Questions and advice for those considering studying abroad
By Kendra Clark and Kathryn Ritchie
Photo Courtesy of Kendra Clark
After a long semester running the Gaudie Life and Style section by myself, our wonderful editor, Kendra, finally returned from the US after her time studying abroad at the University of Florida. As this is the final edition of the academic year, and with many readers potentially looking to study abroad, what better person to give their own account of studying than our very own editor, Kendra!
What made you decide to apply to study abroad and why did you choose the University of Florida?
After feeling like I had missed out on the ‘proper uni experience’ because of Covid-19, I knew that I wanted and needed to do something different and a little bit out of my comfort zone. I really struggled with online university because it made me feel drained and isolated, and I knew that I was not prepared to study online for another term and get the grades I needed. So I spoke to my personal tutor who suggested either taking a gap year or studying abroad, and I decided that studying abroad was worth at least applying for, and if I didn’t get in then it wasn’t meant to be.
My reasons for choosing the University of Florida were probably not the best, but I don’t regret it at all. My close friend and flatmate from first year had already submitted their application to study abroad and had been accepted to UF, and between that and the hot weather of Florida, I was sold. The thought of moving to another continent and not knowing anyone was slightly too far out of my comfort zone than I wanted to go, so going with a friend was definitely the best thing for me.
How did you find the application process?
The application process for study abroad was truly horrific. Between the new bits of paperwork every few weeks on top of third year university and how much I had spent on passports, travel, doctors forms, etc I was truly losing my mind. My friend and I agreed that the workload of the application process genuinely
felt like another course on top of our academic courses. Although the application process was awful, the program of studying abroad was so worth it in the end. Once I was in and all the paperwork was done, I had such an amazing time. There were so many times when I genuinely considered just not going because of the stress but I am so glad I stuck through it.
Furthermore, the study abroad coordinators in both Aberdeen University and the University of Florida
were very helpful in answering my many questions and were always welcoming about any worries we
What was your favourite part of study abroad?
My favourite part of studying abroad was the other international students I met and the memories that we made together. We had many beach days, went camping, saw fireflies, had endless nights out, sang karaoke, had pointless trips to target, got piercings, went paddle boating and so much more. We also
traveled to Tampa, Miami, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas. I was really worried about not making any friends and being a bit miserable, but we joined an international group that planned nights out and events for us to attend. It was really nice to meet people who were in the same boat as us but also to meet so many people from all over the world. Additionally, doing the study abroad program with one of my friends was really comforting as it gave us both the confidence to attend events together and whenever we felt a bit homesick, we always had each other.
What advice would you give to students who are
hoping to study abroad next year?
If any part of you is seriously considering doing study abroad, I would definitely encourage you to look into it! I was really going into a slump of not enjoying university with everything being online and feeling like I had missed out on so much, and study abroad really made me feel like I had at least managed to
make some cool memories!
However, I’d also warn anyone studying abroad of the application process because I did really find it difficult and know that a few others did as well. If you are already overwhelmed by university then I would think carefully about it because of the extra workload, but it really is worth it in the end.
Lastly, make sure you actually have the funds to do study abroad because it is incredibly expensive. With me rounding down, the expenses of travel including flights, taxis, hotels, trains, a new phone contract, getting signed doctors forms, renewing your passport, visas, health insurance, an increased deposit on a flat because you’re an international student and so much more, it was easily over £2000 before even getting there. Even little things such as the appropriate clothes and things for that country like adapters, jackets, shorts, a suitcase, all add up. The University of Aberdeen did provide us with funding from the Turing Scheme where we were granted £1000 so that did majorly help, but it was a very expensive thing to do. It’s also important to keep in mind that whilst you are studying abroad the living costs will be different and you will probably want to do as much as you can and not have to limit yourself. You definitely could do it cheaper than I had done and I’m sure had just as much fun, but the expenses are definitely something to keep in mind.