Caroline & Sydney – Scotland

March 15, 2024

Hello everyone, it’s Caroline! I hope y’all are having an amazing semester so far!! So far in my study abroad experience, everything has been amazing!! We got to go to Dublin and to the Isle of Skye!! Both trip were absolutely beautiful and the views here are like no other, I couldn’t even tear my eyes away from the scenery. This program that I’m in is centered around Biology and the Biomedical area of science. I chose this program because of the focus that the University of Strathclyde has on Biology and the different variety of classes that were offered here. We had our first in class test last week and the format was a lot different than what we had expected. The questions were formatted like two statements and you had to decide whether or not both statements were true or one was false. It was very different for sure but fingers crossed we got a good grade.

When applying to the program, I found it very easy and the study abroad office was extremely helpful! The only “stressful” part of applying was finding our housing and making sure we had the classes we wanted. Before we got here, we got an email from the University of Strathclyde, directing us to housing, which was extremely helpful and after we got our classes approved at ECU and the classes were approved at Strathclyde it was smooth sailing. The classes that we are taking over here are biochemistry, immunology and microbiology. Those classes will transfer over as biology electives that will help us achieve the right abound of elective credits to graduate. As a pre-dental student, I was extremely thankful that they offered these classes as they are recommended for dental school (which is another reason why this program fit me personally).

One thing I love about this program is the, once again, major focus on biology. They have an extreme dedication to teaching and making sure all students extremely knowledgeable in science. One thing that I don’t necessarily dislike, but just took some getting used to are the tests and the way the classes are set up. Majority of our classes, except one, only has one test at the end of the semester. There is no classwork, quizzes, or any other tests to take. I was nervous for this because at ECU, we normally have three to four tests a semester, lots of quizzes and classwork that help me learn. But once I got used to the differences, I had to really focus on studying the material the day we learn it to better prepare me for the test at the end of the semester.

One thing that is extremely exciting is this coming week, March 17, is our last week of classes. So after this week will enter a two week spring break and then the testing period. The testing period lasts about four weeks and it’s mainly for students to study and prepare for the final exams. To celebrate our final week of classes this week we’re going to London and then the first week of spring break we’re going to Paris. Then during the second week of spring break, my parents are going to come and see me. After all our fun trips, we get back to Glasgow and we have to focus on studying and preparing for a final exams. Our last exam is on May 8 and we come back home on May 11th. I still get a little home sick, but I keep telling myself I’m only here once and to enjoy it while I can!! Thank you guys so much for reading and I cant wait to tell you how all our upcoming trips go!

⁃ Caroline

Hi, its Sydney! The way I would describe the flat I live in here is a fancy version of ECU’s dorms. In a flat, there are 5 separate rooms that all share one common area and kitchen. Each room has its own bathroom, unlike most dorms. The building I live in is mostly exchange students, so it is nice to be surrounded by people who are in the same boat as you. My flat is on a quieter street, surrounded by other student accommodation buildings. The flat is only about a 10-minute walk to downtown and campus which is super convenient. Even though public transportation is easily accessible here, I don’t have to use it much because everything is walking distance from my flat. A typical day in my life includes waking up, getting ready, and meeting up with my friends for coffee. Our favorite place to get coffee is called Cafe Nero, and it is a perfect place to read, chat, or do schoolwork. I typically get a honey oat latte that is topped with whipped cream and honeycomb. There is also plenty of shopping near my accommodation which also makes for a fun day with friends.

The thing that has surprised me the most about this experience is how close I would get with the friends that I have met here. I see my friends every day and find myself missing them if we haven’t seen each other in a few hours. I am so thankful for the friendships that I have made here because they fully change the experience of everyday life. My goals for the beginning of semester were to make friends and travel and I feel that I have done a good job of reaching these goals.

At the University of Strathclyde, there is a place called the student union that does events to bring students together and to encourage student involvement. This is a great way of making friends and reaching out to other students in the school. Another great way to make new friends and travel here is by the international student bus tours. This program is organized to show international students beautiful parts of Scotland and England that would be hard to reach otherwise, as we are without a car. I love these trips because they pack so much into one or two days, while still giving you time to appreciate the beauty and features of these locations. We have taken two of these bus tours so far, the first one was an overnight stay on the Isle of Skye and the second was a day trip to Glenfinnan Viaduct, also known as the Harry Potter bridge. These tours are very well structured and make stops along the way to beautiful locations. Some examples of places we stopped at were Loch Lomond, the Three Sisters of Glencoe, and Fort William. Breaking up the drives with these stops also makes the 5-hour drives to places like Isle of Skye more enjoyable. On this trip, everyone on the bus bonds and it is very easy to make friends that way.

– Sydney

January 26, 2024

Hello everyone, it’s Caroline, this is the first official post in Glasgow, Scotland!! When we got here on the 6th of January, we kind of had a rocky start. After we got off the plane, we found out that both of our luggage’s were missing… along with really everyone’s on the plane. So, we had to live off my carryon bag that thankfully had some pajamas and a blanket in it lol, but we had to go to the store anyway and get some sheets and pillows for our time here. We went to Costco first to see if we could get a membership BUT apparently you must be working for a company to get a card…. So that was different lol. Anyway, we then went to Tesco (that is kind of like a target back at home) and got everything we needed.

The next few days we met some amazing people that we now hang out with all the time, went to some school introduction meetings, and explored Scotland. We already got to go to Inverness and Edinburgh. Both places were absolutely gorgeous, and everyone is extremely nice and welcoming. Some of my favorite things so far from being in Scotland would be the accents, food, people, and the buildings. Everything. and I mean everything…. is so pretty!!! The architecture of all the buildings is so detailed and I’ve already taken over 1000 pictures lol. The university that we go to (The University of Strathclyde) Is in a great location where we can walk to it from our flat. The classes are laid out very differently than back at home. Like, this week we only have one class on Monday and next week we only have class on Thursday, and they alternate weeks. AND one of our classes doesn’t even start until February. But I’m not complaining because this lets me explore the city center (downtown) more.

As far as culture shock, for me it wasn’t too hard of a hit. The first night, maybe first two nights were a little different and I was missing home a lot!! With the missing suitcases (that we ended up getting the next day we were there lol) and the shopping for necessities the first night in a completely new location, I did ask myself if this was a mistake…. BUT since then, that thought hasn’t even crossed my mind!! Everything fell right into place as I told myself it would. I am having the absolute best time, and I am so happy that I decided to study abroad in Scotland!

Hi, it’s Syd and I’m here to update you on my first few weeks studying abroad in Glasgow! My favorite thing about Glasgow so far is how it is a walkable community. In the 5 months I am staying here, I will not have access to a car of my own. This worried me in the beginning as I am used to my life in North Carolina where driving was necessary to get to grocery stores, malls, and restaurants. Living so close to the City Centre of Glasgow has opened so many opportunities for places to walk to and explore. Before arriving, I assumed that Ubers and taxis would be something I needed to budget for daily. Thankfully, the accommodation here is a 10–20-minute walk to almost all that Glasgow has to offer. The University of Strathclyde’s campus has surprised me in many ways. The academic buildings are very close to Merchant City, an area of downtown Glasgow that has many restaurants and coffee shops to offer for the students during their breaks. One thing I did not expect about the campus was the steep inclines that the campus is placed on. The hills around Strathclyde’s campus are no joke, but thankfully most classes are not far from each other, making the impact of the hills less severe. Another feature of the campus that I did not expect was the beautiful architecture of the school buildings. I assumed that the campus would have relatively new and modern buildings but was pleased to find out that some of the buildings were older and had been redone inside to fit the demands of a building that serves to educate, while still preserving the old architecture. For example, the Royal College Building, built in 1903, is where many of my classes are located. This building is very functional for teaching, and even has a coffee shop for the students, but still preserves its beautiful history and architecture. The classes here are formatted very differently than back at ECU. So far, we only have class every other Monday and Thursday because our microbiology class does not start until mid-February. Because we only have class every other week, the meeting time for class is at 9am and does not finish until 4pm, including a one-hour lunch break. While this schedule does sound intense, I enjoy having all my in-class lecture time at once so I can use the rest of my free time to study how I would like and plan my traveling around my free days. I was pleasantly surprised by the locals in Glasgow. Everyone I have met has been so helpful and kind. I found this same hospitality from the staff on campus. Any time I have been confused or looked lost on campus I had multiple people offering their help to guide me to the right place. A difference from my expectations of Glasgow is the accents that I have encountered here. I was under the impression that there would be mainly Scottish accents from the people I meet here. I quickly learned that only about half of the people I have spoken with have a Scottish accent, and the other half is from all around the world. When I first arrived, it was difficult to register what anyone was saying because of their accents, but now that I have been here for a few weeks, I can translate it quickly. The first night I arrived in Glasgow I experienced culture shock right away. This was because of the adventure we went on to get necessities due to our lost luggage. There are so many little things that I am accustomed to and have no idea aren’t the same in other places. For example, we went to subway for dinner our first night and I asked for a turkey and provolone sandwich, and the man making my sandwich had no idea what provolone is. While this culture shock on the first night was unsettling at first, I have been blessed to not feel it since then. The first night was an overwhelming mix of emotions from leaving my family, having my luggage lost, and being exhausted. As soon as my luggage was returned and I had a good night’s sleep, I was in a much better mental state and have been loving every second of studying abroad since.  One thing I wish I knew more about before arriving was how people dressed here. I had heard many times in the past that it is rare that people wear athleisure in Europe so it would be important to mainly pack jeans. While this is true, there are also plenty of people dressed casually in leggings and sweatshirts, especially in class. I wish I had known this before because I did not pack as much athleisure and comfortable outfits as I would’ve liked.

Syd and Caroline in Scotland
Syd and Caroline in Inverness
Syd and Caroline in the airport
Check out our vlog about our most recent trip to Inverness

– Caroline Bridges & Sydney Evans

January 7, 2024

Hello everyone, Welcome to Sydney and my blog as we prepare to travel to University in Strathclyde in Scotland. We are both majoring in Biology, so the classes we hope to take revolve around Microbiology, Immunology, and Biochemistry… a little bit of a heavy load but it’s ok. First, we can start with our separate introductions and then we can play it by ear as the semester goes on how we will post. Thank you all for following this journey with us and we can’t wait to bring you all along for the adventure. We both have been dreaming of studying abroad since freshman year and we can’t wait to travel and experience new cultures together.

My name is Caroline Bridges, I am on the pre-Dental track here at ECU and plan to apply for Dental School in August 2024. I have never been out of the country, so when I found out that Studying Abroad was a realistic thing that I could do, I knew that I had to do it. During the last few weeks of the Semester before leaving, the global affairs team held multiple meetings. In these meetings I got to meet many new pirates that are traveling all over the world. These meetings really helped me understand culture shock, and other aspects to think about before traveling to a different country. We will leave from RDU airport, land in London at the Heathrow airport, and then leave from there to Glasgow International Airport which is only 15 minutes away from our “flat” (apartment/dorm).  Leading up to our Departure from RDU Airport I have been working a lot at my dentist office for some extra money (I see it as more money more trips lol), spending time with family and friends, and overpacking (I’m trying to get better at that). As it gets closer to leaving it’s a little bittersweet, I know that this experience is a once in a lifetime, however I can’t help but feeling a little FOMO (fear of missing out) on the things that will happen here. However, when I feel a little sad, I think of all the amazing buildings, architecture, people, and memories that will be made. With that being said, the things I’m most excited about is traveling all around Europe, experiencing different foods, meeting new people with different backgrounds, and school… but seriously I am excited about seeing how they teach over in Scotland and how the classrooms are set up. With all this excitement I do get nervous about the little things. Sometimes I’m a horrible over-thinker and others I’m completely fine, but some things that really have me stressing a little bit are the airports. Like I said earlier, I’ve never been overseas before and have only heard stories about the London Heathrow airport. So, I’m a little nervous about navigating that but I know that it will all work out and we will get to where we need to be. Some other things that I’m a little worried about is getting from the airport to our “flat” (apartment/dorm), meeting the weight requirement for my baggage (like I said I overpack way too much), and the goodbye to my family. I’m very much a family gal, so saying goodbye to them for 5 months is going to be tough lol. However, through all this nervousness and worrying I absolutely can’t wait to start this new chapter and take you along with me!

My name is Sydney Evans and I’m a junior studying biology at East Carolina University. I am studying abroad in Glasgow Scotland for the spring semester of 2024. I hope to become more knowledgeable about cultures in Europe and gain lifelong memories and friends. When I was younger, I lived in Naples Italy and travelled to the UK multiple times. This previous experience allowed me to feel more prepared and comfortable for this upcoming trip. I am most excited about traveling as much as possible during breaks from school and weekends. I am most nervous about navigating public transport in Glasgow. It is very common to travel by trains or buses in Europe and I am not very experienced in either. To overcome this challenge, I did research on public transit in the UK, and asked people who had studied abroad previously in the UK how they navigated public transport.


– Caroline Bridges & Sydney Evans