Past Review

By (HISTORY., Clark University) for

CEA CAPA Education Abroad: London, England

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My study abroad experience was definitely worthwhile. I'm now doing a directed study this semester on Scottish history during the time of the Jacobites and the battle of Culloden because that's what I studied about while I was there. It was great to meet so many people from different places in the world and experience a different culture as well.

Personal Information

The term and year this program took place: Spring 2009

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I liked all the classes I took while I was there. There wasn't a lot of work, just weekly reading for a tutorial session (like a discussion), but I didn't like the way classes were graded. At Stirling, you are graded on three things: the final exam (worth 50%), a paper (worth 40%), and participation (worth 10%). I had wished there were more assignments for us to do that were worth less rather than have fewer assignments that were worth more.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The orientation they gave us was very helpful and they let us know that they were there if we needed support at any time. The only negative thing I have to say about the Stirling's program administration was their airport pick-up srrvice. I made it to the airport in time to be picked up by them but couldn't find anyone from the university. If I had had a mobile number, I could have called someone by using a pay phone to find them in the airport. Instead, I had to find my own way to Stirling by myself. That is definitely not the kind of experience I would like other students to have so that part of their program really needs to be fixed. But some general advice just in case that happens: if you do have to find your own way to Stirling, you can either take a taxi (the more expensive option, which would probably be £40-50 from Edinburgh Airport and £50-60 from Glasgow Airport) and it would take you directly from the airport to Stirling; or if you'd like to save money you could take a bus from the airport to the train station, the train to Stirling, and then a bus from the city centre in Stirling to the university (probably around £20-30). The second option is definitely more stressful but it's cheaper as well.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in a seven person flat in off campus housing. I really liked that I was both close to the university (about a 10 minute bus ride) and close to town (10-15 minute walk). I liked that I could go into uni for classes or to do homework but that I could also get away from school and have a separation between the two. I got along really well with my flatmates, 4 were from Scotland and 2 from England, and I that helped to make my experience there really enjoyable.

* Food:

I went to Tesco's (one of the local supermarkets) in Stirling with my flatmates. Four of us would regularly shop and cook dinner together each week. I was also able to go to local restaurants and try authentic scottish food but also have american food like Domino's pizza and Subway as well. In the UK, they don't have as many options for cereal like we do in the US and I found that some of the same foods both countries had weren't as good as they were back home. But there were so many new foods that it made up for not having all the foods you were comfortable with from home.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Since I lived with all local students, and they knew I wanted to experience as much local Scottish culture I could, they brought me along to many different clubs, castles, shopping centers, to a ceilidh (a traditional Scottish dance) and to Glasgow for a night out. I also went to northern England one weekend with my flatmate who was from Carlisle, and to Munich with my other flatmate whose father lived there. I was also able to go up to the Highlands when my parents came to visit and I went to Ireland on spring break with four other girls from Clark. My flatmates knew I wanted to experience as much as possible while I was in Scotland and they helped me do just that.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

All of the study abroad students had to register with Health Services on campus and I knew I could make an appointment at any time if I was sick or needed medicine. As far as safety concerns go, I knew to be aware of my surroundings and always travel with friends but overall I felt safe while I was there.

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)

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
  • Apartment
  • Apartment
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Local Students
  • Local Students
  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? While I was in the UK, the pound was much stronger than the dollar so my money wasn't worth as much. Having the food cheque from Stirling University definitely helped because I was able to use it not only on food but for other expenses like going out or for trips. Also, I think all exchange students get involved in student groups on campus to meet other exchange and local students from your host university. Overall, I loved Stirling and I really enjoyed the program. To anyone who is considering Stirling or another study abroad program in general, my advice is to become friends with your flatmates and try not to spend all your time with only your friends from your home university or people from America. I felt I had such a great experience because of that. I saw my friends from Clark when we went out, but I met so many other people from Scotland because I wasn't only with Americans the whole time. For me, that's what made the difference between a good experience and a great experience.