Scotland: The Perfect Place to Live and/or Study Abroad Past Review

By (HISTORY., St. Mary's College of Maryland) - abroad from 01/06/2014 to 06/01/2014 with

Arcadia: Glasgow - University of Glasgow

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience was fantastic. I am genuinely devastated that I cannot repeat my time abroad. I am hopeful that I will be able to one day do my masters degree or live in Glasgow for much, much longer than 6 months!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I feel as though I have greatly benefitted from the educational opportunities afforded to me by both Arcadia and the University of Glasgow. The courses I took were fast-paced, demanding and incredibly rewarding. I gained important information from perspectives that I otherwise would not have come into contact with.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Arcadia was fantastic when it came to administering the program itself and all add-on programs within Scotland.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in independent housing, choosing to live with a friend in Glasgow, rather than in the available student housing. This worked wonderfully for me and Arcadia was clear that should I need anything, even in independent housing, that they would be available to help. All others in the program lived within student housing and all seemed very happy with their choices as well.

* Food:

Scotland is often mocked for the wide variety of fried food offered at most chip shops. This however, is an unfair stereotype. Scotland has many different cuisines to offer, including, of course, traditional Scottish food. All are delicious. Scotland has a relatively diverse population, resulting in a diverse culinary experience in most major cities. Grocery stores also offer many varieties of packaged American food, which definitely came in handy on the rare occasions on which I was homesick.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Scottish people, and particularly Glaswegians, are incredibly welcoming and just the most wonderful people. I am a fairly introverted person and tend to keep to myself most of the time, but I made many Scottish friends while abroad, lovely people who went out of their way to invite me along to events and make me feel welcome.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had a few prescriptions to fill while abroad and also became ill a few times. On those occasions, I went to the University of Glasgow medical building and was given prompt care. The UK is blessed with the NHS, which provides free (or discounted) care. Scotland also has a system in place which provides individuals with free prescriptions. This was a welcome change from the US healthcare system. I did not need any vaccines for this program.

* Safety:

With any city, there are bound to be safety concerns and crimes committed, however, Glasgow is a welcoming city with an unfair reputation for crime and more specifically, stabbings. This reputation is unjust. Again, every city experiences crime. Glasgow is well patrolled by police officers and many people look out for others late at night. My advice, as with any city, would be to remain aware of your surroundings, know the local emergency numbers, let others know of your locations if you're nervous and be wary of those you don't know. I am a very petite female student and there were many times when I walked home late at night on my own and never faced any harassment or threats upon my safety. There were many times when I felt safer at 4:00 am in Glasgow, than I have in my hometown of Washington, DC in the middle of the day.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

The exchange rate was not my friend while abroad. There were a few times when I struggled to find money in order to eat. This was due to the fact that I decided upon a budget before departing for my semester abroad. With an exchange rate almost constantly in flux, it was difficult to live with a steady budget. My advice would be to use the first month as a practice to see how cheaply you can live (not including one time purchases like books, school supplies, bedding, etc.). One benefit to studying abroad in Scotland is that students have access to hundreds of discounts. On the rare occasion I went clothes shopping, I was able to get many discounts through various smartphone apps and discounts.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent roughly between 40-70 pounds each week, not including rent or bills.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you live in student residences, buy dry goods in bulk and try sharing with others in your flat or program. In the UK, produce and meats tend to expire more rapidly than they do in the US. It is hard to purchase these in bulk to plan ahead, especially if you don't have a sizeable freezer. Be aware that there are many discounts you can take advantage of as a student. Take advantage of these!


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Glasgow
  • Glaswegians
  • Nightlife
* What could be improved?
  • Not a
  • Single
  • Thing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish that I hadn't been as introverted when I first arrived. My introversion certainly didn't hurt my experience but if I'd been more outgoing, I likely could have made the friends I did, sooner!

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'