Over the previous weekend I attended an orientation session for families of new international students, hosted by the University of Edinburgh. Most of the attendees were the baby-boomer parents of undergraduates, busy micro-managing their sons and daughters lives. I kept having to tell people "my children attend the University of Victoria... it's my wife who is a student here". During question period the only people to ask questions were Americans, who would take the microphone and confidently announce who they were, and what state they were from. Liz from Wisconsin didn't so much have a question as a concern that the drinking age was only 18 and the university seemed to promote the consumption of alcohol. The director of the International Students Office assured her that this was not the case.
As Freshers Week draws to a close, I have to agree with Liz. How many other student unions have six separate drinking establishments? And that's just ONE of their student union buildings. On Wednesday night, I had the pleasure of visiting The Venue, a hall within the Potterrow building designed to hold 1,000 drunk and dancing kids consuming copious amounts of Carlsberg. Seriously, the bar only had Strongbow and Carlsberg on tap, at the low price of £2.40 a plastic pint.
We were at a DJ dance party for post-graduate and mature students. Despite the slightly older audience, I was asked no less than three times by three different students if I wasn't a bit too old and tired of this kind of thing. I politely explained that I like going anywhere just to watch Meghan bust a move. And dance she did, decked out in the official Edinburgh uniform of the young co-ed (a plaid mini-skirt). By the 3AM last call, her new Irish friends had joined her on the dance floor, performing Irish high-kick line dancing with plastic glasses that littered the dance floor.
You might ask he's not a student -- how did he get in? There was security at the door checking for student cards, but Meghan had forgot to bring hers, and in the resulting confusion to assure them she was a grad student, the five of us were whisked in.