BY MAGGIE MUELLER
Elizabeth “Liz” Gilman is a junior at McKendree University from St. Louis Missouri. She decided to come to McKendree because she was offered a full ride basketball scholarship. After two years of basketball, she decided to focus just on her degree in mathematics through the education program. Now, just being a regular student at McKendree she was a little out of the norm. She then made a decision to do something most students only dream of. Liz applied to study abroad in Europe. For the 2015 spring semester, Liz received the chance to study for the whole semester in Scotland.
McKendree students can apply to take a full semester of college in another country all while still being a McKendree student. “Most of a student’s financial aid will be applied to offset the cost of studying abroad and classes are pre-approved to transfer back into McKendree so that a semester abroad doesn’t delay graduation.”
Liz made the decision to go on this once in lifetime journey three weeks into the 2014 fall semester. There are so many steps to go through to actually begin and eventually experience this journey. She started out by applying to the program here at McKendree. McKendree’s program has to accept you first and foremost.
Once getting accepted, she had to go through interviews with different faculty members, at random. After the interviews and applications were completed, Liz had to apply to Butler University’s study abroad program. McKendree University is too small of a university to have their own study abroad program, so they partnered up with a large university like Butler, which is also known as a host school. She applied to the University of Glasgow in Scotland through The Institute for Study Abroad-Butler University (IFSA), which is the formal name of the program.
After being accepted into IFSA Butler, Liz was required to renew her passport. She didn’t have to get a visa because she was only going to be there for one semester; six months. Since a visa is required to get a job in Scotland, Liz decided it was a no to the $200 visa and planned on saving a lot of money to take on her trip.
Next, she needed to choose all her classes she had to take. “It was a pain choosing
classes because all their courses were set up way different then America’s,” stated Liz. They list their courses by levels. In order to choose a certain math class, she had to choose from math level one, level two, level three, and/or level four. There is not different subjects of math like statistics or caculus, just levels. She explains how someone would think a level four class would be the class a student would take their fourth year of college, but that is completely wrong. A level four class is like a second-year graduate level class. Liz is a second-semester junior and a junior level mathematics class compared to the states is a math level one.
Once her classes were finally picked out, she had to get it approved by her advisor, Dr. Alewine, and by McKendree to make sure all her classes would transfer once she gets back. After McKendree approved it, they sent it to Butler who sent it to Glasgow.
She now had to set up her flights, phone service stuff, and pack and soon be on her way to Glasgow.
“I was so thankful my academic scholarship transferred from McKendree to Glasgow because that’s a huge amount taken off my tuition that I thought I was going to have to pay out of pocket,” says Liz. The tuition there was pretty close McKendree’s tuition and the housing was around $3000.
Liz arrived there in January. She was astounded by the school and how beautiful it was. The semester was broken down differently than in the United States. Liz started her classes in January and her last days of regular classes were at the end of March. She then got to travel around Europe during her spring break, which will last all the way until May. Once May rolls around, she will have to take finals. Liz gets the whole month of May to do so.
She is enjoying her long spring break because this gives her so much time to travel around Europe. After purchasing an unlimited train ticket for 500 pounds, or $750, Liz is traveling to Paris, Milan, Switzerland, Vienna, Amsterdam, Czechoslovakia, Venice, Frankford, and Rome. “The most amazing place I have been to thus far is Venice. It really is all they talk it up to be; a city built on water,” she explains. She thought Rome was cool, but could not stand the people one bit. They were all very rude and made crude comments the whole time she was there. One man even followed her all around the park. She was surprised that the UK and America were not all that different. “The UK definitely likes their drinks there a lot more. It is natural for every person to drink all the time there. There was no such thing as alcoholism.”
Elizabeth will be returning to the states after finals arriving on May 28th.