1. What was your biggest fear about studying abroad that turned out to be no big deal?
Some of my friends graduated a year early, and I was pretty bad about keeping in touch with past roommates, so I was afraid I’d be unable to find a decent housing situation for the year after my return. I ended up having several options, and since I wasn’t around, I sneakily avoided a lot of the logistical stress.
2. What do you wish you had done to better prepare before going abroad?
I was busy the summer before departure, so I swept some important deadlines under the rug- like my visa and health clearance- causing myself unnecessary stress.
3. What were your favorite classes abroad? How did they compare to UCSB?
I really enjoyed all of my courses. My Art History and Celtic Literature classes were especially interesting, because the location made me feel related to the material in a new way. The system is vitally different from UCSB, as are the expectations. Two of my courses had no sections and a final paper worth 100% of the grade. I had to adapt my writing style but I grew as a student.
4. What is one of your best memories from abroad?
Edinburgh is very connected to its dark, interesting past– there were many events based on pagan rituals and celtic folklore. New Years Eve (known as Hogmany) was especially beautiful. Fireworks shot off from the castle every hour, and a never-ending procession of people paraded through the city with fire torches, culminating in a bonfire on a hill with stone ruins.
5. What was your biggest challenge abroad?
Budgeting! I travelled a LOT, so I had to be careful.
6. What is your favorite aspect of your host culture?
The Scottish pub scene is just delightful. Edinburgh has around 500 pubs, and each one is warm and cheery and unique.
7. Did you intern, volunteer, or conduct fieldwork or research abroad? If so, tell us
about your experience.
I volunteered with an environmental org, and I worked as a temp for the summer. The experiences were pleasant and illuminating.
8. What local food or drink do you miss most now that you are back?
I really miss Innis & Gunn.
9. How have you changed since your time abroad?
I’ve always been indepedent, but now I’m really convinced of my competence. I also felt connected to history in a way I never have– I cultivated a global/historical worldview.
10. What is your advice to prospective UCSB EAP students?
Squeeze all that you can out of it. Go as early and stay as late as your Visa allows. Use Skyscanner, Airbnb, and HostelWorld. And if you’re at all interested in photography and have had your eye on a DSLR camera, it is worth it.