Finding a New Home on the East Coast of Scotland Past Review

By (Ethnic, Cultural Minority, Gender, and Group Studies., Pacific Lutheran University) for

University of Aberdeen: Aberdeen - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I greatly enjoyed my time in Scotland. The people there love their country, and love to talk about it. It was great to get to meet very kind locals who only wished that you would have a good time while visiting their country. Even though the US and Scotland seem to have very similar cultures, there were definitely differences that helped me gain a larger cultural understanding and it taught me about different cultures. Studying abroad for a semester taught me that I loved living abroad and I am now planning on living abroad again for a year when I graduate from college. I found a new home in a foreign place, which is no longer foreign to me.

Review Photos

Direct Enrollment: Aberdeen - University of Aberdeen Photo Direct Enrollment: Aberdeen - University of Aberdeen Photo Direct Enrollment: Aberdeen - University of Aberdeen Photo Direct Enrollment: Aberdeen - University of Aberdeen Photo Direct Enrollment: Aberdeen - University of Aberdeen Photo

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.

Scotland Universities focus much more on students learning on their own time. This means that there was only a very small amount of homework, and most of that was just reading. This also means that the one or two papers and the final examination make up the entire grade - so those few assignments are very important. The nice thing about the lack of a homework load meant that I had plenty of time to form friendships and to travel around the country. The other difference is that all of my classes would meet only two times a week. The first time, no matter the class size, would be for a lecture which would last around an hour. For the second meeting the class would be broken up into smaller groups and the class would focus more on discussion. The second class was more like a regular class at my home university. Some classes were taught with multiple professors so it was harder to form relationships with them, though they were excited about what they were teaching.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I was happy with the host country administration. Because the university used direct employment a general focus of the university was for foreign students to integrate into the foreign country/university. We only met as a "foreign group" once, and at that time we were given much useful information, such as healthcare and signing up for classes. We were given individual advisers to help us register for classes, and they were very useful and knowledgeable about what would work best for each student. The coordinator was available to talk to us if we ever had issues, but because I never did have problems I did not meet with her on an individual basis.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in a dorm that was like a flat. It was composed of five individual rooms, a large bathroom and a kitchen. Depending on how much you wanted to spend the quality of the apartment could be improved upon. I did not have a meal plan, but instead cooked all my own meals and there was a grocery store less than a ten minute walk away. I had to buy sheets and bedding, none of that was provided. The dorms are in a student village which is about a fifteen minute walk from campus. There is also a bus that stops at the student village and a day ticket is discounted if you are a university student. The park near campus is not safe to walk through at night, though during the day it is wonderful, but lit streets leading downtown are safe to walk on if you wish for a forty-five minute walk. There are porters available 24/7 if there are any issues. There is also a mini grocery store, laundry, a fast food place and a bar located in the student village. Most of the students living there were local first years and I lived with three students from Scotland and one from France.

* Food:

There is a curry take-away place in the student village, but usually I cooked my own meals. I would typically go to a grocery store that was about a ten minute walk away. The kitchen had an oven, fridge and microwave. My flatmates had already provided the plates, cutlery and pans - otherwise I would have had to buy some. I could basically buy all of the things I would typically buy at home in the US.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My program did not provide any activities, so it had to all be self motivated. Transportation is very easy, there are always buses and trains to take you to other town and castles nearby. Pubs are abundant and sometimes have live music, they are great places to meet people. Some of my favorite events were ceilidhs - a more traditional group dance. The school hosted a few but it was also fun to go to local pubs and dance there. I would recommend joining the Aberdeen University International Society because it organizes trips to more distant places and will get you there more cheaply than if you had traveled on your own. The islands are especially wonderful places to visit - they show a slower and more traditional Scottish lifestyle. My favorites were the Isle of Skye and Mull.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

It was recommended to me that I had my own private healthcare before entering the country. However, under my student visa I was covered under the National Health Care System. I never had to visit any type of healthcare, but there was a practice that was close to campus so access seemed easy. I never heard of anyone having to wait long for an appointment. I generally felt safe in Aberdeen. The park near the student village was rather dangerous at night, but during the day was perfectly safe and nice to spend time in. I never felt unsafe walking around at night in the city or on the street. The streets were always busy enough so I felt safe.

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)

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
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The freedom to travel and go where I wanted.
  • Being in classes with local students, I was able to take the classes that I wanted.
* What could be improved?
  • It would be nice if there was a little more introduction when I first got to the university. Though I understand that they want us to integrate into the local student population.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I would recommend joining the international society which would help one start taking trips. Also, figure out the bus and train schedules. You need to initiate trips, and because the country is small it is easy to get anywhere as long as you make the effort. This program was also nice because it was at a larger university so I was able to take the classes I needed; I was not dictated by being in a particular program.