Make the Most by Meeting Locals! Past Review

By (Sociology, Oregon State University) - abroad from 09/02/2015 to 12/18/2015 with

IFSA: Glasgow - University of Glasgow

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a lot of independence and adaptability. I feel comfortable making a choice to move further away and am even thinking internationally now for my future. It was definitely worthwhile and I would encourage all students to try their hardest to study abroad.

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.

I would have loved to have more flexibility in the classes I was allowed to take, but it was in issue with the University of Glasgow and not IFSA-Butler.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was placed in student flats that were a little over a mile away from campus (Winton Drive). I was satisfied because the walk to campus was beautiful even though it was a real journey, and public transportation from my flat wasn't the most convenient.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Since Scotland is in the UK, it wasn't the biggest culture shock, but the IFSA-Orientation gave us a pretty solid foundation for what to expect from Scottish life.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I (embarrassingly) chipped my tooth while I was abroad. I called one of my program advisors, Andrew, and he was incredibly helpful in making sure that I was okay, and even found a dentist for me within two hours so I could go get help. Since dentistry is considered cosmetic, my insurance wouldn't cover it, but the care given to me was just the same as at home.

* Safety:

I was really surprised by how safe I felt in Glasgow. I was expecting to feel uncomfortable especially because the University was in the heart of the city but like any major city/town, if you stay in the right areas and are aware of your surroundings you'll be safe and won't have to worry. People in Glasgow are so friendly.

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

I made a lot of friends through IFSA and the trips they provided us with were really exciting. I met other international students and learned that their programs did not offer the activities that IFSA did.


* 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 low rating is mostly because of the conversion rate. Finding cheap grocery stores is key, but food was generally really expensive.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I didn't budget as well as I should have for the entire term. I would suggest budgeting for the entire term just to have an idea instead of budgeting for a month.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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 IFSA Highland weekend trip
  • Host family weekend
  • Glasgow culture
* What could be improved?
  • A little more information earlier on- most info wasn't given out until 1-2 months before we left when we were accepted into the program 6 months prior.
  • Further integration into Scottish culture instead of grouping us with Americans
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That making friends with locals is the best way to get the most out of your experience. I had an idea of this going in, but it didn't really resonate until I was there, and until I got home. I really cherish the connections I made with Scottish people.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Sociology of Media 1

Course Department: Sociology
Instructor: Greg Philo
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was incredibly challenging, but 100% worth it. Since it was a level 4 class, it relied on independent learning and the only graded assignment was a final 4000 word essay. It was difficult but allowed me to demonstrate my own knowledge of the subject based on roughly 6 books suggested throughout the term. The reading list provided maybe over 75 sources total throughout the course, but it taught each student to be selective in their direction of inquiry and challenged us to find what we were actually interested in. This kind of style is really different than most classes at OSU, but I learned to love it and now I really appreciate what it taught me about independent study.
Credit Transfer Issues: My only issue is that it has been 3 months since grades have been submitted from the University and they still have not transferred to OSU. I would advise other students to be patient.
Course Name/Rating:

Intro to Fiction: The Short Story

Course Department: Centre for Open Studies
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class wasn't all too challenging, it was only once a week but it was a night class. I wanted to review this class because I met many international students at Glasgow Uni that wish they found a class through the Centre for Open Studies. It s easy to overlook because it's offered to the general public as well as students from Glasgow Uni. So I was in this class with other people ranged from 18-75 years old. It was an amazing alternative learning experience, being in class with people of that age range and from all over Glasgow. Don't overlook the Centre for Open Studies- they have so many options!
Credit Transfer Issues: The class counts for 10 credits at the University of Glasgow, while they recommend taking classes that are 20 credits. I haven't received the credits for this yet, but I'm imagining that it will transfer as 2 credits for OSU rather than 4.