Q&A with the new Programme Officer: Allie Dundon

Here at the Edinburgh Study Centre, we’re so excited to welcome our new Programme Officer, Allie Dundon! Allie comes to us from London, where she worked for Fordham University as Assistant Director of Student Affairs. She’s originally from Kentucky, but she completed her undergraduate degree in French and German at the University of Edinburgh. During her time as an undergrad, she also studied abroad in Brussels, Belgium and Essen, Germany — so she definitely has tons of valuable experience with living and learning abroad!

Keep reading to get to know Allie a little bit better!

Let’s start with an introduction:

Hello! I’m Allie – but you knew that already. I came to Edinburgh aged 17 for my degree, and fell in love instantly. When I studied abroad in Belgium and Germany, I felt homesick for Edinburgh! I think it’s the perfect combination of city and nature, and of course it’s stunning as well. Anyway, the main things you need to know about me are:

  1. I usually eat lunch around 10:30 AM and second lunch around 1 PM.
  2. I never (repeat, NEVER) get tired of pad thai.
  3. If you catch me smiling to myself I am probably thinking about my dog, Badger.
Badger can be found asleep on the couch 19 hours a day.

What was one of your favourite memories from your time studying abroad?

My study abroad programme in Germany set visiting students up with German student “buddies”. When I first met my buddy, I found out his mom had 5 greyhounds (my favourite type of dog!). He and his mom invited me over to her house for cake, coffee, and a dog petting session. Six years later, we still keep in touch – and I have a greyhound of my own! I think one of the great things about studying abroad is making connections with people that last long after you’ve returned to your home country.

What is your favourite place you’ve travelled to?

Recently this would have to be St. Petersburg, Russia! I went last winter when it was -15° C, and was able to walk across the Neva River and canals (frozen several feet deep). It was so beautiful in the snow, but next time I’d like to see the city in summertime…

What advice would you give to students who are considering studying abroad?

Get to know your host country first, and don’t travel every weekend! It can be expensive (don’t be fooled by the £10 RyanAir flights – the airport might be a £25 and 1.5 hour bus journey from your actual destination!), and it’s physically exhausting. It will be easier to settle in and feel at home in your host city if you invest your time in student/local life at the beginning of the semester. Join your students’ union – they’ll have sports teams, societies, and all kinds of free or subsidised activities where you can meet local students and make friends!

What does your position at the ESC entail?

At the minute, mainly sorting through study lists! There’s a good balance of administrative work, event/Orientation planning, and helping students in person and via e-mail once they’re in country.

What inspired you to apply for this position and what are you looking forward to the most about it?

I really loved working with the students at Fordham’s London Centre, but I had been itching to move back to Edinburgh for such a long time. I applied to this position so that I could continue to do the work I love in a city I love!  UCEAP is a very different programme to Fordham’s (where students take all of their classes at the centre with their friends from home, and they all live in housing together). I think it’s great that UCEAP creates a more immersive experience and gives students more independence – and I’m looking forward to seeing that in action.

List one interesting or unexpected fact about yourself?

Outside of work, I am an amateur sommelier and a professional watcher of Scandi crime dramas.