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!
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. 🙂
Oh yes, and this was helpful too. 😉
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. 🙂
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.
This exhibit was also quite useful. If only I had encountered it earlier in the trip!
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!