I'm already saving up to go back Past Review

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 09/13/2017 to 12/15/2018 with

Glasgow School of Art: Glasgow - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
One of the most beneficial experiences was our class trip to London, as I not only got see a plethora of art and venues, but got to understand some underlying components to the art world, as well as how art is viewed/valued in other cultures.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Both studio practice and the FOCI critical studies class was engaging and interesting, there was just some confusion as to what was expected especially since this was my first time in an art school environment. You were expected to be in studio from 9-5pm, schedule your own tutorials and prepare for discussion groups. However, I learned most of what was expected of me from my peers rather than my tutors. The switch to Canvas for the school seemed to be a rather interruptive/confusing process, which lead to a lack in communication.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I only spoke with my abroad advisor once to switch my program to a semester. One big issue I had was when I was applying for my tier-4 visa, as I had to constantly email and remind them that I needed specific information to apply for the visa in the first place. By the time I received this I was cutting it really close to the deadline, and am still surprised my visa came back in time.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was placed in freshmen housing, and lived with international students except for one other American. The only drawback was the small fridges/one freezer to share between six people. The housing unit was gated, so that provided a sense of safety. Figuring out how to get mail was difficult, as you could only get flat mail and had to send your parcels to a 'pick-up' location; this is something I wish I knew beforehand.

* Food:

This program is independent living, so you have to budget your own meal plan and do your own cooking. The residential housing is very close to Tescos, Sainsbury's or even Farm Foods, so there was plenty of options, there was just very little fridge space, so that was something to navigate.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I was surprised by how little Scottish students/professors were in my specific program, as they were mostly English. GSA was good about hosting events in the Art School (a local bar that hosted parties/djs etc) that encouraged socializing with your peers. My specific program led us on a tour around the area where our studio was at the start of the semester, but other than it was mostly self exploratory.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

At the start of the semester during orientation nurses came to the school with forms to register with NHS, the local healthcare. Although I never had a need to visit the facility, I'm sure it would have been fairly simple.

* Safety:

My studio was relocated to the city center, and I was advised not to be alone in the studio passed dark or in the area for that matter. There were shuttles that would bring students to and from the Tontine building and the Library, so that was helpful. My housing was located right above Sauchiehall Street which is a strip of bars/clubs, so my advice is to stay aware of your surroundings, especially at night on the weekends. The best advice I received from one of my flatmates, who was from just outside Glasgow, was that drunk and/or homeless Glaswegians will come up to you, and the best way to resolve any issue is to engage with them and then wish them a good night, its a very different culture in respects to Boston or New York where you would just keep going in those types of situations.

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

Although unorganized as it was, once I finally got the hang of things I really enjoyed the city and the friends I made along the way. I was really disappointed-am still disappointed- I had to cut short my stay, but l greatly value my experience for what it was.


* 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 only thing I found to be a burden was buying all my supplies, as the art department at Middlebury is organized around a comprehensive studio fee, vs pay as you go. I was also unaware that all GSA sports/activities were pay as you go as well, I felt this restricted my participation in a lot of organizations, as well as how I approached making art.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Once I got into routine, I could budget 20-30 pounds a week on food, not including going out. The other expenses included public transportation, and studio supplies would could at least average another 10 pounds.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I was glad I listened to the advice of bringing over at least 300 pounds, as it helped me get through the immediate essentials, i.e., bedding, toiletries, food etc. I didn't discover this until the end of the program sadly, but the main cafeteria in the Reid building has a very small fee for cash back compared to grocery stores. A lot of money-saving tips, I gathered was from my flatmates and peers from class, so don't be afraid to ask! **always ask if theres a student discount**


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Direct Enrollment

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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 people I met
  • The city I lived in
  • The classes I took
* What could be improved?
  • The school's organization: timely, coherent communication
  • A more comprehensive orientation, so that incoming students have a better familiarity with the campus before classes start, have a chance to meet people, and also just to help buffer the adjustment/culture shock.
  • A closer connection between middlebury and this program, despite it being external. I think that would have helped bridge a lot of gaps in my overall experience.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that I was eventually going to figure everything out- that I knew how much I miss it now.

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.'

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Dynamic Objects Y2 S1 FoCI

Course Department: Painting & Printmaking Yr 2
Instructor: Neil Clements, Kate Love
Instruction Language: English
Comments: As an art history joint major, I found this class enthralling. The critical studies approach to art was very different then the art history classes I take at Middlebury, as there was an emphasis on the socio-political factors that came in to play. The lecture was followed by small group discussions so that the information could be digested more thoroughly. The most interesting aspect was that I was learning about the production of American art through a European lens, and seeing how narratives differentiate between cultures. I found I was compelled to ask more questions in this environment, and felt many of my peers had asked my opinion over issues, being that I was one of the two Americans in the whole program.
Credit Transfer Issues: I have yet to hear back from this professor about the course outline he had ensured I would receive, I also received an email from Stacey that my transcript had been attempted to be sent, but was sent in the wrong format. However, being that the entire course content is on their canvas site, I hopefully will have enough proof to gain credit. This delay and miscommunication on GSA's part, was one of the biggest factors that helped me decide to come back early, as I couldn't risk losing an entire year of credits.