Visiting Glasgow

Some of you may already know that I’m studying for the MLitt in Creative Writing at The University of Glasgow, via Distance Learning. During the taught portion of the degree, we ‘attended’ weekly classes through video conference software. Now we’re in the last stages of the course, where students are working on their final portfolios. My final portfolio is a novel, which I’ll be writing more about here in future.

Being a Distance Learning student, I’ve longed to have the full campus experience: research libraries, access to campus facilities and events, being able to meet with my professors and fellow students in person, and feeling part of the academic (and writing) community. It’s hard to feel a part of these things from a distance. So, before I began the course, I decided that I would visit the campus at least once.

Needless to say, this proved more difficult than I had previously envisioned. But, last week, my partner and I took a trip up to Scotland to see the campus, and do a little sightseeing while we were at it. I’ve only been to Scotland once before, and that was many years ago, so I had no idea what to expect.

The campus was beautiful!

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We mostly stayed in Glasgow, but made a quick trip to Edinburgh where I met a friend for coffee and where we visited the National Gallery. I highly recommend it, and in future will make sure to plan more time there. From the little I saw, Edinburgh is a fascinating and gorgeous city. Edinburgh Castle overlooks the city making it feel like you are walking through a fairy tale picture book. This isn’t the best photograph, but you get the idea. 🙂

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Oh yes, and this was helpful too. 😉

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In Glasgow we visited the West End and Ashton Lane, and I did a lot of looking around on campus. Have I mentioned before how lovely the campus is? Here are some more pictures of it, in case you weren’t convinced.  🙂 

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And here I am, in front of the new Creative Writing offices (not the best picture, but hey!).


Of course, I also met with my tutor to discuss my portfolio work, and my course convenor, to discuss future possibilities. It was great getting to meet and chat with them in person.

We got to visit a few museums while we were there too, including The Hunterian Art Gallery, The Mackintosh House and The People’s Palace. They were all fascinating and loads of fun. I especially enjoyed the paintings by The Glasgow Boys in The Hunterian Gallery, and the intriguing, mysterious art of Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh (her husband designed much of the house but she was the hands-on artist whose work was largely neglected during her lifetime).

The People’s Palace and Winter Gardens is in Glasgow Green, a very different part of the city. The building itself is magnificent, and the Winter Gardens—actually a giant tropical greenhouse with a lovely cafe–is a great choice for a coffee or tea when you’ve finished with the exhibitions. I especially enjoyed the exhibitions on how Glaswegians once lived. Glasgow has always had a high rate of poverty, but it was once the case that you would get entire families living in a single room, and women washed clothes in what were called ‘Steamies’. Here’s a photo of one.


And a couple of the lovely banners they had on display.

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This exhibit was also quite useful. If only I had encountered it earlier in the trip!

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While I did not get to have the full campus experience, or even to meet many students, it was fun to see my campus, and to visit Glasgow. I will certainly be going back for another trip before too long. Oh yes, and I definitely want to spend more time in Edinburgh next time too! 🙂

Have you done a distance learning course? What was your experience of it? And have you been to Glasgow, or Edinburgh? What did I miss? What should I do next time?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

12 thoughts on “Visiting Glasgow

  1. Hi Kendra, I loved reading about your trip to Glasgow and I’m glad you had such a good time! I completely agree – it is so hard to feel like you’re having the “real” student experience when you’re studying distance learning. I visited the campus in February and was lucky enough to meet up with some of the other students and lecturers, and it was such a valuable experience. I will definitely be visiting again soon, and would love to go up for at least one tutorial in person.

    I have to admit I don’t know Glasgow all that well, but I’ve visited Edinburgh a lot. The National Museum of Scotland is well worth a visit – it has a nice cafe, and the museum itself is enormous. I must have been there 3 or 4 times now and I still don’t think I’ve seen everything, and make sure you get onto the roof terrace for some spectacular views! And why not try and catch a show? I love the Playhouse theatre, and they often have good shows on. If you’re a little shorter on time, the Wallace Monument is also amazing.

    P.s. The Husband Day Care Centre sounds fab!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kerrie, Thanks! And yes, I was so disappointed not to be able to make it in February, when you all went up. It sounds like you had an amazing experience too. 🙂 I really enjoyed having my tutorial in person, and getting to see the new Creative Writing offices. Zoe and Laura were really helpful in terms of giving advice and information (both academic and otherwise!).
      And thank you for the tips re Edinburgh! I will make sure that I check them out the next time I’m there–they sound fantastic! I love the theatre, but rarely get to go, so it would be a great excuse to see a show. 🙂
      Thanks for your comment!
      Oh yes, and The Husband Day Care Centre did a very good job 😉


  2. Hi Kendra
    I’m a bit of a curmudgeon, so studying online suited me perfectly ;o) That said I did have to attend a physical creative writing workshop at Lancaster University (where i did my Masters). While it was great to meet my colleagues and tutors, I was shocked at how run down the physical uni was and didn’t find the environment of the crumbling 1960s buildings conducive to learning … not helped by the fact that its a camps university and the bus stop terminus was in some kind of tunnel that stunk of pee, and it was a cold and wet and miserable day. I was so glad that I was studying from the comfort of my own home and did not have to visit again (I declined to attend my graduation). The course itself, however, was brilliant 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Marianne, I agree that there are many benefits to studying online, especially not having to commute! It sounds like Lancaster Uni could do with some cosmetic improvements, especially their bus tunnels ;-). I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed the course otherwise. I’m curious as to whether your classes took place in real time, or if you participated in your own time. I initially expected the participation in our classes to be done in our own time, through a forum or some such tool. They turned out to be via video conferencing, in real time. In some ways, this was better but in others it made it more difficult to attend if you had computer problems, had to work etc. Anyway, thanks for your comment! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry to take so long to reply … only just found your replies … anyway, we participated asynchronously ie: we didn’t have to log at the same time as everyone else. We used a conference programme called Lotus Notes. The only face-to-face time involved attending two workshops – one in Lancaster and one in Ireland. Video conferencing would not have worked for me. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely photo’s and post, Kendra – glad you got to see your university, and was able to do some sightseeing as well. I’m going to Edinburgh in August and I can’t wait, will be my first time at the book festival!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post, and lovely photos! I’m glad you got to visit where you are doing your course. I’ve been to Glasgow a few times, but mainly I go to Edinburgh when I visit my family in Scotland. Both are great cities, of course. In Edinburgh, I like to visit the tea room at St. Giles Cathedral and the gift shop! Now, I know a few more places to go in Glasgow, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Louisa, I definitely want to visit Edinburgh again, and when I do I will make sure to visit the tea room at St. Giles Cathedral. And the gift shop too, of course ;-). Thanks for reading, and thanks for your comments. 🙂


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