Although I am just getting around to putting a close to this blog, I believe I am doing it at time which may be most appropriate. I’ve now had just over a month to fully digest and reflect on the semester which was my semester abroad. I’ve told the story of how the semester went over and over again and am now arriving at how I truly believe this past fall in Glasgow contributed to the success I had in achieving the goals I had set out to accomplish.
When I had planned the academic aspect of my semester abroad in Glasgow, I believed I would be certainly challenged but would have a comparable amount of workload as I did at Bryant. However, I believe I was met with more work than I had imagined and it certainly limited some of my enjoyment in exploring Europe or Scotland. Regardless, I left Scotland with having endured a challenge that I believe has made me into a better student and could not have been made possible with much of the two years before this semester Bryant has provided.
Having economics as a part of my degree as my second major I thought it would be certainly proper to fully emerge myself in what the University of Glasgow had to offer through the Adam Smith Business School. I enrolled in three higher level economics courses; Economics of Industry, International Trade, and Contemporary Issues of Inequalities. From the outside looking in, it looked like it was just another semester. However, I had really arrived at a challenging semester which was ahead of me. Each of these three classes required 2 essays requiring a great deal of research and analytical thinking. This is where I arrived at the challenge as I had never really experienced what a fully analytical and complex economics essay required. More so, I had not an idea of what the professors truly wanted in the content of each essay before having not been graded through Glasgow University system through, unlike the other students in my course who were more accustom to it. So through a series of conversations with both professors and fellow students I began to draw out what was to be expected.
Once I had an understanding of what was required of me I was off running. Much of my time from the middle of October to the beginning of December I was extensively researching, outlining and writing 12,000 words of 6 essays. Each course paired their essays with the same hand in date as the other, with 3 due in mid-October and the later 3 two weeks later in December. As one of the professors put “All you must be doing is researching and writing essays for your semester abroad!” Well she was right, I was for the most part.
What I left Glasgow with was a feeling and confirmation of being a better student than before I left for earlier in the fall. I’ve learned how to successfully structure, research and write with the critical thinking that economics requires. My essays have come back with some favorable grades which I have a lot of reason to be proud of. It has made me respect the challenge I was faced with, the knowledge I have gained, and the foundation Bryant has and will continue providing me in the next year and a half going forward until graduation.
Additionally, while I was in Glasgow I had the pleasure of getting to know some great students from very different backgrounds than myself. This started with the students at the University who I got to meet in and out of my course and in Glasgow’s social scenes. I learned a lot about how they perceived the United States to be and along the way got a better understanding of who they were and their background before they found themselves at Glasgow. Outside of the university I had plenty of run in with the local Scottish people, both formal and in formal. I quickly learned that the Scots are certainly a lively and personable group in this world. Some of my favorite conversations actually happened with Taxi drivers who were eager to share what they thought about Scotland just as much as they wanted to know about who I was. In the end I was very thankful that I spent most of my time in the city and took less of a priority on expanding outside of the country.
I was not able to provide my blog with great pictures and stories from Europe’s major cities like some others who I envy, unfortunately. However, I do believe what I did provide was a few blips of how a student studying abroad for a semester can walk away with a truly unique experience, no matter how that experience was endured.