We get it, you have just arrived at the University of Glasgow and you are still getting acquainted with your surroundings, slowly beginning to explore the West End (with the help of Susanna Zarli’s article in our Freshers’ Zine, of course!). The West End may be incredibly rich in events, cafes, charity shops and supermarkets and it may seem like all you need at first, butbeware of lulling yourself into the comfort of what we call “The West End Bubble”. What’s wrong with that? – you may ask.Well, the West End may contain all of your everyday needs, butgetting too lazy will prevent you from exploring everything that Glasgow, and Scotland has to offer. In this article I have listed some of the many things you can do to get away from the student bubble and learn a little more about your surroundings.
The City Centre
What better place to start your little exploring than with Glasgow’s own city centre! Getting there is as easy as hopping on the subway to Buchanan street, or if you’re in a more ambitious mood, why not simply walk! 35 minutes from the main building is not too long a trek, and you could discover a lot along the way! Once there, you can start by a little shopping in mall and the multicity of shops that Glasgow’s busiest streets have to offer. If shopping isn’t your thing, go up to the Lighthouse to get a nice view onto Glasgow, or stop for a fancy cup of tea in the Willow Tearooms, inspired by the Glasgow – born artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Afterwards, why not head further into Glasgow’s Necropolis from where you can admire the city and get excited at all the wonders it still holds, waiting for you to discover.
Tired of the Grosvenor, who, being as cute and lovely a cinema as it is, mostly showcases blockbusters and mainstream movies?Check out the GFT, or Glasgow Film Theatre in the city centre! More niche movies as well as independent films are shown there daily, and if you get the GFT member card, the price of tickets is significantly lower! So why not expand your physical and cultural horizon by watching a movie in the city Centre for a change. (And we aren’t talking about CineWorld!)
The CCA or Centre of Contemporary Art located on Sauchiehall street is Glasgow’s own hub for creative activity. The CCA showcases the diversity of modern art in Scotland, includingcutting-edge exhibitions, films, music, literature, spoken word, festivals and much more. There is something for everyone, and each and every event will certainly leave you with the thirst to expand your cultural horizons, so keep your eyes peeled!
Kelvingrove park and the Botanic gardens are Great when you need a breath of fresh air or just some time to ponder your past life decisions, but why not bring it your love of green spaces to the next step by getting out of your comfort zone? Queen’s park, situated in the South Side of Glasgow is 148 acres of greenery(that’s big, folks) and it is busy all year round. A great range of sport and recreational facilities can be found there along with a boating pond and smaller nature pond, as well as the occasional farmer’s market. While you’re at it, it is a great place from where to start exploring the south side and its multicity of exotic restaurants and cafes! I promise it’s not as terrifying during the day as it is though to be at night. Still, stay safe and always make sure to grab a friend to accompany you in your adventures!
Something I wish I had known as a 1st year student is how easy it is to open yourself up to the rest of Scotland, especially as an international student eager to get to know their new home country. Whether it be from Queen Street or Central Station, hundreds of trains depart each day to various incredible locations. Why not hop on a train to Edinburgh for the day, or hike around Loch Lomond! And for a really special day, I highly recommend the Isle of Arran, accessible by taking a train followed by a ferry. Nothing is better to get away from university stress and a boring routine than hiking around this beautiful island. In short, don’t be scared to go further than Glasgow and no time you will feel like the West End is but a fraction of what you have yet to discover.
Enjoy the West End, of course, and make it your home, but do not forget how easy it is to explore your surroundings and discovering all that Glasgow and the rest of Scotland have to offer! Also, always remember to let someone know where you are going if you’re wandering further away by yourself.
[Nina Panter – @ninaa_ya – she/her]
[image: Ian D/Flickr]