Last month, our Edinburgh Study Center intern sat down with current UCEAP Scotland student, Ariana Quisenberry, for a little chat about Archery, Arthur’s Seat and living and learning abroad:
It was a bit of a chilly February morning, but the sun’s sly way of peeking through the Edinburgh clouds proved just enough to convince the UC Santa Barbara 4th year and San Diego native to move the interview from our Study Center conference room to an outside bench in the nearby park.
Q: Hi Ariana! Thanks for chatting. First off, what made you choose to study abroad, and specifically why Scotland?
Sure, no problem! I had always wanted to study abroad during college. One of the reasons I chose UCSB, actually, was because of the great study abroad opportunities they offer. When thinking about where I wanted to go, I’d considered the UK and Germany mostly. When I decided to stick with the UK, Scotland stuck out to me because of its beauty. The University of Edinburgh pictures reminded me of exactly what I imagined a prestigious UK University to look like.
Q: You recently finished 4th in the British Universities Archery Competition. Congratulations! How did you get involved in the Archery Club at Edinburgh? Had you been involved in something like this back home?
Before coming to Scotland, I had no previous experience with Archery. At UCSB I wasn’t really involved in any clubs on campus, so I made a promise to myself that I would join something when I went abroad. I went to the University Sports Club Fair during the beginning of term and the Archery club had a booth that a friend of mine wanted to visit. When we went over and they were holding an “open session”, so I gave it a shot-literally. It was a thrilling experience so I went to a few more “open sessions” over the next week, eventually became a member of the club, and was chosen to be a part of the novice competitive team!
(Fun fact: Ariana is the only American student on the Archery Club’s competitive team this year. You go, girl!)
Q: What has been your favorite memory from Archery Club so far?
The Archery group all went out and did Karaoke in town one night and it was so much fun! When we’re at practice, everyone tends to stay real quiet and focused, so hanging out outside of the practice room and letting loose with each other was a really great bonding experience. And I found out some of my teammates have really good voices!
Q: What has been one of your most memorable Edinburgh experiences so far?
After about a month or so into my time in Scotland, some UCEAP friends and I took advantage of a sunny day and had a picnic at the top of Arthur’s Seat. It was great and so beautiful. Actually, I should probably take another walk up there soon…
Q: How have you grown during your UCEAP experience?
I think I’ve definitely learned to be more independent and rely on myself in more situations. When you’re so far away from home, you’re forced to do things on your own and figure things out. I remember one instance where just minutes before arriving at the airport to fly back to Edinburgh, I got a text message saying my flight had just been cancelled. That was one of those moments where I had to take full responsibility for how I handled the situation and it definitely has helped me feel more confident being independent.
Also, I’d say being here for the entire academic year has really allowed me to immerse myself in the culture of this city and I’ve grown a lot more globally aware. Living beyond the borders of your own country really opens your eyes to other cultures and backgrounds. I’m in a Scottish History class right now and the material that I’m learning continues to widen my perspectives and embrace learning through a context outside of what I’m familiar with back in the US.
Q: What do you miss most about home?
Mexican food. And being able to go to the beach in the middle of winter.
Q: What advice would you give to other students who are thinking about studying abroad?
Research the weather and make sure you pack accordingly! I had to buy quite a bit of warm clothes after moving out here because I didn’t think about packing that stuff before. Also, be sure to use the resources provided to you to research and prepare prior to departure -I promise it will make your time abroad much more enjoyable!
Learn more about studying abroad with UCEAP in Scotland here!