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Casei Gossett

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: nutrition
Program: API, Global Launch, University of Stirling
Location: stirling, scotland
Term: fall 2021


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
Studying abroad and/or becoming an exchange student was always a goal of mine since the age of 7, as I was fascinated with European culture. When I was applying to Carolina, there was an option to apply to the Global Launch Program, with options of Spain, Ireland, and Scotland. Ecstatic, I selected to apply to all 3 and upon acceptance into Carolina, I was first admitted to the University of Stirling in Scotland to attend my first semester of freshman year. Due to COVID, I had the option to do online UNC courses in the fall, or accept my offer into Stirling. Without hesitation, I chose to go to Stirling because I knew the experience would be unlike anything in highschool or previous years. Starting off college in a new country was the perfect opportunity to get to know myself better and to gain a kind of independence I never had.


What did you learn about yourself?
Not only was it my first time going out of the country, it was also my first time even flying on a plane. I had never traveled long distance without my parents so I knew that I had to have confidence in myself to get through anything that is thrown at me. Growing up with the same people from elementary school to high school, I never had much of a chance to meet new people, let alone those of a completely different culture. This experience helped me figure out the best way for me to communicate and meet new people, put myself out there, as well as develop long lasting friendships. I learned how I operate independently in high stress situations that I've never experienced before. I learned how to manage time, handling both high level school work as well as giving myself the chance to see everything I can. It was during my time studying abroad that I learned the most about myself. From my sense of humor to studying habits, I would say I changed a lot, in a good way.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
One of my favorite memories of the program was going on a 3 day excursion to the highlands of Scotland. There was breathtaking waterfalls, gorgeous forests, and rich history. We all stayed in a big house deep in the forest. On our way there we got to see numerous castles, oceans, mountains, and even the Harry Potter bridge! We stopped in different towns as well and had a chance to sightsee in them. We worked together each night to make a dinner of scottish foods and get to know each other even better.


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
Studying abroad in itself is an uncertainty and the chances of everything going perfect is very little to none. For me, the uncertainties in my trip started the minute I got to my local airport- delays forced me to completely change airlines and get to my destination later than everyone else. I was super upset at first, but it worked out for the best and in the long run it never mattered. Right off the bat, my experience was different than everyone else. Studying abroad gives you the chance to see how you react and respond to different situations, problems, and experiences which will only improve your experience and life in the long run. Even getting out of your comfort zone is a form of uncertainty- push yourself while you're out there and stay as positive as possible. It WILL work out for the best and no matter what you face, you'll look back on it with a smile on your face knowing everything just adds up to the experience.


How do you identify?
LGBTQ+, Covenant Scholars


Could you share any experiences where your identity played a role in your time abroad?
As a covenant scholar, my financial aid is completely need based, although during my time abroad there was no financial aid available to help, We had to take out loans and create a GoFundMe in order for me to be able to go. During the trip, I noticed that I seemed to struggle to afford things more than others, which never fully prevented me from doing something, but did make some things a little harder.


Is there any advice you would give to other students who share your identity?
Although I was not able to receive aid for my studying abroad because it happened before I was officially enrolled in Carolina, covenant scholars receive the aid they get now and can apply it to studying abroad! Make sure to keep track of spending, but leave yourself room to buy souvenirs and items like clothing. Budgeting is a great idea, especially if you plan on traveling elsewhere in the country you go to.