You did your GO program in the UK — did you have a favorite town or city that you got to visit? Why?
During my semester in Scotland, I went on the Heartland Tour, which visited Northern Scotland including the Isle of Skye and Loch Ness. It wasn’t one specific town that we visited. The trip was one of the best experiences of my life. There was such a sense of community between the tour guide and the 13 other students on the tour. The place we stayed was this tiny cottage on Loch Carron and it felt like home for the weekend we were there. My favorite part of the trip was the scallop fishing trip we went on early Sunday morning. It was beautiful and foggy and I got to hold a crab and a sea anemone and try fresh scallops. I went with my best friend, and it is an experience neither of us are soon to forget.
What kinds of courses did you take abroad?
I took three modules while I was studying at Stirling University. I took a marketing course on understanding the way consumers think, and two literature courses, one focused on Victorian language and culture and one focused on the history of Scottish literature.
Your poetry mentions classic British authors, like Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. What’s your favorite book, author, and genre from the UK?
I am a sucker for Dickens. I absolutely loved reading great Expectations in senior year of high school. I find myself to be a lot like Pip. And though it is technically not the UK, I visited Dublin while I was abroad and saw the house where Oscar Wilde lived. My favorite classic novel of all time is The Picture of Dorian Gray, so it was pretty cool to see where that was written too.
We have to ask … was the weather and the food as bad as they say?
It rained almost every day. When it wasn’t raining, it was cloudy. Though once in a while there were magnificent cloudy sunsets. When it comes to food, there are a plethora of restaurants that serve Fish and Chips. (I would suggest Poppy’s in London) And I don’t even want to talk about Haggis. It’s detestable.
Did you find yourself more drawn to modern British culture (say, London city life) or the more historical culture (castles and folk tales)?
I found myself lured more to the castle and folklore side of Scotland/the UK as a whole. It feels like you are stepping back in time. One of the biggest differences between America and the UK is the rich history of civilization that the UK has remnants of. Here in America it’s hard to find really, really old relics or buildings but the UK is full of them. Also, when I visited London, it was really cool to see how the historical side of the city played off of the modern side of the city. There was no one or the other, they were one and the same.
Did you make any friends abroad? Have you kept in touch with them since returning to the states? Plan to meet up again in the future?
I made a bunch of friends while I was abroad! My best friend was Ayla Moreash and I keep in touch with her on and off over Facebook. I plan to visit her this summer since she is living in Canada. I met other people too, from Germany, The Netherlands, France, and Australia.
What was your favorite thing to do when you weren’t studying while you were abroad?
Traveling and partying. SU doesn’t have much of a night life, so it was fun to experience that while I was abroad. And traveling is the biggest part of studying abroad. You travel to so many places and once you get back home, all you want to do is leave again.
Last question: if you had a choice between going back to the UK or to a totally new place next year, what would you do?
That’s a hard question. If I had the chance to go back to Scotland, I would in a heartbeat. But I also want to experience other places in the world like India and Thailand and Australia. Maybe I would travel to other places first and then work my way back through everywhere I have visited.