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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

Notes from Abroad: Will in Scotland

Will Hanna ’19 is an Economics major studying at Napier University in Edinburgh, Scotland.

I’m sure this is not what Lake Forest College has in mind for their students when they go abroad, but I had one of the more unique learning experiences of my life during a trip to the Isle of Skye with my flat-mates. Over the course of a five-hour drive from Edinburgh, to Skye, I learned how to drive a car that has a manual transmission.

The Isle of Skye is a beautiful part of the Scottish Highlands that I had singled out as somewhere I wanted to go during my time in Scotland, and five of my flat-mates felt the same way, so we set about planning the trip together. We found a gorgeous Airbnb overlooking the bay outside Portree, and decided that renting a car would be the best way to get around Skye. When searching for a rental we ran into a couple of problems; I was the only one old enough to rent a car, and the only cars available large enough for six people were manual, which I didn’t know how to drive. This meant we had to make a decision; squeeze six people into an automatic car built for five (both uncomfortable and illegal), or subject me to a very embarrassing and stressful five-hour drive. Needless to say we chose the latter.

The result was five hours of stalling at intersections, a car full of twenty year olds howling with laughter at the incompetence of their sweaty-palmed driver, and a pretty unforgettable weekend in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Additionally, I can now say with confidence that I know how to drive stick.