“I have returned home with a knowledge that the world is bigger than anyone realizes, with infinite possibilities and opportunities for anyone who is looking for them.”
My family is originally from Scotland, so studying abroad was a way for me to be able to connect back to where my roots are. I was interested in the opportunity to travel the world while exploring my cultural heritage and learning at an ancient university while doing so.
I was lucky enough to travel across the inner islands and highlands of Scotland while abroad. This allowed me to interact with people from all across the country. I listened to stories of how Scotland has grown over the decades and what life is like for those in both the smallest villages and big cities.
I was very concerned about the amount of responsibility required to live alone while in a different country. I faced the challenges of keeping up with various challenges associated with living in a new city by making sure I asked questions to the advisors at the UCEAP center in Edinburgh.
I woke up in the morning in my flat about a mile away from the University of Glasgow. I either made breakfast in the kitchen alongside some of my flatmates, or grabbed a quick breakfast somewhere on Byres road in the West End of Glasgow. I attended my classes at the university, bundled up in coats and scarves when the temperatures dropped in the early winter. If I ended class early, I could take the bus or the subway into the City Centre to find something for dinner. At the end of the day, I would return home amongst festive lights in the streets and call my parents who would be enjoying lunch, 8 hours behind in California.
I took Celtic Civilizations, Archaeology of Scotland, Introduction to Scottish Culture and History, and a class with the Glasgow School of Art for Black and White Photography. The usual coursework was structured differently than my classes at Berkeley, with a focus on the final exam and final term paper rather than continuous evaluation.
I spent time traveling and exploring Scotland and Europe with my sister who also studied abroad in Scotland, but at the University of Edinburgh. My sister and I took trips nearly every weekend to places I had only ever dreamed of seeing. I also spent time exploring the city of Glasgow by myself, learning about how to be independent and how to seek out experiences on my own that I would remember for a lifetime.
I believe that I am a more responsible, adventurous person because of my experiences abroad. I have returned home with a knowledge that the world is bigger than anyone realizes, with infinite possibilities and opportunities for anyone who is looking for them. Without studying abroad, I wouldn't have gained the courage to look outside my comfort zone for a semester that would give me more wisdom than I ever dreamed I would gain.
I would recommend studying abroad to everyone I know and everyone I meet! It's one of the best decisions I have made in college, and will be some of my fondest memories of this time in my life. It's easier to do than most people think, and it's an experience I wouldn't trade for anything in the world!