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Semester in Stirling

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    9

The Best Experience

My time in Scotland was nothing short of fantastic. Stirling University's campus was stunning, the people were welcoming, and the classes were interesting.

The Academics were lecture based with a tutorial once a week. Personally, I wasn't used to the system, but it wasn't hard to get into the swing of things.

My one piece of advice for those planning on studying in Scotland is definitely to get yourself into the Highlands. It was one of the most amazing places I had ever had the fortune to visit.

Once I was abroad, CISabroad was a bit hands-off, but during my pre-departure they were with me every step of the way and guided me into making sure I had everything prepared for my experience. Everyone I spoke with at CIS was friendly and kind and extremely willing to help make sure my study abroad dreams came true. I can't thank them enough for their help!

If you are thinking of studying abroad in Scotland, I can't endorse it enough and you will have an absolutely amazing time in a breathtaking country.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    4

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Incredible

This semester was the most incredible experience of my life. Stirling is a really beautiful and incredible place. The people are so friendly in Scotland and the food was actually great! I lived in Union Street Development and enjoyed being close to the city center. Life there is very simple, especially the flats. We always had things breaking but the University staff was typically quick to fix things.

I made incredible life long friends and that has greatly contributed to making this experience so incredible. I got the chance to travel to Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and France. I still was able to focus on school while traveling and spending time with friends. Stirling University is absolutely beautiful and has a great campus life.

I was not too keen on the educational system of the UK. I did not have really any course work during the semester and the final exams pretty much determined my grade. It is different from the US but I adjusted to the system quickly. The culture is very different in Scotland from where I live in the US but I really loved it. I wish I would have stayed for a full year because one semester was not enough. This was a life changing and amazing semester and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Academics:
I enjoyed my classes but the educational system is very different than in the states. The grading is different and the professors are not quick to provide feedback from assignments and exams. Overall, I loved Stirling University as a whole!

Living Situation:
I eventually loved where I lived (Union Street Development) but I wish I would have known more about the accommodation before arrival. It is much simpler than I thought it would be. We did have a lot of problems with appliances breaking, a roof leak, etc. that was frustrating.

Cultural Immersion:
We lived with all international students so it was hard to meet other people from Scotland and the UK. I just had to get involved on campus and that is where I met most local people. If I did not seek out ways to get involved then I would not have met many locals. I loved the culture in Scotland! The food, people, and everything was amazing!

Program Administration:
I wish I would have been more prepared before arrival. It seemed that things were not as organized as they should be for the amount of money the program costs. I was told housing would be set up for me but I actually had to figure that out and apply myself. I also was told Stirling Direct would be booked for me but when I arrived they did not have me on their list. Everything worked out but it was stressful when I was told things were taken care of when they were actually not. I have to figure out most things on my own and when going to a completely foreign place, it was overwhelming. The reimbursements for gym membership, bus pass, etc., took a while to get as well. The CIS staff was very friendly and nice though and everything worked out in the end.

Health and Safety:
I never felt unsafe in Stirling. I wouldn't walk around alone at night but it is a safe place. Way safer than anywhere you could probably go in America!

Social Life:
Great social life in Stirling at the uni and in town!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    10

Studying Abroad is an Incredibly Valuable Life Experience: What I Gained from my Time in Scotland

I've dreamed of visiting Scotland ever since I was a little girl and finally with CIS my dream came true! It was truly a once in a lifetime experience that I will cherish for ever. I made so many wonderful friends, some who I can even call my best friends. I had so many unbelievable experiences. I learned so many valuable life lessons. I had so many highs and so many lows, but I wouldn't change one second of my time abroad. Studying abroad is something everyone should do because it not only gives you lasting memories but it will make you a stronger, more independent, more well-rounded person and that is worth the world.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Learn not by what you hear, but what you do

In coming to Stirling, Scotland, I had heard mixed reviews, especially for a person of color. I choose not to speak for all of Scotland, but from the few places I've visited which include Kirkcaldy, Inverness, Edinburgh and the surrounding areas of Stirling. From the places I've been Scotland is a gold mine under-represented as a tourist spot. It's full of ancient history, unexpected traditions, kind and humorous people and a breathtaking landscape you want to capture in your mind forever. It's not enough to just visit Scotland for Touristy reasons and refuse to look beyond that. One should come prepared to be absorbed into everything around them and leave home for when you return home. A lot of people will be tempted to get a car somewhere, but trust me, ride a bus, walk somewhere, take a train. It will be worth while and you will be an expert at places to visit in no time. Accept the people and have patience, sometimes they come off a bit gruff, but it's more like a favorite uncle gruff and no nonsense. So try to be decisive and be prepared for unexpected kindness in the little things. A lot of people will say it, but it's true. Immerse yourself and embrace the culture, lose yourself in the experience and you will not regret it. I don't and I'm sad to leave, but I know I will be back again some day to see what else Scotland has to surprise me.

Academics:
On the plus side, the staff were very enthusiastic about their subjects and very deeply knowledgeable. They all seemed to have a comraderie amongst each other and their teaching assistants.
On the negative, they were really hard on students. I understand facing reality, but comments such as if you fail to want to understand this you're in the wrong major. Also they had a tendency to literally toss students in the deep end. There was plenty of information available, but you are given a question to choose from, then told to write a 1500 word essay on it without any prior knowledge whatsoever. Only when all essays are done are you actually taught about the subject and in that class you either note how well you understood it or it's pointed out every single thing you missed in your essay, because you didn't know or understand it.

Living Situation:
Despite my constant run in with jumbo spiders, there were 8 in my room alone! Living off campus was the most ideal situation for an explorer like myself. It allowed me to really get the lay of my surroundings and feel perfectly at home and self sufficient. Even better I got Stirlings best flat mates it seemed. We all never argued, we toasted each other upon leaving, we were never inconsiderate of anyone else and we took our own responsibilities to be good flat mates seriously. The only downside I can recall is the water heater and the heating. This can be resolved by doing everything hot water related after 5am and before 6pm for all 7 members or you will endure stone glacier cold everything and ask your porter about heating. There is a trick to free heating at least in John Forty's Court. I will give a hint, it's next to the convector button.

Cultural Immersion:
My porter gave the comment of You'll fit in very well here and I did! Everyone kept thinking I was a local or at least that I was a permanent fixture in Scotland and not that I had to leave when the semester ended. Only advice, find friends and get out a lot. If not for my flat mates, I would have done fine, but it wouldn't have been as enjoyable. They spoke of Nando's, a staple to be tried in Stirling, love the fries and never to take the 54A to school if you want to get there on time. I had a blast and didn't miss home that much except when dealing with certain businesses. Then I felt like banging my head against the wall. However, the rest of the experience was dandy and I felt like a native by the end of my time in Stirling.

Program Administration:
The folks in CISAbroad were extremely helpful, attentive, kind and friendly as if you were a long lost friend who had just decided to visit. Our on site director gave me and two other girls a trip around Edinburgh that's much needed. Go to Scotland, you need to visit Edinburgh, it gives such a nice ancient city feeling. I tend to over-organize everything, so CIS's attentiveness to make me worry less was very helpful. There was only one hiccup, and that was my Program coordinator got reassigned about halfway through my signing up for the program in the summer and I didn't hear about it until maybe two weeks later. In that time I didn't have the right email to contact the right person or the number. I pretty much only had silence which was extremely frustrating as it had been an urgent matter. However it was all resolved in the end, but the student should be apprised if they get a new coordinator.

Health and Safety:
Everywhere I turned in Scotland, people seemed to comment on How safe they felt living here. Perhaps it was Stirling, because it was such a friendly town and of course remembering your crowd P's and Q's and I couldn't have felt safer in any place, ever. Not to say I haven't heard of a few bad eggs that others experienced, but I was thankfully ensconced away from it, probably due to living off campus. I felt safe whether it was in the woods far away from campus on my own or riding the bus or walking to the supermarket at 10pm at night. There always seems to be others out and about at all hours, and the buses run late, so I had my fair share of adventure. Also, The cab drivers and bus drivers seem competent and get you from A-B with no muss or fuss.

Social Life:
Thanks to my extremely friendly and inclusive flat mates, I got an up close and personal introduction to Social Life. Pretty much everyone I've met has been really friendly, very polite and very sophisticated about drinking and hanging out in general. I never felt excluded or mistreated, but like I was on my way to becoming another of their great friends. As an entire flat we've had nights out going to a pub, to eat or to a movie. I was invited to a celebration of Guy Fawkes night and enjoyed myself immensely. The social life goes late and is super friendly to everyone who is simpatico with everything. People are very protective of you, but also willing to let you stand on your own. I am not much of a drinker, but even then listening to live music, hanging out and talking with friends of my flat mates in our kitchen and just in general feeling immersed in the culture was the best thing to happen ever. Hence, make friends, it will open you up to new things and people from all backgrounds!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    3

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Would do it again.

University of Stirling was an awesome cultural experience. The people in Scotland were so friendly. Many of them would literally give you their shirt without question if you needed it. If you partake in this program try and make sure you live at the Union Street flats downtown. They are closer to everything. Although you are a few miles away from the University, you are closer to the town which will give you a better cultural experience. Overall though an awesome experience that I highly recommend because of the culture of the Scots.

Academics:
Academics at the University of Stirling are very poor. The professors were not the greatest and most classes were not mandatory meaning that some students never went to a single class but appeared on days with exams and at their practicals. The classes were also graded extremely hard for the amount of work put into them. While the academics were not the greatest at Stirling there were options available to help students if they needed it. This was a great part of the academics at the University of Stirling.

Living Situation:
The living situation was amazing. The random room mates were absolutely perfect. Make sure to secure residence for future exchange students at the Union Street Flats though. Although it is away from the University, it is closer to the town. The University is secluded and miles away from town. A student can get a better cultural experience if they live at Union Street.

Cultural Immersion:
Like stated above Union Street is really the ideal place to live for cultural immersion. One thing students looking at this program in the future should grasp how important pub culture is in not only Stirling, but all of Scotland.

Program Administration:
Absolutely no complaints. They were all very helpful!

Social Life:
Pub life is huge in Scotland and Stirling is no exception. The pubs in Stirling were great. Also you get to meet quite a lot of people in your flat and living areas.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    5

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    8

Mixed, but mostly positive.

Overall this was a great experience. I really enjoyed the location as well as the campus, which is so picturesque. It was also nice to be immersed in the scottish culture and really get a better feel for the the country than if I had just visited for a few days. I wasn't a fan of the academics. Classes were really impersonal and had a huge focus on final exams and thus on memorization rather than really learning material, but that system may work well for some. CIS was extremely helpful in getting me settled and comfortable in my new home and I'm glad I studied abroad through them. It was a great experience that I'm very glad to have done.

Overall Rating

6/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    4

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Hands off

I have had a fantastic time studying abroad, but my program provider had very little to do with that. Since arriving, I have had little communication with CIS, which suited me just fine. Before I left, though, CIS staff helped me every step of the way and was better at assisting me than the study abroad office at my home university. The staff were friendly and answered my questions in a timely manner.