Feb. 4, 2015
I knew before I even got to college I wanted to study abroad. Traveling has always been one of my biggest dreams, and I knew college was the perfect place to accomplish that goal.
I remember stepping into my first study abroad fair. There were so many booths, so many options, so many people calling over prospective travelers to choose their program.
The second booth I stopped at was for the Wisconsin in Scotland program through UW-River Falls. A college-aged guy excitedly handed me a pamphlet and starting to spill all the wonderful things about this program, showing a slideshow of gorgeous pictures on his laptop.
This program stood out far more than the rest. It was like love at first sight. You get to live in a palace? You get a bus pass, a cell phone and breakfast, lunch and dinner on weekdays? AND it’s not much more than an average semester tuition at UW-River Falls??? I was sold on the idea.
It took me three years before I finally made the plans official. I got a passport, bought my ticket and took two summer courses just to make sure I’d graduate on time.
Getting there was unreal. Despite my tedious six-hour flight, I eagerly took pictures and gazed around at beautiful Edinburgh on the bus ride to Dalkeith. That was just the beginning of my life-changing journey.
Over my time there, so many wonderful things happened. I lived in a palace. The other students became my family. I traveled to other countries on my break. I fell in love with what quickly became “home.” I spoke to locals, I learned to better understand the Scottish accent, I ate the local food and I even got engaged on top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh to my partner who had joined me on this journey.
Coming home was one of the hardest things I did over the whole course of this adventure. I had to leave the place I fell in love with and the people I had grown so close to. Coming home, everything was different, but somehow still the same. Despite this struggle to adapt back to “normal” life though, it was all worth it to see and do everything I did while in Scotland.
I chose to study abroad because of all the people I had talked to, those who had done it highly recommended it, and those who didn’t said they wish they had. I didn’t let low funds or a tight college schedule get in the way of my lifelong dream. I hope everyone makes the time to study abroad, because I wouldn’t be the person I am today without my experience.