I am so excited to be here in Scotland for my last semester of college!  I’ve been dreaming of doing the Semester in Scotland programme for 10 years, and now I have the opportunity to live that dream.  You see, my sister participated in it 10 years ago, and the summer before she came, my parents, and my little sister, and I flew to England for my cousin’s wedding.  While we were on this side of the pond, we drove up to Scotland to see where she would be staying for four months.  I fell in love with the people I met and the astonishing scenery I saw.  This year is promising to be just as exciting as my first week in Scotland was a decade ago.  It’s been three weeks since I arrived, and I’ve already learned and seen so much.

This week, we attended the Airdrie RP church on Sunday and had lunch at Stacy  and Fraser’s.  They are a lovely young couple who fed us a great meal and  provided great fellowship (and their puppy, Milo, is adorable).  In the evening, we went to church and afterwards went to Stephen and Brenda’s for tea and some friendly discussion on various topics.

Classes went well during the week, albeit not on the regular schedule due to an unforeseen event that popped up and a weekend retreat.  One of the advantages in this program is that the teachers are all flexible, so if something comes up, they can easily adjust their class.  Also, even though there’s a lot of reading to do for the classes, we have scheduled times to get some of it done, which is really nice. Wednesdays are my favorite because in the afternoon we get to go see various sites in the country.

Students at Wallace MonumentThis week, for our Wednesday trip, we went to three places.  First, we visited the  site of the Battle of Bannockburn where Robert the Bruce defeated the English and took back Stirling Castle.  Then, we went to a 900 year old Abbey where we saw the grave of King James III of Scotland and his wife, Margaret the Princess of Denmark.  Finally, we went to the Wallace Monument that was put up in honor of William Wallace (aka Braveheart), who fought and died for Scottish freedom, and we climbed the 246 steps to the top of it for an amazing view of the landscape below.  We finished the day with our MET and went back to our respective homes.

David at Carrickfergus CastleFriday, we got up early to catch the ferry for Northern Ireland for the Young Adult Weekend (or YAW for short).  The trip was uneventful and we arrived safely.  We were picked up by the Loughridge family who fed us lunch and then dropped us off at the Carrickfergus Castle for a couple hours.  The view from the lookout tower was over the Irish Sea, and it was beautiful!  It was fun looking around there and seeing the different rooms too.  We found one room that used to be used for processing meat that had a mural of a butcher on one wall, and the rest of the walls were painted white.   (The weird part was that there was also a pillory set up in the room.  Not sure why it was in there).  It had a curved ceiling and great acoustics, so we stayed in there for a bit and sang some Psalms.  When it was time to go, we rode with the Loughridges to Annalong, Northern Ireland for the YAW.


The talks at the retreat were quite good and were about God’s covenants with Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jeremiah.  Between talks, we had meals and free time and seminars.  The place we were staying was a farm/conference center called Mullartown House.  It was only a short walk away from the Irish Sea and so during the free time in the afternoon, David and I would walk to the beach.  It was glorious.  It wasn’t a sand beach like they usually are in the States, it was a rock beach with a fantastic view of the Mourne Mountains.  I took many pictures and had a fabulous weekend.  Sunday night we stayed at the Loughridge’s, and Monday we went to Belfast and got a bus tour (where I took many, many more pictures).  Then we caught the ferry again and returned to Airdrie in the evening.


These past three weeks have flown by.  It seems like only yesterday I was trying to figure out what to pack and how to fit it into one suitcase so that it would weigh less than 50lbs.  All of the reading material and the classes are extremely thought provoking, and I am so happy I have the opportunity to study here.  I can tell that God is working in my life here, and I’m excited to find out what the outcome will be at the end of the semester.  But for now, I’m just going to take it one day at a time and enjoy the ride!  Cheerio!

Debbie Shafer