Exploring castles in Prague, studying the rainforest in Costa Rica, or visiting ancient temples in Japan – these adventures and more await our students who go abroad during their time at Chapman. With the help of the Center for Global Education, STEM students can plan their study abroad experience to fit in with their rigorous academic schedules.
Lorryn McKaig (class of 2022) is studying physics with a minor in environmental science. She’s extremely involved at Chapman, not just in the sciences as a peer advisor but also in residence life as an orientation leader and Fenestra community coordinator. She studied abroad at the University of Glasgow in Scotland last spring, and although she came home early due to the pandemic, she loved her experience. We talked with Lorryn about her experience and advice she has for other students.
Schmid College: What was your favorite part about studying abroad?
Lorryn McKaig: My favorite part about studying abroad was all the people I got to meet. A lot of international students study in Glasgow and it is a very diverse city. I met people from all around the world and am still in contact with a lot of them! I met people from Italy, Venezuela, Canada, Finland, and several other places.
SC: What was the most challenging aspect of studying abroad?
LM: It took some time to adapt to a new way of life. I had to get used to things like understanding thick Scottish accents, walking everywhere instead of driving, and a new classroom culture. It was especially difficult for me to adjust to the new weather. Scotland is very very cold and also very rainy. But after some time, all of these aspects became the new normal.
SC: As a STEM student, how did you plan your academic schedule around studying abroad? What classes did you take?
LM: As a STEM student, you definitely should start planning your study abroad classes ahead of time. I was only able to take a few classes for my major while abroad, such as scientific computing and linear algebra. I did have to make up another major course during the following summer, which I would have taken during my study abroad semester had I been studying at Chapman. So depending on what is offered at your study abroad university, you may need to make some alterations to your original academic plans. But it is completely worth it to get the experience of studying in another country. I also took a GE course, International Relations, and a fun art course, Stained Glass Workshop.
SC: What would you recommend to other STEM students who are thinking about studying abroad?
LM: Check out the Global Gateway! There is a way to filter your search for universities which are recommended for your major. Once you find some places you are interested in, check out the courses they offer, as well as their pre-approved courses. Check if any of these are on your program evaluation. And don’t be afraid to ask for help from academic advisors or peer advisors. Don’t let being a STEM student get in the way of your international experiences!
Interested in learning more about studying abroad? This week is International Education Week, and the Center for Global Education is hosting virtual events to help students learn about and plan for an international experience. Check out @cuglobal on Instagram or visit the CGE website for more information!