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Sally Johnson

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: Psychology BA
Program: University of St Andrews
Location: St Andrews, Scotland
Term: Academic Year 2018-2019


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
I wanted to study abroad in order to challenge myself in a new environment and gain new experiences to become a more well rounded and flexible individual. I chose to study at St Andrews because I was drawn to the natural beauty and history of Scotland, and the small town atmosphere of St Andrews, specifically.


What did you learn about yourself?
I learned I was capable of adapting to difficult situations - not only adapt, but thrive. Despite facing emotional challenges while adjusting to my program, it ended up being one of the best experiences of my life. Having to deal with problems while travelling also showed me that I have the ability to navigate stressful moments with limited resources.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
During my time at St Andrews I joined the club cross country team, and one weekend we traveled to the Isle of Man for a running festival. It was one of the sunniest weekends we'd had in months and we spent hours sitting outside, eating ice cream on the beach after races, hiking up the highest hill on the island, and playing games outside on the lawn. The Isle of Man is beautiful, and sharing it with great friends made the weekend one of my favorites.


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
Say yes to everything you can. You're so much more likely to get more out of your experience when you're open to new things. Even when it's scary or you're unsure, just say yes. Some of the best things parts of my study abroad experience were things that I was hesitant about at first.


Would you do it again?


How did your study abroad experience prepare you for your future career?
As a psychology major hoping to pursue a career in counseling or other clinical work, I felt that studying abroad gave me the opportunity to practice healthy coping mechanisms that one might recommend to patients, and I was also able to volunteer as a research assistant in one of St Andrews' child psychology labs. Thus, I was able to advance myself both personally and professionally.


How were your classes abroad different than if you would have taken them at UNC?
St Andrews requires you to take fewer classes than UNC, but the classes require more self directed work. Especially in my higher level classes, it was necessary that I do outside readings in order to be prepared for class. There's also fewer assignments in general, so each must be carefully prepared because they are weighted so heavily. Classes meet less frequently, so students are expected to be more independent.