Xandra Button ’20 knew she wanted to attend college outside of Indiana. At first, that dream took her to the furthest reaches of the country, exploring her collegiate options on the east and west coasts, but after a meeting with her college advisor, her dream got just a bit bigger.

Xandra’s always wanted to explore the world, and often told people that she dreamed of “writing books in a castle by the beach.” When her counselor, Kelly Shank, mentioned a beautiful Scottish university that was indeed in a castle on a beach – with an incredible creative writing program, to boot – Xandra’s dream seemed within reach. Now she just needed to stretch her wings across the Atlantic Ocean to begin the greatest adventure of her life.

Xandra shared with us the journey it took to be accepted at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and how this truly is a lifelong dream come true.

Tell us how you went about deciding to attend college outside the US?

My mom likes to tell me I was “born with wings on.” I’ve been trying to explore the world since I was a little girl, always asking to go to new places and always wanting to learn new things. It wasn’t surprising to anyone that I wanted to apply to colleges across the country. When I talked to my college counselor (thanks, Ms. Shank), she realized I was looking at places far away and recommended a university in Scotland that had a good creative writing program. That was all it took!

What drew you specifically to the University of Aberdeen in Scotland?

It would be easier to say what didn’t draw me there. There’s so many great things about Aberdeen. I love that Scotland has free healthcare, I love their laws about LGBT+ rights, I love that Aberdeen itself is cheaper than U.S. schools, I love the English classes the university offers, I love that the school is a castle, I love that it’s 500 years old and supposedly haunted by a ghost older than our country. The list goes on.

How did you know Aberdeen was the right choice for you?

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a worrier. When I say I worry about everything, I mean everything. Yet somehow, I’m not worried about going to Aberdeen. I was crying every week after I applied to colleges because I didn’t know how I’d handle being in a strange place all by myself. The second I got Aberdeen’s acceptance letter, that was it. Everything stopped. Although I’m going to miss the people in Indiana, I’m not worried for once. All I feel now is happiness.

What are you most excited for?

When I was a kid, adults would ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up. I would tell them, “I want to write books in a castle by the beach” and they would laugh. It wasn’t a joke, though. That is exactly what I’m going to do at Aberdeen, so I’d say I’m most excited to finally live that dream.

Are you at all apprehensive about your move to Scotland?

Nope! For the first time in my whole life I’m not worried, just excited. It’s great!

Tell us a bit about the living arrangements at Aberdeen?

The on-campus housing is a little different than in America. Each floor of the student housing building has nine single rooms and shared kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms. Basically, everyone has their own bedroom but shares the rest of the floor with eight other people.

Do you hope to live abroad after college and what do you hope to do?

My whole life I’ve wanted to be somewhere else. When applying to colleges I decided I didn’t want to feel like that anymore, so I assumed I’d stay in whatever state or country I ended up in. Although I do think I may move around Europe, I expect to stay outside of the United States if I can. I’m going to be an author and a book editor, hopefully working to make stories more inclusive so more kids can see themselves as heroes.

How has your time at Brebeuf helped prepare you for college abroad?

Brebeuf makes me feel like I matter and like I deserve to be happy. I don’t think I would have believed in myself enough to apply to Aberdeen if I hadn’t gone to Brebeuf.