Exchange Q & A with Sonia Sahota

University of Glasgow, Scotland (Fall 2018)


When and why did you decide to go abroad, and how did you figure out where to go?

I studied abroad for Fall 2018 semester. I wanted to study abroad when I first transferred to SFU in 2017 but I didn’t have enough SFU credits to do so. I went back to the Study Abroad office in the Spring 2018 semester to register and ended up studying abroad in my 4th year! 

I decided to go abroad to because I wanted to break out of my echochamber and meet people from other places in the world. 

I have family in England so I decided that Glasgow, Scotland would be a great place that was close enough to them if I ever needed them but far away enough so that I’d be able to have my independence. 


What preparations did you have to make before you went abroad?

I have a UK passport so I didn’t need to get a visa. To prepare, I went to SFU Study Abroad orientations, explored University of Glasgow’s website and watched lots YouTube videos about Glasgow and UofG living. 


Where did you stay while you were in Glasgow? 

I stayed in Kelvinhaugh Street student flats while in Glasgow with 4 other flat mates. My residence was about a 12 minute walk from campus and about a 30 minute walk from city centre. 


What were some of your most memorable experiences from studying in Glasgow? 

Honestly, my most memorable experiences were made when I wasn’t studying! In Glasgow, my favourite thing to do was go to traditional Scottish dances called Ceilidhs.

One weekend, my family came up from England and took me to the Scottish Highlands. Next to BC, the Highlands are one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to.

I went to Belgium and France with my friends and probably ate my weight in waffles and crepes. 


How did your time abroad enrich or add to your knowledge of Geography? Were you able to apply things you learned at SFU while abroad? 

In classes, I could offer information that related to the course about British Columbia. I enjoyed learning about the physical geography of Scotland, especially its Highlands.


What were the biggest differences that you noticed between Scotland and Canada? 

Regarding academics, I noticed that a lot of our grades were weighted later in the semester than they are at SFU. For example, while at SFU we often have midterm and assignments through the semester, I’d have nothing due all semester and then a paper and exam due at the end of the course at UofG. This allowed me to take advantage of the time months before my busy month to travel. 


What advice do you have for other students who are considering studying abroad? 

If you’re able to go, do it! I went in my 4th year and I am so glad I got this experience. For the short time it is, Study Abroad is a really great learning experience.

Say yes to experiences when you’re there. Even though you’re there for school, don’t spend your whole time studying. Travel is insanely cheap in Europe (use the SkyScanner app) and take advantage of events put on by your host school/city.