Why did you decide to go abroad with your provider?
Krysta: When I started thinking about study abroad, I knew two things about myself: my family was proudly Scottish and I was not skilled with any second language.
My alma mater, Pacific Lutheran University, has amazing study abroad programs and a large portion of those who graduate have had the ability to spend some amount of time abroad. As I delved further into my family history, I knew I wanted to study in Glasgow.
I met with a study abroad counselor and found out that even though PLU could not send me directly to Glasgow, I could spend a semester there through Arcadia University. I could not have chosen a better provider; I was guided through the application process, given updates and checked in on, and even provided extra scholarships to help cover costs. My experience while abroad matched this, and I was so happy with Arcadia.
Did you forget to pack something important? Did you feel as if you were missing something?
Krysta: I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, so I am more than used to braving rainy, cloudy days. With all my research on Scotland's weather while I packed, I knew that the climate was similar to the Pacific Northwest in many ways. When we moved into our student housing and I began to unpack all of the clothes I brought, I came to an embarrassing and inconvenient conclusion: I had forgotten to pack my rain coat. I knew it was hanging up back at home on the coat rack by the front door, and in the excitement to leave I completely forgot to throw it into my suitcase.
What was the best place you visited outside of your home-base city?
Krysta: After exams, I had about a month to do whatever I wanted. I mostly stuck around my study abroad city and hung out with friends, but I spent one weekend in Berlin. I booked a cheap flight and spot at a hostel and met up with two friends once I arrived. One friend was also studying abroad from the Pacific Northwest, and the other had been a German exchange student at our home when I was a sixth grade (I hadn't seen him in almost 10 years.)
I'm so glad I took advantage of affordable airfare and free time, even though it was nerve-wracking to travel by myself (especially to a country where I didn't speak the native language.) Berlin is a beautiful city, and I wish I had been even more courageous and traveled alone to more European cities while I was studying abroad.
Describe your program socially and academically.
Krysta: It was hard to go from a small private school to lecture halls with hundreds of students and a campus with tens of thousands. Making friends in this situation was difficult and it was also hard to be held accountable academically. However, Arcadia had the students in their Glasgow Uni program together for a week long orientation in Edinburgh before we went to Glasgow. With a group of 20, we spent our first week abroad completely disoriented with one another as allies.
We all sat together on the first day of our all-student orientation at university, where we made friends with people around us and solidified our friendships with one another. The people I met in those first weeks are still some of my best friends. Academically, it was all about self-motivation and taking part in your tutorial classes. Without a personal drive, it would have been easy to fail.
Do you think your program changed you as a person?
Krysta: I left my study abroad program as a much more confident person. It is so easy to stay at home and never explore the rest of the world, but this experience gave me far more than I ever expected. I am more open-minded and less afraid to try new things and conquer big problems. Every day I long to return to my study abroad city so I can keep exploring and learning more about the world and myself. The people, places and experiences I had while abroad shaped who I am right now, and I wouldn't change my study abroad experience for the world.