Early Learning and Immersion

I’ve been in Glasgow for roughly two weeks now and I wanted to share some of my experiences and some things I’ve learned. Hopefully this will give you an idea of what to expect if you were to come study abroad with the amazing people of Scotland.

When I arrived in Scotland I needed a phone service because your phone is the most important thing, right? No, not really but it is useful; the first couple days I went without data, and I wasn’t able to add anyone I met on Facebook or Snapchat.

“The coolest part is that I’ve met people from all over Europe — London, Spain, Hungary, Norway and Slovakia are just some of them. I now want to visit all of these places.”

I’d chosen to wait to get a phone plan while in the United Kingdom instead of getting an international plan. Here in the UK they have “pay as you go” plans where you can pick between four packages each month. I got the package with unlimited text, 100 minutes and 2 GB of data, all for 10 pounds. Of course, there are packages with more data or more minutes so you’re able to pick one to your liking and if you don’t like your package you can pick a different one the following month.

In the UK, during the first week of the semester there aren’t any classes. Instead there are events to help students get acclimated to their new home and university life. This is called fresher’s week. Essentially you have free food, parties, tours and little events held to help you meet others. The big things are the freshers fair and the sports fair, where all the societies and clubs have booths where you can find out about them and sign up to join. The schools also have meetings where they tell you about the grading system and some of the resources offered to you.

Freshers week is definitely something to take advantage of!

I know everyone always says to join a club or society and you’ve probably heard it many times over, but I think this is very important while abroad. I didn’t really follow this when I first arrived at San Diego State, but here I’ve joined a few sports clubs and other societies. This has truly helped me meet more people in the first two weeks than I met in all of my freshman year at SDSU. The coolest part is that I’ve met people from all over Europe — London, Spain, Hungary, Norway and Slovakia are just some of them. I now want to visit all of these places.

Another country I’ve had the pleasure of learning about is China. Three of my roommates are from Nanjing, China and another is from South Carolina so we all have some pretty interesting conversations about our two countries. I learned that there is a firewall that prevents them from using social media like Facebook and Twitter and my roommates didn’t even know exactly what their function was or how they worked. It’s really cool being able to learn about a country from its citizens and to be asked questions like, “Do a lot of people wear glasses in America?”

Speaking of America…

So far I’ve heard a lot of American music. People here listen to many genres, including electronic, rock, pop and hip hop. Hip hop seems to be the choice of genre to be played blasting from your car (Migos, Drake) and pop seems to be played a lot in public settings. I was told that Latin American music is also pretty popular and I have seen some evidence of that. I do, of course hear bagpipes on the street, but that is the extent of my knowledge on Scottish music so far.

Something I thought was interesting was that Scotland has different variations of the Scottish accent and apparently people from Glasgow can have a hard time understanding some of these variations from other places. So I don’t really know what chance I have at understanding them, but I’ll try!

Emiliano Estrada is an economics major. He is studying at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom during fall semester.


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