I completely feel in love with Stirling and Scotland during the three months I was there! I spent the entire fall semester at the University of Stirling in Stirling Scotland. The campus itself is stunning. There is a castle and a loch in the middle of campus and hills behind it and so much open green space, it feels like it's in the middle of nowhere. Except its really not. The historic city of Stirling is just a fifteen minute bus ride away and Edinburgh and Glasgow are about an hour away by train! Plus, it is considered "the gateway to the highlands" so getting to highlands is also super easy.
Stirling has so much history, between the castle and the Wallace Monument there's so much to learn and you get to walk through all the places it happened, which is incredible! Through API we received Historic Scotland Cards that allowed us to get into so many historic sites all over Scotland for free (so go ahead visit the castle like six times!).
Academically, it was very different than what I was used to. First, they only take three modules (classes) a semester and classes are taught in two sections. Every week there is large lectures and then smaller seminar classes for each class. I took one class that I needed for my major and two free electives. For my two electives, I took a Scottish History Class and a British literature class. I highly recommend taking classes from a Scottish perspective they were so interesting and I feel like learned so much more about Scotland! The professors were so helpful and well informed. The academic buildings are very confusing and take a bit to figure out, but don't worry because you will not be the only who gets turned around!
The University of Stirling gives international students the option to live off campus but API had us select a specific on campus housing option. I lived with six other girls, from all over the world, in a cute little flat on the edge of campus. We each had our own room, and the common area had a full kitchen and living room. I loved living in that flat and with those girls who quickly became my friends!
One of the best parts about this API program was the excursions. We had a wonderful R.D. who showed us around Stirling, helping us figure where to buy groceries and how to use the bus. She also took us on trips to Glasgow and Edinburgh, but my favorite was the trip to Oban and Mull. It was a three day trip through the highlands to the western Coast and out to these incredibly beautiful islands. It was wet and windy the whole time, but what else do you expect from Scotland!
Studying abroad was always something I wanted to do and I do not think I could have found a better place and program for my semester abroad. Like I said before, I feel in love with the country and I am already planing to go back. API was extremely helpful throughout the whole process, and provided us with so many opportunities and resources throughout the semester. I made some incredible memories, met wonderful people and truly had the time of my life!