Past Review

By (Studio Arts, The University of Texas at Austin) for

IFSA: Glasgow - Glasgow School of Art

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I feel I've wasted 6 months on a program that taught me absolutely nothing that was promised by IFSA-Butler.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The teaching methods were very different but the tutors and I did try to find an equilibrium. However I went to GSA for the purpose of learning and becoming efficient in art programs, instead I was told to make design projects using primarily scissors and glue. I knew the teaching methods would be different but I was specifically told I would learn Graphic Design and Illustration, I did not at all. Butler did not fulfill their end of the contract which stated "generation of graphic/typographic, illustrative, photographic and moving image" would be key goals in the course. My tutors never even mentioned Illustration workshops and only offered the one Flash [side project] workshop for my entire study abroad experience.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Their focus was not on Graphic Design and Illustration [as I was told in the course descriptions] but on basic foundational Design - which involved cut and glue 3D installations with no use for the computer. The tutors, who were GSA alumni, retaught what they learned when they were students at GSA. Projects that did not involve computers simply because they were not an relevant to art in the 1970s and 1980s despite being a major tool for many of today's artists.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Margaret Macdonald House on Buccleuch St. was an old but decent dorm where I had my own bathroom and a communal kitchen to share with 4 other students. Some of the appliances and utilities were strange but I had no trouble. <br /><br /> It was 1 block from my class and near a major shopping street so I didn't have to travel far to get my groceries. I did need sheets and toiletries when I first arrived. The host family I stayed with for 3 days were very kind and well experienced in hosting exchange students. I had a fun time and enjoyed my experience.

* Food:

I provided my own food. We only had 1 mini fridge to share between 5 people so I ate lots of spaghetti and pb&j sandwiches as a result of little room in the fridge or freezer.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The Scottish people are very nice and inviting and the scenery is beautiful.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

It was very hard to find Doctor's office that the University worked with and when I did I felt very uncomfortable in that part of town.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I wish I knew of the hidden fees included in the air travel - they start cheap but they kill you with luggage fees.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hostel
  • Hotel
  • Dorm
  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? painting or sculpture students

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

First Year Visual Communication: Graphic Design and Illustration

Course Department:
Instructor: Dancer
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The course was a very open studio environment with decent time management to do projects. However I only learned one program [Flash] that was relevant to the course of Graphic Design and Illustration. This was a very small side project that was meant as Spring Break work. 6 months and I only learned 1 program - I want a refund. I was told by Butler [after specifically asking what this Study Abroad Program would entail] that First Year was where I would learn the basics of digital art programs. I did not. In GSA I would repeatedly ask my tutors when I would be able to learn those art programs. I was told soon or not now. Every time. I've wasted $30,000 on a Study Abroad that was essentially a repeat of my foundation courses I have already taken at UT. I was told I would learn one thing and I did not - I want a refund because the program did not fulfill IFSA-Butler's specifications in their catalog or what I was directly told by Katherine Gordon that I would do better in First Year because it was where I would learn the art programs.
Credit Transfer Issues: