My Chevening month: Seeing the sights

One month into 2016 and I can safely say that January has set some very high standards for the rest of the year.

Travelling across the UK during my Christmas break took me from the cobbled streets of Oxford to Portsmouth, the picturesque Isle of Wight, the historic city of Southampton, Brighton, Huddersfield, Leeds and even across Cardiff and the island of Anglesey in Wales.

Of course, there was no where else in the world I’d rather have been at the stroke of midnight on the 31st of December, 2015 than the beautiful city of Edinburgh, right where all the action unfolded at the traditional Hogmanay celebration for the New Year. The whole city was alive with festive cheer as tourists from across the globe arrived to take to the streets and dance the night away at what is one of the world’s biggest New Year’s street parties. Not even the chill in the air could dampen spirits and the DJ’s kept the crowds on their feet by spinning tracks that covered the best of 2015 before the traditional Auld Lang Syne floated across the arena and spectacular fireworks lit up the skyline.

 

The city preparing for #edinburghshogmanay ! Can’t wait. #CheveningSMA #iamchevening

A photo posted by Tamara Mathias (@tammy_mathias) on Dec 31, 2015 at 4:53am PST

 

I was also fortunate to spend a week in London this past month, and took in every bit the capital city had to offer – from the buzzing nightlife and happening restaurants to the brightly lit shops. I even managed to catch a spectacular performance of Wicked, the musical, at one of London’s famous theatres.

I also visited Oxford for a weekend and was given a warm welcome by my fellow Cheveners there, who treated me to a traditional lunch at Oxford’s famous Balliol College.

 

View from the top. #Oxford #stmarys #CheveningSMA #iamchevening

A photo posted by Tamara Mathias (@tammy_mathias) on Jan 18, 2016 at 3:40pm PST

 

January also signalled the start of a new term back at St. Andrews, where we wasted no time getting back to business and starting new projects that will hopefully make this semester an exciting one.

The 25th of January marks a special day on the Scottish calendar – Burn’s Night – an annual celebration of the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns. The evening is replete with fun traditions in almost every Scottish household and I was privileged to attend a traditional Burn’s supper with friends, where we learned about the life and times of Rabbie Burns, enjoyed some of his poetry and tucked into the delicious dinner of haggis and clootie dumpling – only after the address to the haggis had been read and performed, of course!

All in all, this past month has been an eventful one and definitely has me looking forward to the beginning of spring and the rest of my time in the UK.

 

My first burns night and it was amazing. Thank you Esther! #CheveningSMA #iamchevening

A video posted by Tamara Mathias (@tammy_mathias) on Jan 30, 2016 at 2:33pm PST