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Camila: The Adventitious Violet

In our InterNations Recommended Blog section we let you take the spotlight! Expat life in general is, of course, a perfect breeding ground for great, user-generated reads, and life in the UK makes no exception. Take your time and browse the great blogs showcased in this article!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Scotland, etc.

My name is Camila and I’m a 26 year old writer. I grew up in Montreal Canada with a French Canadian mom and a Chilean dad. I first moved to Scotland 3 years ago to study at St Andrews. I recently moved back to Scotland and found a home in Stirling where I live with my Scottish partner.

When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?

I started blogging for the silly reason that I was bored. It was just after I moved back to Canada and was awaiting my new visa to come back to the UK. I was unemployed and craving travel and wanted to share all the adventures I had lived in Scotland and abroad. It has flourished ever since.

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

I definitely love sharing all things St Andrews — I often get emails from prospective students about it actually. And I love giving suggestions to people about the best ways to visit Scotland! These are post for Glasgow, Edinburgh and a trip to the isles.

Tell us about the ways your new life in Scotland differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?

It is so absolutely different. The routines are often the same, but in a totally different setting. I had no trouble getting used to St Andrews because it was such an overwhelmingly welcoming environment, but it’s been tougher coming back to look for work and settling down in Stirling. A definite culture shock even from St Andrews!

Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Scotland? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?

Definitely not! In all honesty, I moved here without too much thought about Scotland. I just couldn’t wait to be in St Andrews, but I didn’t know much about Scotland as a whole. It is more beautiful, more spread out, and more diverse than I expected. And Scots also have such a good sense of humor. If I could change my preparation, I would definitely pack more jumpers!

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

I have had so much trouble with the language and accent in Scotland and it has indeed led to many weird and funny stories. I often don’t know what I get into because I nod and say yes to things I don’t understand. I once thought a taxi driver was yelling at me and almost cried until I realized he wanted to know if I wanted help with my luggage. Oops! Definitely funny once I understand everything.

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Scotland?

  • I would say definitely research where you want to live. Places in Scotland are so diverse and so different from each other.
  • I would definitely watch lots of Scottish movies and get used to the accent — it’s been almost 3 years and I still have trouble.
  • I’d take my camera along and enjoy the sights as much as possible.

How is the expat community in Scotland? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

I definitely think that expats often surround themselves and gravitate toward other expats and most of my friends here come from outwit Scotland. It might depend on how remotely you live in Scotland, but in the central belt, it’s very easy!

How would you summarize your expat life in Scotland in a single, catchy sentence?

A windy, cloudy, grey, sometimes sunny, always greener look at life across the pond.

Jan-Peter van Tijk

"I wish I'd found InterNations sooner: It would have made my first few month as an expat in London much less overwhelming."

Therese Yeboah

"For me, the InterNations events are the best part. I attend almost every get-together and always get to know lots of friendly fellow expats."

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