My study abroad experience in Scotland was, to say the least, spectacular. I didn’t know what to expect going into this. I had never been out of the country and, while I did play it safe and choose an English speaking country for my study abroad program, I was still going far, far away from home. I chose Scotland because of my major, creative writing, knowing that the country has a rich literary history and the sights are a source of inspiration for many creatives out there. I was not, in any way, disappointed in that regard. Stirling, the city in Scotland I lived in for my time abroad, was something straight from a fantasy novel. The buildings were beautiful, the Stirling Castle striking, and the towering Wallace Monument could be seen from anywhere you stood in the city. The people were just as great as the sights. Everywhere I went for the duration of my stay, I was met with the kindest people. Anyone I passed while walking–and I did quite a lot of walking–were always ready with a smile. The professors and other staff on the University of Stirling’s campus were so caring and made my academic experience in Scotland something memorable. Courses work quite a bit differently from what I am used to in America, so being surrounded by such kind, helpful people really shaped my experience to be what it was.
Traversing the city of Stirling and the university campus aside, I did quite a bit of traveling throughout Scotland. I got to visit the big cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Edinburgh is the birthplace of Harry Potter, so there is quite a bit to experience in the city in that regard. The alley that inspired Diagon Alley is filled with magical shops and fun things to do. There’s Edinburgh Castle to visit and many museums which, in all of Scotland, are free to the public. I got to see St. Andrews, a city in Fife which is on the coast. Getting to see the sea, standing on the sand while cold waves crashed and the Scotland wind blew roughly, was a surreal experience. I even got to experience smaller places such as Culross Village and Falkirk–which are two places where some of the Outlander series was filmed. I became pretty familiar with Scotland’s public transportation and learned that it is not as daunting as it seems at first. The locals and workers are so kind and ready to help people like me who had no idea what they were doing at first.
Traveling to Scotland, while a fun and memorable experience, also taught me my limits as a human and gave me insight to what I want for my future. Traveling to a foreign country alone is intimidating and frightening, but I did it. It made me feel strong and made me work even harder at school and building friendships while I was there. Getting to experience the sights of Scotland and becoming familiar with the way school works and learning how to live there made me consider going back to continue my college education after I leave UTC. My study abroad experience in Scotland was invaluable and has made a huge impact on me not only as a student, but as a human being.
Christine Smalley (BA English) spent Spring 2022 studying abroad in Stirling, Scotland through USAC. Christine had the following to say about studying abroad, “Studying abroad in a foreign country might seem frightening, but the experience is so worth it. The memories and experience you gain from your time abroad are invaluable.”
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