Finding myself in the heart of Scotland January 24, 2019

By (University of Tennessee - Chattanooga) - abroad from 09/07/2018 to 12/12/2018 with

CISabroad (Center for International Studies): Stirling - Semester in Stirling

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to be confident in who I am and to feel the fear of new experiences but do them anyway. I took on many things I never thought I could do on my own with a confidence I never knew I was capable of. I think because I was pushed out of my comfort zone I was actually able to experience life in a way that at home I would never be able to do. IT WAS SO WORTH IT. I think every person would benefit from the experience of being abroad alone, it pushes you to examine who you are in ways that otherwise you would never have thought to.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The University of Stirling can be as intense as you want it to be, it is based around a self study model. You must be proactive to put in exactly what you want out of the courses, they are not going to spoon feed you assignments or readings.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Jeanna was the BEST!! She is one of those people that gets along with everyone and is so so welcoming. Regardless of the situation she will be there for you with open arms.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The off campus housing is old, but it really only adds to the whole experience. Stirling is a historic city and if you are looking for new and modern the housing isn't for you. However, I loved it! You have your own space which is great and it really makes you feel like you are living in a new/old world. The housing was walking distance to the city center and just a block away from the local market!

* Food:

The food in Scotland is FRESH. I am a vegetarian and had no trouble finding healthy ingredients and options everywhere I went. You can even get vegetarian haggis, which I really recommend. You can tell the food quality is so much better than the United States. It's fun to see the different brands and try a whole new diet from what you are used to.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The locals were so welcoming and always down to have a chat. The University had tons of options to get involved. I also have to say the pubs were a great place to hangout even if you are not drinking, the locals tend to hangout after work at the pubs and you are bound to strike a conversation with the locals. It is great to hear the stories of the prideful Scotts.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had a medical issue during my time and the walk-in clinic was actually on campus. It was so easy to make an appointment and fairly cheap to see the doctor. The doctors seemed very informed and wanting to help in anyway possible.

* Safety:

I never felt afraid or in danger in Stirling. Especially being a female I was always weary of walking at night in town but since it was a smaller city everyone looked out for one another. The city is very much so student based which even enhanced its safety.

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

The program was there 24/7 if you had any questions. The site director in Scotland was one of the kindest individuals I have ever met. She was always available and approachable regardless of the circumstance. The program included a group Highland trip at the start of the semester. The program built an approachable sense of community and the trip was a chance to strengthen our relationships. My roomates went with another provider and did not have as many outings, lacked a sight director and did not receive much support. CISabroad made the application process and transition to a new country extremely easy.

Finances

* 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)

Scotland was actually cheaper than England, which made shopping easy. The university has a 2nd hand shop for students which made buying kitchen supplies for the semester easy and not as wasteful.

Language

* 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

  • Americans
  • International 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?
  • The highland trip
  • The location of the program
  • The community
* What could be improved?
  • n/a
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Tours are great ways to get the best experiences with the least amount of money. Exploring on your own is also important but on weekend trips I think it would have been better to see all I could with someone informing me of what I am actually seeing rather than doing it on my own.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.