Criminology in Scotland Past Review

By (Criminal Justice and Corrections., Illinois State University) for

Glasgow Caledonian University: Glasgow - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Studying abroad helped me develop an appreciation for the Scottish culture (I know it sounds generic, but it's true). Perhaps just as importantly, I realized how grateful I should be that I live in America, even with it's faults. Ultimately, I found this experience to be very humbling.

Review Photos

Glasgow Caledonian University: Glasgow - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Glasgow Caledonian University: Glasgow - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

For the courses I chose, the workload was very "end-loaded". There were only two or three grades for each class, and most of the essays were due at the end of the semester. I found the seminar/tutorial system to be beneficial; the seminars encouraged (and even required) interaction and collaboration between students as well as critical problem solving.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The department chair (unsure of the actual title) was incredibly helpful and made the transition so much easier. I felt comfortable with her as my "go-to" person/liaison for almost everything and she was very welcoming. She helped me set up everything within the university and offered advice on less-academic aspects of living in the city. I'm really glad that she was the one to manage the program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I wouldn't recommend university accommodation. Unfortunately, most international students don't have much of an option or know where to go for other options. The rent is a lot more expensive than comparable accommodation elsewhere in the city and I felt the services were inadequate for the expense. It wasn't an uncommon experience to return after a Friday class and find out that I won't have electricity all weekend, no hot water, or even water at all (these all happened at least once, sometimes more). Not having any electricity (which includes heating) during a weekend in February wasn't fun, but it was alright because the university eventually offered us a coupon for a free sandwich (valued up to 3.50) at the cafe to make up for us having absolutely no electricity all weekend. I found it a little funny that any students seeking reprieve from accommodation and getting a hotel for the weekend were denied this coupon. I also discovered that the university shuts off the heating at about midnight and doesn't return until the morning...I would advise against leaving your window open at night and forgetting about it. Internet access is available through a hard-wired port in the wall. It was reliable and fast enough, I just found it inconvenient that I constantly had to 'authenticate' and type in username/password whenever I wanted to use it. Initially, that sounded reasonable enough, but I found it to be irritating when it would kick me off every 15 minutes and require me to input them again. The additional 'authentication' window needs to stay open during your usage and a lot of computers have trouble with the java scripts it needs to run (and were unable to access the internet as a result). The additional strain on computer resources made me loathe this window even more. For the semester, I resided in an en-suite apartment. I shared the kitchen/hallway etc with 5 other international students. The apartment was structurally sound and the furniture all seemed like decent quality (though the chairs are uncomfortable), so it wasn't all bad. The university has cleaning crews that came in every morning to clean and take the garbage out of the kitchen, which was nice. The Accommodation Office staff was friendly enough and answered all my questions, but it was inconvenient that they all raced out the door at 5pm and were unavailable to provide assistance for any issues after that. Security is on-site 24/7 and all my interactions with them were pleasant and friendly. A last note: do not buy the Accommodation Office's bedding pack. It's terrible and not worth the money; every student I knew of that purchased the pack ended up buying proper bedding elsewhere after finding out how uncomfortable it was.

* Food:

University food is available in the cafe, but it is expensive and not really designed for students living nearby. It's pretty much just for a quick snack in between study sessions on the campus (almost all of the students commute to the university)

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It's definitely worth attending Student Tours Scotland's tours or even just their (free entry) pub nights. Scotland is full of awesome landscapes and fascinating history.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I never had any issues with safety. The security staff was on-site 24/7 too. There are definitely some shady parts of Glasgow, but most students have no reason to go there. I suppose the only advice I can offer is pretty much just common sense... Don't stray into shady alleys at night or make yourself an obvious target, etc.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? eh.. a lot. I can't provide a specific number, but things were generally 60% more expensive in the UK. Some places in Glasgow's city center are a bit more expensive, where the university/housing is located.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? A lot of stores offer student discounts, even for things you wouldn't expect (clothes). So..I suppose always look/ask if they offer student discounts and bring your ID card.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Criminal Justice/Criminology focus
  • Scottish culture (the accent makes everything seem about 40% funnier)
  • Opportunities for adventures around Scotland, if you set up classes correctly you'll have 5 day weekends for long trips
* What could be improved?
  • It would've been nice if more students from my university were interested
  • More/better options for housing/accommodation
  • If given the opportunity, take easier classes so you can spend less time studying
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Scotland is awesome and GCU managed to keep criminology interesting. If you're considering going to the UK, definitely choose Scotland instead of England or northern Ireland. It has truly amazing landscapes and attractions, and the Scottish culture is lots of fun.