Study Abroad – California

 

One of the things that attracted me most to come to RGU and study at Aberdeen Business School was the prospect of studying abroad. As I study International Business Management it is compulsory to include an international aspect in our course, whether that be on placement or as an exchange student. RGU enables students from a wide range of courses to go and study in Europe or further afield.

RGU offers Erasmus and Study Abroad all over Europe but also the chance to be an exchange student in countries such as Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and the USA. In my case, I was certain that I wanted to study in America, particularly the West coast. For this reason I was set on studying a semester in California at Humboldt State University.

Humboldt State University is located on California’s Northern coastline and is buried within the Redwood national park. It was pretty surreal to be living and studying in a national forest among some of the tallest trees in the world. I met people and made friends from all over the world and learned a lot about different cultures not just that of California. I feel studying abroad forced me to grow and adapt as a person as I was jumping into a challenge I hadn’t faced before. Being on the other side of the world, with nobody that I knew, in a place that at first seemed strange, was initially a little daunting but if you keep an open mind it doesn’t take long to feel at home.

sunset-ca

The thing I would suggest the most to anyone considering studying abroad is to TRAVEL! No matter where you go, make the most of the chance to explore some of the country that you go to. I flew to San Francisco a month before my course was due to start, and spent that time travelling around California. I managed to see a lot of Northern California during my time there, but I also really enjoyed my classes and studying. Throughout my study abroad saw the sights in San Francisco; explored Yosemite National Park; road tripped around Lake Tahoe; visited various vineyards in Napa Valley and went surfing along the Humboldt coast.

People that I met were desperate to learn about Scotland and genuinely interested in coming up to me to chat and ask questions – which I found comforting at first. This made it easy to get along with American students, and I presume this would be similar for people studying in other parts of the world. Due to this, I was able to learn a lot about the local area and what it’s like to actually be a resident in that part of the world. I found that people in Humboldt County are very relaxed and easy-going but care strongly for the environment and nature. There was very much a local ‘hippie’ culture but this is no wonder when they are surrounded by amazing mountains, forest and beaches.

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I would strongly recommend anyone from any degree background, to take the opportunity to study abroad. I found that if you are prepared to put in some hard work and are determined to make the most of your time away, studying abroad can be extremely rewarding and a life changing experience. For me, studying abroad was very much about ‘what you make it to be’. Meaning that you should make the most of the opportunity available, and just have as much fun as you can. I learned so much from studying abroad that I wouldn’t have had the chance to otherwise. This experience looks great on your CV and is a good conversation topic in an interview!

Look, in the picture below, how small I am compared to the size of the Redwood trees around the HSU campus!

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Stewart

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