to do a pumpkin carving contest. The results were awesome. Although it was a few weeks back now, we took a group of Brazilian students studying in Glasgow and offered them a great chance to mix with each other and more on the Ciências sem Fronteiras - Science Without Borders UK Scholarship. New students had arrived in September and this was a good chance for them to meet each other.

There were some spooky designs and Student Tours Scotland found it tough to judge in the end. We managed to get a winner and even threw in some free tour tickets for them all as well. Well done guys!

Glasgow Sem Fronteiras #12 - Tiago

Student Tours Scotland embraces Ciências sem Fronteiras - Science Without Borders UK Scholarship

This week Student Tours Scotland speaks with Tiago about his time in Glasgow which ended in September 2013 after one year. Here is what he had to say:

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?

Tiago (T): Hello, my name is Tiago Fernandes, I'm 26 years old, from São Luís, where I study.

STS: Why choose Glasgow, Tiago?  What made you decide it was the place to go with Ciências sem Fronteiras - Science Without Borders UK Scholarship?

T: It was all about the University. I saw the programme, the modules, the structure and applied.  To be honest with you I didn't know anything about the city. I knew something about Glasgow Rangers and Celtic F.C., but nothing about the city itself. I even thought it was the capital of Scotland.

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

T: When I arrived I didn't do much because it was already late, but the day after I remember going to Wetherspoon, the one in Sauchiehall street. I ate a Scottish pie (which after has become one of my favourite foods). This was my first contact to the city. I was amazed by the city's architecture, it's a mix of classical and modern architectures.

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

T: I'm really enjoying my time here. Glasgow is a complete city and besides, it's very cosy and safe. People here are friendly and very partying. You always have many options on what to do here. Also, it's not an expensive city if compared to London or even to Edinburgh. With a few queens you can fill a basket in Tesco. I'd stay longer if I could and if I have some opportunity to return in the future I won't think twice.

STS: Have you managed to do any touring around Scotland while here with Ciências sem Fronteiras - Science Without Borders UK Scholarship?

T: Yes, I have. I have been to Loch Lomond and Loch Ness in one of the Student Tours Scotland trips, to Isle of Skye with the guys from the University of Glasgow and to Aviemore, which was a trip GCU provided. Scotland is a paradise. Having now (at the time of writing) only a few days to go back home I feel like I could have travelled more around Scotland.

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

T: Of course. Firstly, for the reasons I've just mentioned. Second, because the education itself is not only one of the best in the UK, but also one of the best in the world.

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

T: I will Probably miss the safety I have here, and the many options this city provides whenever I want to go out. I'll also miss the weather (I'm serious).

STS: What one thing would you tell an incoming student that they HAD to do in Glasgow?

T: I'd recommend a visit the museums, specially Kelvingrove and Riverside. Also the Glasgow Science Centre is a must-see. A visit to the Glasgow necropolis (it seems weird, but it's a very nice place, specially at night time). A walk around the city centre, etc, etc.

STS: Cheers for chatting with us Tiago!

T: My pleasure. Cheers!!!

Where Are They Now? #016: Daniel (Norway)

A Nor-weegie Speaks

Student Tours Scotland catches up with another former student from five years ago. This time we hit up Norway and speak with Daniel.

Student Tours Scotland (STS): Thanks for taking the time to do a Where Are They Now interview. It's been around four years since you studied in Glasgow, Scotland. Introduce yourself for us: name, where you are from and one random fact about yourself.

Daniel (D): I'm Daniel from Norway and I have a cat called Sushi!

STS: What do you miss the most about Glasgow and Scotland?

D: I think it is like most places: a combination of things that make the stay unique and memorable. The people and the things we did together is what I miss, and those things are of course shaped by the atmosphere of Scotland/ Glasgow (you need to get a little crazy to cope with the weather however). The sense of unity and comradship with so many different people from so many nations is something I have not experienced before or after my Glasgow semester, and is defintly the thing i miss the most.

STS: What one place in Scotland was your favourite?

D: Well for beauty I think Stirling Castle or Loch Lomond, for most good memories it was our kitchen at Caledonian Court.

STS: Do you think it's important to get out and about in Glasgow and Scotland when you study here?

D: For sure! I think to get the max out of the stay and studies it is important to get out and experience different things than your desktop. There is a lot of differnet things to see and experience, and it will allow your mind a break from the studies and give renewed energies. Atleast it worked that way for me.

STS: But enough about Scotland. What are you doing with yourself now?

D: Well after Glasgow I went back and finished my BSc in Computer Enginering. I then went on a program to become a MSc in Systems Engineering while working in a Norwegian company producing jet engines. As part of this program I studied a semster in New York, which was a totally different experience than my stay in Scotland. Now I work as a Project Engineer in a company in Norway producing communication equipment. I also got engaged to a wonderful Norwegian girl and we have bought a home toghter.

STS: Have you been back in Scotland since you first left?

D: Yes I have been back  two times I think and I dont plan on it to being the last. I have also visisted some of the people I meet in Glasgow in other places in Europe.

STS: If you could offer any one piece of survival advice to someone about to study in Scotland what would it be?

D: Get out, meet people and see differnt aspects of the city and the country together. There are so many things to see and experience, and so many connections to make and memories to collect.

STS: Cheers Daniel!

Around the World in Eighty Gingers #002: Peter (Denmark)

Around the World in 80 Gingers

Student Tours Scotland is going around the world in as many gingers (hopefully 80) as we can. This week we catch up with an old friend from Denmark.

Student Tours Scotland (STS): Welcome to Student Tours Scotland's "Around the World in 80 Gingers" blog. Can you introduce yourself? Where do you come from? What is your name?

Peter (P): Hi! My name’s Peter Wickings. Im 25 years old and live in Denmark, where i’m pretty sure I’m the only ginger around. I'm currently doing my masters degree in corporate communication, and i spent a semester in Glasgow during fall 2011, where I met Gary Brown from Student Tours Scotland.

STS: Tell us one random or interesting fact about yourself Peter!

P: Well, in a ginger aspect, I think the most interesting about me is the fact that I’m more or less immune to sunburn - which is quite strange, considering the fact that I’m ginger. The sun can turn me red, but i feel absolutely no pain at all. I consider it my ginger super power. Like, “He’s the Daywalker” - kind of power. Yet neither Marvel or DC Universe seemed impressed enough to make me a character in their respective franchises.

STS: Does being ginger mean anything to you in particular? Do you feel it adds personality to your character?

P: Well, though gingers are a somewhat rare breed in Denmark, I’ve never considered it to add anything particular to my character as such; I spent most of my younger years being referred to as The Red Baron by my friends, which was kinda awesome. Many people have asked if I’m Irish or Scottish due to my gingerness and surname, and I’ve always taken it as a compliment!

STS: Gingers are incredibly rare. Have you ever used your unique hair colour to get out of a bad situation or to help out in some way?

P: Well, I’ve sworn never to use my powers for evil, so mostly I remain dormant. But seing as how red hair is considered a gene defect, I’m pretty sure gingers have potential to be super villains if exposed to atomic waste.

STS: With the news that National Geographic Magazine has said gingers will go extinct by 2060 how does that make you feel?

P: Back To The Future also said that we’d have hover-boards and pink, self-tying Nike boots by 2015, but I don’t see that happening either.

STS: Any funny or interesting stories about being ginger?

P: When i was a kid, I didn’t like having red hair. So one time i dyed it green. Didn’t help. Also, I have no freckles on my right elbow after a bad, drunken bike crash that took of a good patch of skin. Skin grew back, but no freckles.

STS: Cheers for the chat Peter!

Lena Points #21: Carmunnock Village Green

The Edge of Glasgow

It's been a while since Student Tours Scotland caught up with Lena and her magical pointing skills. Here she is pointing in the village at the edge of the modern Glasgow boundary - Carmunnock. This area of Glasgow is pretty special. It's a Conservation Area so you can't just build there for the fun of it. There are special rules in place. This means the area has a great wee feel to it. There are lots of old houses and it's much quieter than the City Centre and some of the other areas in Glasgow. The Village Greens (Lena is pointing at the Low Green here) are amongst the oldest parks in Glasgow. This tranquil little spot is great for reading, thinking or just gaining some peace in an otherwise busy city. I love Carmunnock - and you should too!

Too Good to be True: Glasgow Rental Nightmare

Words of Warning on Glasgow Rental Properties

Student Tours Scotland is aware that many students come to Glasgow seeking short term rents. While we cannot help in any way we can spread words of warning. Careful folks. Here is a story from one of our students that will make you think twice before you sign up for something that seems to good to be true.

“Hi, is Sam in?” I asked through the intercom.

“Come in,” replied the girl whom I’ve never met instead, her voice tired and long-suffering.

I was standing on Herbert Street, behind Landsowne Parish Church, practically opposite of the Kelvinbridge subway. The Sam I wanted to meet was someone who had put up a Gumtree ad just about a week ago advertising a room available for rent in Flat B. I had sent an inquiry as I was looking for somewhere to stay for only three months while I wait for my graduation. Short-term lets like that can be hard to come by and often most landlords aren’t interested in entertaining such short-term rentals.  And I could not afford the cost if I went with options such as Airbnb, and youth hostels were simply out of the question considering the amount of stuff I’d managed to accumulate in one year. Sam’s offer was affordable and the location convenient. He seemed agreeable to my situation and told me on Friday that I could move in that coming Wednesday.

From that weekend on however, I could not get in touch with him to confirm what time can I come in. And that was how I found myself on Tuesday morning, speaking to Sam’s former flatmate who had no idea what went on but somehow found herself with the unenviable task of having to explain to at least half-a-dozen people that the person they'd spoken with had made off with their deposit money and could now no longer be found.

The scam, as it went down, went like this: Sam (who was actually the occupant of one of the rooms in the flat) put up an ad on Gumtree, indicating that he had a room to rent out. Those who came to see the flat were told that to secure the room, all they needed was to hand in a deposit (of varying amounts), and they should hurry as interest was high.  Some had even left their luggage behind, while others had arrived that Tuesday morning to unsurprising confusion, as everyone tried to sort out what exactly happened. One even had his guitar vanish along with Sam.

I met with three others who fell for the scam later in the late afternoon as we went to the police station to lodge a report. They were all Erasmus students who were here in Glasgow for only a semester and the common trait we shared was the urgency of finding a short-term rental. Like them, I had found that many prospective rentals would prefer longer term tenants; unlike them, I at least had not lost anything valuable other than the ‘deposit’ I had handed over.  A couple of them showed the handwritten papers that was their ‘contract’ to the police officer – but unfortunately those documents, such as they were, meant nothing and had no legal standing.

The actual landlord to the flat in Herbert Street was right in one sense: we should not have been foolish enough to enter into the arrangement. And I plead no excuse but my own sense of urgency, and failing to heed the old adage, ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.’

The basic lesson of the whole episode is simply, don’t hand over money without a formal contract, especially when you have no means to guarantee the reputation of the other party. Yes, we made the police report, and yes, unbelievably, the boy has an active Facebook profile, but the fact is, unless he turns himself in, it’s unlikely we will ever see our money and goods back.

Unsurprisingly, this kind of scam finds its natural victims in the newcomers to the cities like international students, who tend to be less aware about what to look out for in looking for places to stay, especially when arrangements like these tend to depend on trusting on the honesty of the other party with no other formal protection. As I parted ways with the boys, I shook their hands and said ruefully, “Welcome to Glasgow”.

To date, there’s been no update to the police investigation, except for the officer calling me for further questions, since I’m the only one, apparently, who understands his Scottish-accented English.