Some students hesitate about studying abroad because they don’t want to leave behind their home campus’ extracurricular activity clubs and the friends they’ve made there. However, UC Santa Cruz student Zoe Scholar has found that her decision to study abroad in Glasgow and bring her love of dance overseas not only allowed her to find new friends in a new country, but also gave her the chance to utilise her dancing skills to fulfill personal goals. Read Zoe’s experience below!
“There is no singular decision I have made that has changed my life as dramatically as when I decided to start ballroom dancing my freshman year at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Dance has changed my view on life, happiness, and the world. While I will admit that studying abroad is another such decision as it has opened doors I didn’t know existed, dance was one of the main reasons I decided to attend University of Glasgow.
I already knew that I loved to dance and would continue to do so even if I was dancing in the rainy park three days a week; it wouldn’t have mattered much to me. However, I was worried about finding a place to “belong” in Glasgow, since the ballroom team at home had become my family and I wasn’t sure if I would feel the same about the team here. Now I know I worried for nothing. But putting that aside for the moment, I recall being very nervous at first. Luckily I had done some research beforehand into the different ballroom teams. In fact, I chose Glasgow over Edinburgh and St Andrews because of the Glasgow University Ballroom Society.
Soon after arriving in Glasgow I attended the taster session. I was scouted out by a few of the board members and they asked me if I was interested in teaching, which of course put me over the moon! My dream has always been to be a teacher or coach, so a HUGE thank you to the Glasgow University Ballroom Society for asking me. Soon after, I began teaching beginner to intermediate level classes once a week on the four basic dances: Waltz, Quickstep, Cha-Cha, and Jive. Soon after they invited me to teach two workshops (Samba and Rumba) with another highly skilled dancer who just started university in Glasgow. These were such amazing experiences and I am so happy that I was able to participate and share my knowledge. Unfortunately, due to difficulties in finances and finding a partner, I am unable to compete in England with the rest of the team. Instead, I was able to find a friend of a friend who is an AMAZING lead. For those of you who have never danced before… First of all, try it! And secondly, there is nothing better than when you start dancing and your partner knows what they are doing. So when our schedules permit, we meet a few days a week to practice.
This amazing experience has allowed me to dance my heart out and find a new dance family. I remember when the team went out on a Halloween subway pub crawl where every station we would get off and go to a pub and complete a challenge. We were dancing quickstep down the street to the next pub, jive on the underground, and zombie samba walks to allow us to embrace the Halloween spirit. The list of games never ended! That bonding experience with my fellow dancers made me realize that Glasgow is now home. It always will be.
My experiences here have opened up my mind to different possibilities regarding my future. Who knows where I will go next but I know it’ll be a great adventure, just like this one.”