''Having international experience is something that a lot of companies appreciate, especially when you’ve just graduated and don’t have much professional experience to show yet.'' - Cecilia from Italy
Why did you choose to study abroad in Scotland?
At my British school in Italy we had an event where representatives of different universities in the UK came to speak to us about our school and why we should go there. The representative from the University of Edinburgh quite impressed me which led me to do more research.
I came to learn that the degrees in Scotland are four years instead of three years and you get a Master’s Degree at the end. I also looked at the rankings quite a bit – and I studied sociology and political science and the University of Edinburgh was ranked highly for sociology.
I went to Edinburgh on a visit afterwards and I really liked the campus and the feel of the city. There were a lot of students and a nice atmosphere.
What were the best parts of being an international student in Scotland?
I think Edinburgh is a really good city because it has many universities which means there is always a lot of stuff going on. Lots of student offers on everything you can think of – from stationary to the pub to the movies. It’s also a nice mix of Scottish people and people from all over the EU as well as outside of the EU.
How has studying abroad impacted your career?
Having international experience is something that a lot of companies appreciate. Especially when you’ve just graduated and don’t have much professional experience to show yet. Interacting with people from other cultures and being good at communicating and interacting with loads of people. Someone who is quite open-minded in general and up for a challenge is interpreted as something really positive
Being from Italy which is traditionally a country where people typically don’t study abroad as much it gives you an edge when you return to find a job.
I think it also makes you as a person more open to searching for more opportunities in different places. Studying abroad in Scotland gave me a broader view of what I can do in terms of a career as well as the places I can work.
What was the student life like at your university?
It was a lot of fun. I think that the course that I did required a lot of independent study and we didn’t have so many hours of classes a week which made it really flexible but it also meant that you had a lot of responsibility to make sure you’re not spending time socially that you need to spend on course work.
In terms of social life, there are a lot of student unions and clubs. I went to events with the Scandinavian club – but there are loads of clubs depending on your interest. There were two or three different student unions which are places where only students can go so that was nice. It was also quite a compact campus so you felt like you were part of a bigger group even though it was in a city.
Do you have any advice for students who may study abroad in Scotland?
Learn to understand the Scottish accent. That was different for me even though I had lived abroad in the U.S. and went to a British school in Italy. Definitely understand the difference between Scotland and England before you go. Know that the Scots consider Manchester the South while English people would consider it the north. Be prepared to live with other people – it’s a big thing in the UK and in Scotland especially – it’s very popular to have lots of roommates so be ready for that. I think the Scots are quite open as people so I think it’s quite easy to make Scottish friends. Be prepared for ever-changing weather. Be ready to experience every season in one day and always bring an umbrella!