University of Minnesota Morris

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Waiting for that W-Curve

30th of September, 2013

It has been a full three weeks since I have moved to Glasgow, and unsurprisingly, I'm still having loads of fun experiencing the differences between Scotland and the United States. 

As a third year study abroad student, I have found it rather difficult to make friends with local students. I have made quite a few other study abroad friends because we are all going through similar transitions. A word of advice on my part, however, is to make friends with anyone/everyone that comes around. Even though most of the people I have met happen to be American, there are still many cultural aspects I am learning through and with them. Since it has only been three weeks, and I have high hopes of meeting local and more international students throughout my year here. 

I am (gladly) still waiting for the ominous W-Curve slope to set in, but I don't think it'll happen until the holidays! Getting involved is the best way to transition oneself into any university, and thankfully I have gotten involved with the University's feminist society, but if I didn't have something to go to to meet new people, I think I would be sitting in my dorm, not quite sure what to do with myself. 

The University of Glasgow hosts what is known as fresher's week every year, where new international students and first year students can get to know the life on campus and in Glasgow, as well as have many opportunities to meet people. To keep it short, my favorite events have been a headphone disco-where everyone is given a pair of headphones and can switch between two DJ's all night. Most of all, I have enjoyed going to a couple of Ceilidhs (kay-lay's), in which we were taught how to dance traditional Scottish dances, usually with a partner and in groups. They have been some of the best nights I have had in Scotland. 
The nightlife is incredibly different than my time at Morris, and it is definitely (semi)encouraged.

Since I am majoring in Psychology, and still want to be able to graduate in four years, I decided to take, full-on, psychology courses at both levels 3 and 4. I have met very few other study abroad students doing similar. To compare to UMM, my course schedule is very different. I am only taking three classes for the first five weeks of my semester, all 2 hour lectures, and then I take another three classes for the last half of the semester. On top of that, most of my grades are based on my end of term exams; meaning that most of my learning is independent.
I think an important note for anyone studying abroad, and college in general, is learning how to balance out social time with academic time. One of the reasons I chose the University of Glasgow is because I wanted to see how Psychology differs in the U.S. and the U.K.; which I will delve into later on. On top of that, though, was to make connections with people I would never have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. So far, I am enjoying both aspects! 

-Rachael Blais


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