1. Why did you choose this particular location to study abroad?
I chose Scotland after thoroughly searching all the available programs. I knew I wanted to go for a whole semester, and I was looking to go somewhere that is predominantly English-speaking. This is my first experience leaving the US so I wanted to allow myself some sort of comfort zone. After narrowing down the possibilities, I chose Scotland because I knew that I would be able to take courses that would fit well with my two majors (International Studies and Publishing & Editing). I was also drawn to Scotland’s rich history of clansmen, kings and queens, and folklore.
2. What was the most meaningful interaction you have had with a local?
Some of the most meaningful interactions I have had with locals here in Scotland have been with the Scottish students I have met. Most of my classes are with third and fourth-year students who have helped me to figure out things like how to turn in assignments on the student portal. I also have a friend, Connor, who is a first-year student. He studied US Civil War history in secondary school so we have lots of fun comparing perspectives on history, politics, and the differences between the Scottish and American education systems.
3. Have you had the opportunity to explore your city? Where have you ventured, and why did you select those places?
I go to Stirling about once a week. It is one of Scotland’s smaller cities and is within walking distance from campus. I go there to have dinner with friends, go shopping, and to just walk around. If you’d like to see photos of Stirling, check out the blog post I wrote about it!
4. How does your major tie into your study abroad plans?
Two of the three classes I am taking are English literature courses that I hope to receive credit transfer approval for two course requirements. The other course, Religion, Ethics, and Society, will transfer as one of my pre-approved electives for International Studies. Beyond academics, however, my International Studies major had a large influence on my study abroad plans. I knew that a cross-cultural experience would complement what I have learned in SU’s classrooms. Since coming here, I have had the opportunity to talk about the current political situations in the home countries of many friends I have made. For example, I have learned a lot about the current inter-party tensions in the Swedish parliament, and how immigrants and refugees have impacted daily life in European countries like Sweden. These conversations, relative to my studies, have given me the chance to hear the perspectives of someone who has witnessed the effects of these political situations first-hand.
5. Given that it is your first adventure outside of the U.S., what were you most excited for while prepping for your abroad trip?
I was excited to finally have the chance to travel to other countries. I wanted to see all of the beautiful scenery of Scotland first hand, and not just in photos/videos online. I planned on taking full advantage of being in Europe, with access to visiting to new places that I have never had before. I’m happy to say that I have already done a good bit of both of these! I’ve taken many hours to soak in the beauty of the Scottish landscape, going on walks and hiking up mountains, and I have been fortunate to use money I saved over the summer to go on day and weekend trips to other countries like Germany and England.