Amy is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Stirling in Stirling, Scotland.
Where did you go to school?
BA Theatre Arts from Plymouth State University
When and where did you study abroad?
I am currently studying at the University of Stirling in Stirling, Scotland for Master of Letters in English Studies.
What was the BEST part about studying abroad?
I feel very fortunate that I am able to study abroad for an entire year. I never studied abroad during my undergrad years, which I always regretted, so I decided to go for my Master’s abroad! Being here for a year means I will get to fully immerse myself in the culture of a new place. The UK is quickly becoming my second home, and it’s nice to be able to settle in and make a little life for myself here. I’ve made many friends from all over the world in the 2+ months I’ve been here so far. It’s really amazing to be part of an international community, and to encounter people who are as passionate about education and new experiences as you are! Studying abroad also definitely instills in you a real independence. Nothing makes you grow like moving an ocean away from everyone you know.
What did you learn about the rest of the world from studying abroad? What did you learn about yourself from the experience?
The world is much smaller than it seems. The world is also much bigger than you could ever imagine. Studying abroad, as well as travelling, has shown me how accessible the world is. It’s really cool to leave your home country, too, and be in the minority. That’s a very unique experience that allows you to view things from an entirely new perspective. For example, it was quite enlightening to be here in the UK this year during the U.S. Presidential Election. I think I’ve learned a great deal about America by leaving it behind for a bit! :-)
You will learn an incredible amount about yourself whenever you pursue any new adventure in your life. Being truly on your own is fantastically empowering and exciting. You will have life-changing moments and get to know yourself better and better every day. Since you are (usually) setting off alone, it’s important to learn to be your own best friend. Have faith in yourself. Every day you spend abroad will enlarge you in confidence and optimism. I promise you.
Personally, I have realized even more how important travel experiences are to me. I’ve also determined that I want to pursue a career helping others to have these same amazing opportunities.
What was your BIGGEST challenge while studying abroad and how did you manage to handle it?
One of my biggest challenges while studying abroad has been being in a long distance relationship with my boyfriend. It’s difficult to be apart from someone you care about, but at the same time, it is a challenge which is so well worth the effort! We handle it by communicating as often as possible and by making one another feel like we are a part of each other’s daily life. He is also currently abroad, so our shared passion for travel keeps us strongly connected. Most of all, even when it gets tough, we always encourage each other and I know he is proud of me for pursuing my dreams, just as I am of him. Oh, and GOD BLESS SKYPE!
How did studying abroad change your life? How did it help you? What did you learn? Did you gain any useful life skills? How do you think it helped prepare you for your career?
I am still in the midst of my study abroad experience, so there is no telling what the next 10 months will bring! I do know that my programme in English Studies thus far is extremely challenging and wonderful. I’m learning so much about my subject. The knowledge I will have gained in one year, along with a shiny new Master’s degree, are things I hope will be tremendously helpful to me in my career pursuits. I am hoping to go into the study abroad or international education field, as well, and I believe nothing is better preparation than actually studying internationally!
What are your future plans?
I absolutely want to do more travel in the years to come. In pursuing a career in study abroad, I am not sure where that will take me, but I’m excited to see what my future holds!
What’s your BEST piece of advice for someone who is thinking about studying abroad?
Think of where you want to go most in the world. And then go there. My first travel experience was a backpacking trip through Europe, which was always my greatest dream. The friend that convinced me to go told me simply to ACT like I was going and TALK like I was going and it would happen; the rest would fall into place. Just decide YOU ARE GOING and then figure out the plan of action. It’s easy to invent excuses not to go, out of fear, uncertainty, timidity…it’s so easy NOT to go. So just GO. Because there is no way you’ll ever regret it.
So, when and where are you going?