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Abroad in Glasgow, Scotland: Ian Rand ’17

When speaking with Ian Rand about his study abroad experience last year, it’s easy to see just how fond he still is of his former home for a semester. While taking classes at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, Ian traveled, joined clubs, and developed a new sense of self.

He felt as if studying abroad would help him grow as a person, considering that the most important part of college. “Going abroad is a rare experience,” Ian said, “I saw it as something that would mold me and shape my perspective on the world.”

There were, of course, adjustments that Ian had to make while living in Glasgow. The university itself was much larger than Ursinus, as were its classes. Ian noted that he wasn’t used to a lecture hall style of learning, saying, “In my sociology class I was one of 500, and my biggest class at Ursinus was maybe 30 students. The grading systems are also different.” There is also the struggle in trying to stay in touch with friends and family, where too much contact could be detrimental. “If you go on Facebook for too long, you can feel depressed. The reality that friends are over there and I wasn’t.”

Before coming to Scotland, Ian did hold certain stereotypes about cities: that they’re cramped, smoky, and even crime-ridden places. But after his experience abroad? “I felt so comfortable at night despite never having lived in a city, which is a huge testament to Glasgow and what a wonderful place it is to live in.” Ian continues, “I could see the benefits of city life now, going to restaurants at any time. And if you’re feeling lonely, you could go walk for one or two hours and get a coffee somewhere to clear your head.”

Ian wants to travel more, he’s excited to. He still gets that warm nostalgic feeling thinking about his time in Glasgow. He can still feel the wind on his face from when he was scaling the highlands in Scotland, standing over a cliff that was six or seven stories high. He’s changed, as a person, becoming more open-minded and has a better idea of what he wants to do in life. Ian always wanted to stay local after graduation, but with his new greater sense of independence, that plan may have changed, too. “Now I want to be an upstart in a new land, rather than the king of my backyard.”