If I had to sum up this semester in only three words these are the words I would pick: energizing, enlightening, and relaxing. As I look back on these past four months, I see memories that I hope will remain with me. This is an experience that I would not give up for anything, and I am extremely glad that I took it. Sure, there were weeks of exhaustion as I got used to the time difference, and there were weeks of sadness as I missed my family and friends back home. However, now that I am packing up to leave, I am reminded by how much I deeply despise endings. And this is an ending. It is an ending of a semester, and it is an ending to one of the many chapters of my life, and, to be perfectly honest, I have mixed feelings about turning the page to the next part of the book.

Life here has been wonderful. Becoming a regular at some of the take-away restaurants in Airdrie is something that I will greatly miss. Being recognized by the owners and talking with them as I waited for them to prepare the food, having them take even a small interest in my life – though I am only here for a short amount of time – this is something that I have come to love, and something that I wish I didn’t have to give up.

Compared to many of the places that I am used to, Airdrie is quiet. There is the occasional loud honking of a car horn, the revving of an engine, the shrill cry of a siren. But these are only on rare occasions. From what I have observed, it is calm and quiet. Coming back to Airdrie from London – with its busy and loud streets filled with people and cars – reminded me of how much I appreciated the peace and quiet that this little town brings. As I return to the city, with its blared rap music and its fairly loud qualities, I know that I will miss the quiet of Airdrie and the safety that I felt as I walked along the streets to go shopping or to go to the church for classes and services.

From the beginning of this semester, we students have found ourselves steeped in the community of the church, and we have been deeply steeped. I have found myself coming to truly love each member of the congregation that I have come into contact with. As I got to see them at the Kids Club and CY and the two services on Sundays, as well as hospitality and METs every week, and adventures with Jimmy and Helen, I see the growth of these relationships and the integral part that Airdrie Reformed Presbyterian Church has played on my being  here. I have learned much through conversations with various members of the congregation. I thank God for His use of this church in my life to draw me into a stronger relationship with Him and a greater understanding of what He desires.

The classes also gave me great knowledge and understanding. They were well spaced throughout the week. The texts that we had to read helped to shape me and helped to remind me and reaffirm what I believe. Those who took the time out of their busy schedules to teach these classes put a lot of effort into teaching us, especially on those days when we simply could not focus.

Through all of these things, I have been grown and shaped. I came to Scotland expecting an adventure that would change me. I did not expect to be changed nearly as much as I actually was. This semester in Scotland has given me a new energy and has helped my faith to deepen and expand. This semester has enlightened my mind to greater understanding of the Scriptures and of what God desires in worship and from His children in general. This semester has relaxed me and given me the rest that my mind needed to take on whatever comes my way in the next semesters to come.

As much as I do not want my time in Scotland to come to an end, I know that it must. It is the time to leave this to my memories and return home to my family. It is the time to turn the page and see what the next chapter holds. Though it is a hard experience, to end something so wonderful, the Semester in Scotland program is something that I would not trade for anything. It is an experience that I would recommend that everyone take while they have the chance. Despite the bittersweet feelings that come with saying goodbye to the friends that I have made here, I am extremely glad that I came to study in Scotland for just one semester.

Mary McCurdy