A first-hand exploration into the history and resulting culture of Scotland Past Review

By (Linguistics and Communication Sciences and Disorders, Western Washington University) - abroad from 02/13/2012 to 06/02/2012 with

ISA Study Abroad in Stirling, Scotland

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
You have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things, because it can open up your eyes to new experiences. A person pretty much only tries haggis in Scotland. I made friends with a group of international students from around the world, which allowed me to learn about their cultures while we learned about Scottish culture together. I was able to see and explore beautiful scenery, pet livestock, experience buildings and structures older than I could even fathom, and meet amazing people who I would otherwise never have known. I was able to experience learning in a new environment with different teaching styles and structures, develop my independent self, and learn about Scotland firsthand, both educationally and culturally. The experience was definitely worthwhile.

Review Photos

GlobaLinks Learning Abroad: Stirling - University of Stirling Photo GlobaLinks Learning Abroad: Stirling - University of Stirling 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.

The academic structure was different than my home university's, which was a bit difficult to get used to at first. But the classes themselves provided me with good information.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I had a contact within GlobaLinks that could help me if I had problems, as well as an administrator working at University of Stirling that could help me.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had on-campus housing, so the location was great. However, I felt separated from the Scottish students because they were mostly housed on the other side of the building instead of all of the international students being integrated. This did provide me with the opportunity to meet other international students from around the world, but this also could have happened with more integration.

* Food:

There were quite a few options for dining on campus, as well as a small grocery store, which was very helpful for last minute groceries or purchasing food when the weather was bad.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Buses frequently went from campus to the city of Stirling, and from there both buses and trains allowed easy travel throughout the country, so that was very helpful and allowed me to explore the culture. The country has beautiful landscapes, and I partook in the walking culture that explored these landscapes. There were trails around campus and walking guidebooks.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Upon arrival to Stirling, I was helped to register with the on-campus healthcare system, and made an appointment due to my asthma. They were very helpful and provided me with supplies (free of charge) to monitor my asthma. This was more than I was used to at home. There were not any prevalent health issues in Scotland that I was aware of and I did not need any vaccines specifically for this program.

* Safety:

Stirling appeared to be a very safe city, and there were often students out late in the night, so the city always seemed relatively safe. The drinking age is 18, so students, especially young American students who are not used to being able to purchase alcohol, need to be aware of their alcohol tolerance level. Alcohol poisoning and unsafe incidents due to alcohol can be a risk.

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)

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Going to the clubs and purchasing alcohol can add up and become expensive, so budget both the amount of time and amount of money spent in those activities. Additionally, there are student passes/discount cards available for the trains and buses. If you are planning on using those modes of transportation fairly regularly, the discount cards can save you money. Explorer passes or becoming a member of certain places can also save you money if you plan on visiting many castles or similar attractions.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* 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
  • 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?
  • A lot of support was provided during the planning and preparing stages before going abroad.
  • They were readily available and very helpful both via email and over the phone.
* What could be improved?
  • More integration in on-campus housing with the local students.
  • More of a calendar of events of Scottish/Stirling events.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I should have studied abroad for a year instead of just one semester, because I was just beginning to understand Scotland when it was time to leave. And take advantage of what is happening in Scotland.

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.