Welcome to Scotland! (Don’t) try the haggis.

During the Fall 2012 semester, UFV student Kate Nickelchok made the most of her fourth year of study by participating in Study Abroad and traveling around Europe.  Before settling down outside Cardiff, Wales, for the start of the semester, she country-hopped around the UK.  Kate shares about an unforgettable evening she experienced during her travels in Scotland:

Kate Nickelchok

Kate Nickelchok

Welcome to Scotland! (Don’t) try the haggis.

My last day in Scotland was shaping up to be my best and most authentic yet.  I began the day by taking the high road to Loch Lomond’s bonny banks, and then making my way to Doune Castle, made famous by Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Eventually, I climbed several miles up a volcano to stand at the highest point in Edinburgh.  All this, and many little adventures in between.

What better way to crown this sublimely Scottish day than by trying the nation’s favorite dish, haggis, a savoury mixture of a sheep’s heart liver and lungs, encased in its stomach?

I settled into one of Roses Street’s finest traditional pubs: The Abbotsford. I was soon adopted by a group of older Scotsmen, the kind who sing Burns, wear tweed, and yell about football matches. I was treated to highland single malt whiskey, and a few jokes, mixed with life advice. I would’ve wanted to stay later and soak in the supremely Scottish atmosphere, had the whiskey not hit my stomach a bit hard. Or, at least, I wish it had been the whiskey.

It was food poisoning. From the haggis. The stereotype of the dish came true — all over my pillow. To skip the gory details, I became very familiar with my hostel’s bathroom that night.

With an early, all-day trip back to London the next morning, food poisoning was a curse.  However, I’m probably not the first or last Canadian backpacker to spend a night next to a toilet after hitting up a pub in Scotland.

Do you have a Study Abroad story to share?  Perhaps you sampled a national delicacy like Kate — or Irene, in Korea. Or you experienced other cultural customs that were new or unsettling. If so, we would love to hear about it.  Submit a post to the Study Abroad blog today.

Read more about Kate’s adventures in her blog.


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