I’m sure you are reading this blog because you are considering to go on an exchange. I just came back from this exchange program just a week ago after my 4 months of exchange and 2 months of travel and honestly, I can tell you to just do it. Only thing I’m regretting now is that I chose to do 1 semester abroad, not 1 year. I’m sure you may be scared of leaving home (you will have to do it someday so why not do it now?) or you might say “I don’t have money” (well save up now! I saved more than enough money in one year for my exchange & travel!).
I’ll be honest, I didn’t choose Strathclyde University as my first choice for my exchange. Like who will think that Scotland has much to offer to people? Except their stereotypical bagpipe and whisky? But when I got to Scotland, I absolutely loved the place.
I still remember the day I left hot and humid Australia and arrived to rainy and cold Scotland. Strathclyde University is located in Glasgow, which is the biggest city in Scotland, where soccer, team Celtic is like their religion. Strathclyde is located just 10 minutes away from the central Glasgow and is roughly 15-20minutes walk away from the main entertainments.
While I was there, I don’t think I was ever bored except for the exam period. When you wake up, there are flatmates in common area to hang, unless your friends are quiet, everyone will be willing to go out every day to make most of their exchange! Because of this, I was so occupied everyday that now, I’m really bored in Sydney. From the day 1 of my exchange, I met so many new people, partied and got to know places around Glasgow until the university officially started since Strathclyde makes the first week as the exchange week and it’s there for exchange students to get used to the place. From the friends I have met from the day 1 and throughout the semester, most of us traveled around Scotland every weekend. There were a lot of tours and places to go. During the exchange, I went to Edinburgh, Dundee, Stonehaven, Glenfinnen (Harry potter bridge).. well too many to list where I visited in Scotland, but I have pretty much been to entire west side of Scotland and main places and can tell you that the landscape is absolutely stunning! Mentioning main places, cannot forgot Isle of the Skye which is known as the 4th most beautiful island in the world! Did a road trip with 4 of my friends from exchange during spring break for Isle of the Skye.
If you choose Scotland, you can even hike the highest mountain in UK! The mighty Ben Nevis! Or you can just go hiking anywhere since Scotland is full of places to hike! I have also traveled to Belfast for the mighty St Patrick’s day and also went to Cardiff to meet some UTS friends.
After university, I have traveled many places with friends from exchange and visiting few of them during my travel! I have traveled Amsterdam > Turku > Helsinki > Stockholm > Copenhagen > Hamburg > Lubeck > Berlin > Munich > Prague > Brussels > Gent > Lisbon > Porto > Braga > Madrid > Barcelona!
But if you want to hang with locals, best way is to join a club. I think sports clubs are usually the easiest one since it is easier to bond with people through sports! I joined the Strathclyde Hockey club (field hockey) since unlike Australia costing $600 a season, sports club in Strathclyde is only 20 quid! (quid is scottish way of saying pounds). I met so many amazing people there, had fun karaoke night every Wednesday and heading out for the night at a place where the hockey team gets sponsored from.
One main advice I can give you all is that, just do exchange. Every penny you spend in exchange is worth it. Just get out of your comfort zone and see the world. You will meet so many people, make new friends across the world, travel and etc! Once you are there, say YES to everything! Well not for some stuffs… But these are the things I would of never experienced if I didn’t go on an exchange. Just do it and have fun!
If you want to see visually what happened and where I went during my exchange in Scotland and other places, you can have a look at my instagram “ddhkphotography” or can check out my friend’s Youtube channel liaontheroad and Sha-Zap where they did few vlogs. But if you want few advice and tips for Strathclyde university, Feel free to contact me ! My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dennis Kim, 12050466