Justin R., UK-Scotland, Univ. of Glasgow (Biology)

ACADEMICS

  1. What types of classes did you take abroad and how did they compare to UCSB?

I was in a physics intensive summer program so I was enrolled in two classes (Physics I and Physics II) which was split into 4 weeks each. In comparison to UCSB they were fairly different due to the fact that at the University of Glasgow, classes are discussion based (you are assigned a mentor and spend most of your time with them). Also you are solely with UC students with the exception of the mentors and professors.  

(class meetings: iclickers, Drop in: about 5-7 word problems, lab: one experiment)

  1. What was your favorite class abroad? 

My favorite part about class in Glasgow was lab due to the fact that if you prepared properly for it, you really enhanced your learning of the material due to the fact that you are setting up an actual experiment by yourself (w/ a partner) and getting data from it.

HOST INSTITUTION

  1. How would you describe your host institution?

University of Glasgow is known to be one of the main inspirations for the creation of ‘Hogwarts’ from Harry Potter, therefore I would describe the institution as jaw-dropping and beautiful. Majority of the campus is of Gothic-style and was originally built in 1452.

  1. Are there student clubs/organizations that UC students can join?

Since this program is over the summer only, there are not any student clubs/ organizations that UC students can join.

HOUSING

  1. Describe your housing situation.

For housing, I stayed in the University housing for exchange students which was about a 10-15 minute walk from Uni. It was a 5 single room flat, with a shared bathroom/ kitchen and living area. The single room was fairly spacious; and the kitchen was furnished with cookware, as well as utensils. Majority of the people in the program were living with only people from the Physics program, however I was joined up with UC- students from the Genetics Program as well.  

FOOD

  1. Where did you eat most of your meals?

As a result of no dining commons offered, most of my meals were spent in local restaurants/ fast-food places, with some meals (mostly late-night meals), being cooked in my flat.

  1. How much was an average meal?  Do you have any budgeting tips for future students?

Depending on where you decide to eat and how much food you decide to get, on average for lunch I was spending about 5-8 pounds (7-10 dollars) on lunch and dinner was roughly 10-15 pounds (12-19 dollars). Budgeting tips for future students that I would recommend would be to make some food at home and take leftovers in a tupperware to warm up in the common area which was one floor above from where you spent your school day.

  1. Would it be difficult for vegetarians/vegans and others with strict dietary restrictions to find meals?

To my surprise, not at all, I made many friends that were vegetarians and vegans and as a result of spending so much time with them I ended up eating mostly vegetarian and vegan food with them for lunch or dinner. For vegans specifically there is actually a pub that is about 400 feet away from flats you will be staying at that is strictly 100% vegan, which became a fairly popular place for people to get dinner.

  1. Describe your most memorable dining experience abroad.

My most memorable dining experience abroad had to be when I traveled to Rhodes, Greece for a weekend with a few friends. I have never to this day experienced such cultured, tasteful food as I did there. In Glasgow however, my most memorable dining experience had to be at a famous restaurant called Mother India.

  1. What local food or drink do you miss most now that you are back?

A cider named Strongbow, to be specific the cloudy apple flavor, was probably my favorite drink throughout this summer and I miss the most. Local food that I miss the most now that I am back would probably just be food that I ate while traveling on the weekends, in Greece, Ireland, and London.

HOST CITY

  1. Describe your host city.

The flats for this program are located very close to central Glasgow, in an area called the West End. Glasgow is usually known to be cold, wet, city that is known for its beautiful architecture and also friendly inhabitants.  

  1. Was it easy to get around?

Personally I think it was super easy to get around the city, to walk to downtown Glasgow from my flat, it took about 20-15 minutes, but it is a very nice walk with a nice scenery. There is however a subway that was specifically made for Glasgow in itself, so it just travels in a loop, and takes about 10 minutes to completely circle around, which helps you hop on from many different parts of the city and go to the other side within minutes.

  1. Did you feel safe in your host city? Do you have any safety tips for future students?

I felt extremely safe in my host city, I found myself walking around at night a few times with no one out and about, however I never had an unsettling feeling. Safety tips I would recommend for future students would simply just be trust your gut instinct, because while Glasgow is one of the safest cities in the world, anything can always happen and it’s better to be cautious than to be reckless.  

  1. What were some interesting/fun things that you did in your host city?

One interesting thing that I did in my host city was a pub crawl, where one night we walked and subway-ed through about 10 pubs in total throughout the night. Another fun thing that I really wanted to do however I never had the time was go on the hop-on-hop off tour bus through Glasgow, I really enjoyed doing these in all of my travels because you get so much information and background about the city in such a short amount of time.

HOST CULTURE

  1. Describe any cultural differences you experienced while abroad.

The only main cultural difference that I experienced while abroad is the accent that ‘Glaswegians’ obtain. Other than that the main cultural differences were the fact that Pubs are a very popular location for people to hangout and spend time together in Europe.

  1. How did you handle culture shock?

There was not much of a culture shock since everyone speaks English, it was quite easy for me to handle the cultural differences in Glasgow.

  1. What is your favorite aspect of your host culture?

My favorite aspect of my host culture was the fact that everything was easily accessible.

TRAVEL

  1. Tell us your favorite travel story from your time abroad.

My favorite travel story from my time abroad would definitely be when I visited Rhodes, Greece with a few friends the week before my last final in Glasgow. My overall experience in this amazing country was phenomenal, with beautiful views all around, and delicious food being sold all over for an affordable price.

REFLECTION

  1. What was your biggest fear about studying abroad that turned out to be no big deal?

My biggest fear about studying abroad that turned out to be no big deal was my fear of being by myself in a foreign country without knowing anyone. This turned out to be no big deal due to the fact that I was readily accepted into the community and was never made out as an outsider.

  1. What was your biggest challenge abroad?

My biggest challenge abroad was wanting to see everywhere and anywhere without having the time, however I overcame this by seeing as much as possible while also being able to admire every country and culture I went to.

  1. How have you changed as a result of your time abroad?

I have changed drastically as a result of my time abroad in a sense that I have now a greater appreciation for the world and all the diverse communities that inhabit it. I am now studying abroad again in Sweden for the fall.

 


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