That’s it, everyone! the semester is over and I am heading home soon. All my assignments are turned in and my flat is slowly emptying. The last four months went by in the blink of an eye and I’m at a bittersweet crossroad.
While I am very glad to go home and get back to the sunshine of home and my comfortable bed after months of bedsprings poking me and bouncing so loud that they woke me up, I am sad to leave the place I come to call home. I have come to love Scotland on a deeper level than the last time I was here. I got to see so much more of this beautiful country and I learned so much about myself along the way.
When I first came to Stirling I was very excited about what the semester was going to hold for me and the opportunities that awaited me. at the end of my time here I am confident in the next step I am taking when I get back to my home campus. I am no longer considering beginning grad school immediately after my graduation in May. I am going to take a gap year to work in my fields of study and figure out which I want to study in grad school.
My life was also upturned this past year, I was engaged at the beginning of the year and as I write this, I am not. therefore, my plans to go straight into a master’s program in the UK has changed. I feel lost and sad, all the while feeling happy and free. This past semester has felt so surreal. I made amazing friends and learned absolutely nothing.
What I thought was going to be a semester where I learned new ways of looking at public relations, I just used what I had learned to scrape by in my classes. I thought the program I came through was going to be super supportive and involved, where in reality they had such little contact that we often had no clue what was going on. A feeling made worse when I saw the other students in other countries having very involved and customized experiences on social media. I felt like I paid all this money for nothing, had I paid less I wouldn’t have been so upset, but paying three times the tuition for one semester at my home campus to have included field trips thrown together was insulting, to say the least.
All in all, my semester abroad taught me so much that I cannot verbalize, show on a transcript, or describe. I definitely have come back home changed, confident in the choices I have made for my future and wishing I had done certain things differently. But as they say “hindsight is 2020” and 2020 is where I’m headed to. The next year I hope to make one that I take all the bad and lessons learned and grow from them.
Would I study abroad again? Yes!
With my program provider? No. I think I would come in as a direct exchange or enroll in the uni by myself to give myself more options and take more control of my experiences.
I hope one day to come back to Scotland, it has so much more that I want to see and even thinking of it now, it beckons me. California is my home and I will always love it, but Scotland became my home and it will always have that sweet spot in my heart. And this is why I cannot encourage students to study abroad enough.