Top Five Free (or Cheap!) Things to Do in Glasgow

Living in Glasgow, you’re spoilt for choice with options of how to spend your free time. While you can come along to EAS trips, maybe you’re looking for somewhere to take your family and friends or places where you can spend as little money as possible.  In such a large city, there are so many options, but here are my top five picks!

1: Glasgow Botanic Gardens

Situated near the University, the Botanic Gardens are a beautiful spot to spend a sunny or rainy afternoon alike.  It’s completely free to wander around the gardens and Kibble Palace (the large glasshouse in the picture), home to many species of plants and flowers. Make sure you see the Dangerous Plants room, and it’s a perfect spot to relax on a rare sunny day!

Where is it? 730 Great Western Road, Glasgow, G12 0UE

More info: http://www.glasgowbotanicgardens.com

2: Queen Margaret Union

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The Queen Margaret Union is one of Glasgow’s two student unions.  As a student, you can become a ‘member’ of both the Queen Margaret and the Glasgow University Unions, which give you benefits such as cheaper drinks and cheaper entry to events.  During the summer, the union is open during the week, from 8am until 11pm (12am on Friday.)  You can join your friends for a game of pool in Champions’ Bar, see live music by artists from Glasgow and beyond, or get a bite to eat for a student-friendly price.

Where is it? 22 University Gardens, Glasgow, G12 8QN

More info: https://www.qmunion.org.uk

3: Gallery of Modern Art

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You’ve probably heard of, or even visited the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery which is next to the University but Glasgow is home to many other museums and galleries, with most being free to enter, including the Gallery of Modern Art.  The Gallery of Modern Art holds four galleries across the building, with new exhibitions on a regular basis.  There’s also a library in the building and an area for children.  In front of the building, you can also see the famous Duke of Wellington statue – you may have already heard of this as the statue Glaswegians decorate with traffic cones!  You’ll have to see it to believe it…

Where is it? Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow, G1 3AH

More info: https://galleryofmodernart.wordpress.com

4: Glasgow Film Theatre

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One of the best well-known cinemas in Scotland, the Glasgow Film Theatre has something for everyone.  Known locally as the GFT, it has a diverse monthly timetable with everything from foreign-language films with English subtitles, to screenings of live theatre shows, to an annual Film Festival every February.  It costs £7.50 for a student ticket, but if you’re under 25, you can apply for a ’15-25 Card’ for even cheaper tickets!

Where is it? 12 Rose Street, Glasgow, G3 6RB

More info: http://glasgowfilm.org

5: Glasgow Necropolis

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East of the city, Glasgow’s ‘city of the dead’ might not be your first choice for a day out but don’t miss out on this fascinating place. The Necropolis is an old cemetery, next to Glasgow Cathedral, built on a hill overlooking the city.  It’s famous for the view of the city as well as the varied architecture and memorials throughout.  You can also pop over to the Cathedral, a medieval church, where lies St. Mungo, the patron saint of Glasgow.

Where is it? Castle Street, Glasgow, G4 0UZ

More info: http://www.glasgownecropolis.org

Let us know at Chat Club if you go to any of these places, or if you have any more suggestions!

– Amy Shimmin (EAS Support Staff)

Festive fun in Glasgow

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The nights are drawing in and the cold is beginning to bite – in Scotland that means one thing. Time to celebrate Christmas!

Christmas is one of the most popular celebrations in the UK. Originally a Christian festival, it is now celebrated across the UK by people from all backgrounds and religions. At this time of year, cities put on lots of fun events that can help you to enjoy winter – despite the cold! There is plenty to do around Glasgow over the next few weeks, and we hope you will all join in and have a truly Scottish experience! This post outlines a few of the fun things you can look forward to between now and 25th December.


Torchlight Procession – 26th November

Kick off the festive season with a Torchlight Procession in the West End on Saturday 26th November. It is open and accessible to all who want to take part, and children are welcome. Vouchers for tickets are on sale for £10 on the festival website here – but be warned, the torches are real fire so if you’re nervous of flames (like me…) you may prefer to watch rather than take part. The procession will begin at 5.45pm at Queen Margaret Drive and last around 45 minutes. Even if you don’t plan to be involved, be warned that roads around the West End will be closed for the procession. More information about what to expect can be found here!


Glasgow Style Mile Carnival – 27th November

On Sunday 27th November, check out the Glasgow Style Mile Carnival, a festive procession of music and dance through the centre of the city. It begins at the St Enoch Centre at 2.30pm and finishes at George Square. Lots of local groups are involved in the procession, including drama groups, schools, and dance troupes! The route map is available on the website, and copied here for your convenience!

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Byres Road Christmas Lights Switch On! – 27th November

If you’d rather stick to the West End, Sunday 27th November also sees the first ever Byres Road Christmas Lights Switch On! In Scotland we need festive lights to brighten up dark days. To add to the excitement, switch-ons have become big celebrations with music and performances. The Byres Road celebration will start at midday with a Christmas Market on Vinicombe Street (at the top of Byres Road opposite Waitrose); from 2pm local choirs and musicians will perform festive tunes; and then at 6pm the Christmas tree will be lit by a special guest.


Traditional Blessing of the Crib Ceremony – 7th December

If you’re interested in the more religious side of Christmas, be sure to attend the traditional Blessing of the Crib in George Square on 7th December at 6.30pm. Attendance is free and open to everyone!


Santa Dash Fun Run – 11th December

A Glasgow favourite that you won’t want to miss is the Santa Dash! On Sunday 11th December, thousands of people will dress up in Santa Claus costumes and run 5km through the city centre to raise money for charity. It starts at George Square at 10am, and is quite a sight to see!


Christmas Markets – on now!

A lot of British Christmas traditions – such as decorating Christmas trees – originated in Germany, and were brought over when Queen Victoria married a German prince in the 1800s. A more recent German import is the Christmas Market (Weihnachtsmarkt, in the original German). Christmas markets sell Christmas gifts, warm clothing, and lots of food and drinks to enjoy. Mulled wine is a popular spicy drink that you can find at markets around Christmas.  Traditionally it contains alcohol (wine) but sometimes non-alcoholic versions are available, just ask.

This year, Glasgow has two Christmas Markets! Even if you don’t want to buy anything, it’s a great experience to walk around and see what’s on offer. One market can be found in St Enoch Square (10th Nov-22nd Dec), with another at George Square (26th Nov-29th Dec). Opening times and more details are available on the Glasgow Loves Christmas website.


Music and Theatre

There are dozens of festive shows you can attend throughout the season. You can find a full list here, but I’ve highlighted a few of my personal favourites below.


Pantomime

A very British tradition at Christmas is the pantomime. You might have seen pantomimes (or ‘pantos’) advertised around Glasgow. There are lots to choose from! Some are professional, some are amateur, but all are great fun. Panto stories loosely follow familiar fairy tales such as Cinderella, Aladdin, and Peter Pan, but have a twist. A favourite character is always the panto dame – a male actor dressed up as a woman in a comedy role! Often the main male character will also be played by a woman. There are lots of silly jokes that children love, and plenty of audience interaction where the characters speak to the children in the audience.


Classical Music

You will also find lots of music shows throughout November and December. Glasgow is lucky to be the home of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) which does an annual Christmas tour of Scotland. If you have children, you might want to check out the Children’s Classics Christmas Countdown on Sunday 4th December at 1pm or 3pm! Otherwise, this year the RSNO Christmas Concert will take place on 17th December at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (near Buchanan Street).

If you are planning on staying in Glasgow over Christmas itself, you might like to see the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra on Thursday 22nd December, 7pm at City Halls. And around Glasgow, you will likely come across brass bands playing traditional Christmas music often perform for free, or in return for charity donations, in shopping centres and supermarkets.

We hope you have a fun Christmas experience in Glasgow! And remember – take lots of pictures, and you might win one of our photography contests…

Written by Hannah Kunzlik, edited by Kerry Sharkey.

Visit the Island of Skye!

By Eloise Birtwhistle

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The landscapes of Western Europe may just be a flight away from the UK, but some of the most unusual and dramatic places of natural beauty are right here in the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

This April, I was lucky enough to spend a Week on the Isle of Skye – something I would recommend to anyone interested in the great outdoors.

 

Basics

Getting there

There are several ways to travel up to Skye from Glasgow. Personally, I took the bus, which is the longest and, probably, least comfortable option. However, it is also by far the cheapest and the journey up through Scotland is beautiful in itself. My bus ticket included a student discount and cost me £40 for a return from CityLink.

Accommodation

Unfortunately, the main means of accommodation on Skye are Bed and Breakfasts (BnBs), which are relatively expensive. An alternative is taking your own tent and wild camping, which is legal anywhere in Scotland and free. Campers should be warned, though, that this is far from luxurious and may lead to a cold and restless night. I decided to spend the money to stay in BnBs, which I found independently online or through the website airbnb.co.uk.

Getting around

There are buses between Skye’s villages that I relied on a lot while there. Using the buses is the cheapest option but requires careful planning as they are not regular. Also, the buses will not take you to many of the natural sites that make Skye what it is.

Another option is to hire a car once you’re there. I chose to do this for one day, although you can do so for longer. I found that it is also possible to hire a car with a non UK or EU driving license, but you must be over 21.

 

What to Do and Where to Go

Now for the fun stuff! Skye has so much to offer, but here are my top five favourite things I did while there.

Five: Portree

Portree is the largest town on Skye and a lovely example of the kind of Scottish harbours often seen on the islands. When I arrived I took the afternoon to explore this pretty place’s shops, cafes and viewpoints. From a tower on a hill above the harbour I had a great view of Portree’s colourful buildings and boats, as well as being able to see the Old Man of Storr beyond. I then walked around the hill and watched the sunset across the water and hills before a delicious meal in one of Portree’s many restaurants.

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Four: The Fairy Pools

While I was staying in Carbost, on the west side of the island, I took a day trip to the Fairy Pools. This series of waterfalls and pools at the foothills of Skye’s Black Cuillin Mountains are each a little different from the last and continuingly delightful. The water has run off the mountains that surround the Fairy Pools and, as a result, it is clear, pure and a gorgeous green.

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Three: Staffin Beach

Staffin Beach, at the top of Skye, has some great sea views and walks surrounding it. However, it gets a place in my top five for one, very special, reason. If you’re lucky, you will be able to find the 65 million year old dinosaur footprints that are fossilised in the rocks of this beach. Although these incredible fossils are often hidden by either the tide or the sand of the beach, a combination of ensuring I visited at low tide and perfect weather conditions meant I was able to find them. The footprints are clear and impressive and I would highly recommend the experience of being able to walk exactly where dinosaurs have once been.

Two: The Old Man of Storr

Portree is a good base for some of the most famous walks on Skye, including the Old Man of Storr. Personally, I went to the Old Man of Storr on the day that I hired a car and the drive was very quick. The walk itself is easy and the views at the top are stunning. When I went, it was misty and a bit wet, but the experience was still well worth it. For me, the views were even more dramatic in the mist.

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One: The Fairy Glen

The Fairy Glen gets my top spot because it is unlike anywhere I have ever been in the world. Not sign-posted, but walking distance up the road from Uig, this place has a truly magical feel. After so many dramatic and rugged landscapes, going to the Fairy Glen right at the end of my trip was a surprising and special experience. I’ve decided to not put up any pictures of this miniature environment as it is can’t really be captured on camera. You’ll just have to go to Skye and see it for yourself!

British versus American English

British v. American English

By Angie Spoto

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English is English is English, right? Not quite! If you first learned English in the American style, you might be surprised to find some important differences between American and British English. There are more differences than you think, and knowing them could save you from an awkward situation!

 

Vocabulary

Clothing

American British
Pants Trousers
Underwear Pants
Sweater Jumper
Costume Fancy Dress
Sneakers Trainers

Watch out for the pants v. trousers conundrum! I’ve made the mistake of using ‘pants’ when I meant to say ‘trousers’, and it was an embarrassing (albeit funny!) conversation.

If someone invites you to a ‘fancy dress’ party, this doesn’t mean you should wear a ball gown or something fancy – it means you can wear a costume!

Education

American British
Math Maths
Vacation Holiday
Eraser Rubber
Grade Mark

On the Road

American British
Parking Lot Car Park
Freeway/Highway Motorway
Truck Lorry
Gas Petrol
Dumpster Skip
Sidewalk Pavement
Exit Slip Road

And if you’ve ever driven in the UK, you’ve probably noticed there are more differences than just the vocabulary…

Places

American British
Apartment Flat
Drug Store Chemist
Doctor’s Office Surgery
Bathroom Toilet/Loo

When I first moved to Scotland, I wondered why so many people were going to get surgery… then I realized, that ‘surgery’ simply means ‘doctor’s office.’

Food

American British
Cookie Biscuit
Chips Crisps
Fries Chips
Eggplant Aubergine
Popsicle Ice Lolly
Slice of Bacon Rasher
Take Out Take Away

Did you know, if you order fries in the UK, you’ll get skinny chips instead of chunky ones?

Informal Phrases

In addition to the many differences in vocabulary, British English and American English also have different everyday phrases. Here are a few that confused me when I first moved here:

Phrase Explanation
You all right? In American English, if someone asked you if you’re all right, something must be wrong – maybe you look sick or you fell off your bike.

In British English, it’s often used as an informal greeting just like ‘Hi’, ‘How are you?’ or ‘How’s it going?’

That’s you then. A clerk in the grocery store might tell you this as she hands you your receipt. This phrase simply means ‘the transaction is finished’.
Hiya This phrase is used as a greeting. It’s equivalent to ‘Hi’ or ‘Hi there.’
Nae In informal speech, the word ‘nae’ can mean ‘no’ or ‘not.’ For example, ‘Nae bother, it wasnae your fault’ means ‘No problem, it wasn’t your fault.’

 

Spelling

Setting Up You Computer for British English Spell Check

You’re probably familiar with the key differences in American v. British English spelling; American English tends to use ‘ize’ endings (rather than the British ‘ise’) and omits the ‘u’ in words like colour and favour.

It’s very likely that your computer is configured to check for spelling and grammar in the American style of English, which means you’ll get the squiggly red line underneath words like ‘colour’ and ‘organise’ even though they’re spelled properly.

To change Word’s settings to check for UK English, follow these instructions:

  1. Select the entire document (press Ctrl+A).
  2. From the Tools menu, choose Language… Word then displays the Language dialog box.
  3. In the list of languages, select English (UK).

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  1. Click on the OK button.

 You can also set up English (UK) to be your default language, so that every time you open Word, Word automatically checks for British English. To do this:

  1. From the Tools menu, choose Language… Word then displays the Language dialog box.
  2. In the list of languages, select English (UK).
  3. Click on the Default… Then press Yes.

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  1. Click on the OK

If you discover any more differences between American and British English, feel free to share them in the comments below!

Summer in Glasgow

Where to go, what to do…

So you’re spending the summer in Glasgow – it’s a new city and a whole new environment!  It can be difficult to know what is available and where you can go to de-stress from the demands of the pre-sessional course.  Here you will find some information about what’s on in Glasgow this summer, some places you can go with your friends and where to experience new and interesting things!  These will become the stories you tell your friends and family at home about your time in Glasgow.

West End Festival

You may not know this, but every year the West end of Glasgow hosts a festival celebrating music and art culture.  This festival begins on the 3rd of June and finishes on the 26th of June.

During the West End Festival there will be various events occurring in the areas surrounding the University Campus. These events include comedy shows, gigs, Shakespeare plays, BBQs, Choir performances, Whiskey tasting and many more. You can find out all the information about the events which are available during the festival here.

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(The West End Festival Parade 2015)

Music in Glasgow

You may have heard of Glasgow’s prominent music scene, but not know where to get tickets or see shows. Glasgow is frequently visited by some of the biggest acts in the musical world due to its first rate venues (both large and small) which have become a massive attraction for musical acts.  A list of venues is given below:

SSE Hydro

The SSE Hydro is the biggest music venue in the city. It was completed in 2013, and is a massive arena venue holding 13,000 where you can see some of the biggest acts in the world today. This summer it will be visited by acts such as The Who, Manic Street Preachers, Neil Young, Andrea Bocelli.  It will also host sporting events such as WWE and a tennis match between Andy Murray and Gael Monfils.

If you are interested in attending a big event at the hydro you can visit their website here.

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Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC)

Another popular venue for musical acts and public speakers is the SECC, like the hydro it is one of the larger venues for musical performances and conferences. This summer it will be host to a number of musicians and public speakers including Malala Yousafzai, Paul Carrick and Madness.

SECC

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

If you are looking to enjoy some classical music over the summer, one of the best places to go is the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, located across from Buchanan Bus Station in the city centre. You can find out what is on at the concert hall here.

Film in Glasgow

Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT)

The GFT is one of the most popular cinemas in the city.  It shows a different variety of films from most big cinemas like Cineworld or Vue.  At the GFT you can see films from all over the world in different languages, usually with subtitles. The GFT shows English films too.  It often has themed nights when it shows classic films, and it shows films related to the season like Christmas or Halloween films!

Cineworld Glasgow

Located just off of Buchanan Street, Cineworld Glasgow is the largest cinema in Europe, and here you can see all the latest and most popular films. At Cineworld they also have a variety of monthly passes etc. if you are a frequent cinema-goer.

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Grosvenor Cinema (Ashton Lane)

This is a tiny cinema located very near the university which is very cosy and popular among Glasgow University students! It shows some of the latest and greatest films.

 

Places to Eat & Drink

It would be almost impossible to list every restaurant and café in Glasgow in this short blog, so here are some articles from reputable sources which list some of the best places to eat in the city:

Tripadvisor – Review of Glasgow Restaraunts

The Guardian – Places to Eat in Glasgow on a Budget

Explore Glasgow – Eating Out in Glasgow

See our other blog about restaurants in Glasgow too:
https://welfareteam.wordpress.com/2016/02/01/restaurants-in-glasgow/

That’s it from us, have a great summer in Glasgow!

Glasgow Subway Closures 2nd July – 31st July

Hello all! This post is about the closure of the subway system around the city, and what travel alternatives are available for you while modernization of the subway takes place.

The subway is undergoing its first full-scale improvement in 30 years this summer to modernize the tunnel system and the subway cars.  While construction takes place a replacement bus service will go to and from each subway station. This means that you will be able to get on a bus at the station you normally use, and the bus will take you to the next station in the subway circuit.

 subway circuit

For example: Hillhead Station > Buchanan Street Station

Get on the bus at Hillhead Station.  The bus will follow the normal route (Kelvinbridge > St. George’s Cross > Cowcaddens) until you come to Buchanan Street – easy!

The bus service will begin on the 2nd of July and end when the Subway returns to normal on the 1st of August.  If you are interested, here are some pictures of what the subway cars will look like after modernization:

New subway train

Alternatively, you can always reach destinations like the city centre via the rail service. The rail service is slightly more expensive than the subway and has a much more complex route, but from both Partick and Hyndland station you can catch a train into the city centre.
High level train

Of course, another alternative for getting around the city is the First Bus Service.  However, if you are using a bus please ensure you know exactly which route your bus will be travelling and which number to look for! Each bus is identified by a number which corresponds to a certain route, for example, the number 6A will take you from Great Western Road into the City Centre, but not every bus will follow that route. You don’t want to end up getting lost!

See our separate blog about using buses in Glasgow for more information:
https://welfareteam.wordpress.com/2016/01/22/using-buses-in-glasgow/

Hi! From Nathan Speirs

Hello! My name is Nathan, I may have met some of you already during your introductory lecture and campus tour but I thought I would introduce myself properly here. I am a final year student studying an English Language and English Literature MA here at the university. I have worked for EAS previously, and there’s a good chance that if you have friends who did a pre-sessional course last year I might know them!  I’m here as an intern for EAS until September, and I’m really looking forward to getting to know you all at Chat Club and during our weekend trips. Firstly, though, let me just briefly tell you a little bit more about myself.

Nathan

(I have a wide repertoire of faces for all occasions)

I am 21 years old and I have lived in Glasgow for most of my life. I was born right in the city centre and grew up in a town just outside of Glasgow, but I moved back here when I was 13 years old – so I am well suited to give you a little bit of insight about the city and what it is like living here. If you have any questions for me, please ask! I’m nice I swear!

Once I graduate from university my goal is to save up money for a Master’s degree at the university, just like most of you will be studying in September. I believe in pursuing one’s aspirations and I am very interested in doing some research into narrative from a linguistic perspective as part of further study in English Language. I considered becoming a teacher but decided against it in order to pursue further study at Glasgow, it’s going to be tough and involve a lot of hard work if I want to keep studying but I’m willing to do it! I know a lot of you will be in a similar situation and are very hard workers, I will no doubt be chatting to you about this at chat club if you attend.

 

My other main goal for the future is to travel a little bit; unlike most of you I am not very well travelled and am hoping to change this. I have travelled to France, Holland, England, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in my life, but would like to travel more around Europe and outside of it in the coming years. If you would like to tell me a little bit more about your home country I would love to speak to you because it will give me an insight into what life is like in your home country, who knows, maybe I will travel there!

 

I recently wrote and completed my dissertation, which was about the nature of narrative in video games. If you have an interest in video games I am always willing to chat about it, I love video games and I’m hoping to study them further in the future.

 

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(Me with my dissertation at the quadrangles before handing it in)

 

I currently live in the west end with two housemates and two small but devious cats, but my family live in the east end of Glasgow, where I am originally from. At home I lived with my mum, dad, sister, grandmother, grandfather and my dog. You may notice that I regard my dog as part of my family, and you will definitely hear me talk about my dog a lot during the summer. In my spare time I read fantasy novels or science fiction novels, play and write music, play video games, go to bars and clubs with my friends, or go on drives to the countryside with my girlfriend. I enjoy hillwalking a lot and regularly exercise at the gym, although I don’t go as often as I should.

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(I like animals, can you tell?)

So, that’s it for my brief but hopefully entertaining introduction! I hope to see you all on the trips and at chat club, don’t be shy!