Major: Business Administration
– Tourism & Hospitality
Hometown: Lakewood, CO
While applying for college, one of the main things I looked for was a good study abroad program. Fort Lewis College has an incredible one! With a variety of ways and many different countries, and a lot of help, I knew that I was going to be in good hands when preparing for my study abroad. In the fall of 2011 I studied abroad in Stirling, Scotland. I chose to go through a company called “Eurolearn”, and they helped me with everything from sending in my application, to receiving my acceptance letter, to transferring my credits back to FLC. Everything was hassle free! They even took me to London for a week before I headed up to Scotland for orientation. One of the best parts about working with a provider was that even though they were there to help along the way, I was still on my own quite a bit, truly immersing myself in the culture.
I had done a lot of traveling in my life, before my study abroad, so one of my criteria while choosing my country was to go to a country that I hadn’t already been. I also knew that I wanted to go to Europe, and a country that spoke English was a plus! Scotland seemed like the perfect fit; although sometimes I felt like everyone there was speaking a different language. I attended the University of Stirling, in Stirling, Scotland. It is a small farming town at the base of the Highlands. If you have seen the movie “Braveheart” you know where it is. The town is famous for William Wallace’s defeat of the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.
One of the greatest things about attending University in Scotland was the people that I met. I lived in the international dorm with students from all over the world! Some of my closet friends came from Australia and Canada. However, the local Scots are what really made my experience special. They were all so friendly, and giving, and extremely difficult to understand! But one thing that was common throughout all of the Scottish people that I met was that they were so proud of their country, and everything Scotland represents. They really did wear kilts, and play bagpipes, and eat haggis! Everyone was excited about showing us foreigners what to do and see in Scotland.
My favorite part about studying abroad was the travel. I was able to go to 8 countries and see most of Scotland. I spent a lot of time in the Highlands, visited many castles, and searched for Nessie the Loch Ness Monster! I never found her. I also spent time exploring the German Christmas Markets, enjoying chocolate in Belgium, skiing the French Alps, and so much more.
On a side trip to Stonehenge!
My experience abroad was truly rewarding. It was scary and nerve wrecking at first because I did not know anyone, did not know where I would be living, and I was thousands of miles from my friends, family, and the comforts of home. However, I think that is the best part of studying abroad. It takes you out of your comfort zone, and you have to adapt to the culture and way of life in a new country. In the end, it turned out to be the best experience of my life. I grew a lot while abroad. I came back to Fort Lewis College, confident, happy, excited to share my stories, and wanting to learn more about people all over the world. I think that every college student, if given the opportunity, should go abroad, and experience living in a different culture for a significant amount of time.