Through a partnership with higher education institutions in Dundee, Scotland, NOVA’s Alexandria Campus welcomed six students from Dundee & Angus College for the spring 2017 semester. Liberal Arts Division Dean Jimmie McClellan emphasizes that the City of Alexandria and Dundee are culturally and economically linked, and it gives the two cities the opportunity to collaborate and create partnerships.
During their visit, the students are experiencing education and culture in the U.S. while continuing their studies. Three of the students are enrolled in communication studies and theatre classes and the other three are enrolled in communication design classes. Throughout the semester, they have spent many weekends in Washington, D.C., visiting museums, shopping and sightseeing.
While transitioning to a new country, the students said they noticed a huge difference in people’s mannerisms, describing them as nice and always greeting them even if they were strangers. Scott Guthrie also mentioned their quick adjustment to things such as navigating through the city, Northern Virginia traffic and sales tax. Matthew Milroy said they have had a great opportunity to really explore the area freely.
The students said they have also taken notice of the contrast between classes in Scotland and in the U.S. One of those differences is, if a student meets certain requirements, he/she is eligible for free college tuition in Scotland while college tuition varies in the U.S.
“In Scotland, our education system is a little stricter compared to here,” Jessica Henderson said. Her classmate Tasha Smith added that there is a lot more freedom to make decisions about how often you attend classes while in Scotland there is an expectance of 100 percent attendance. Kieran McManus also said knowing college tuition is not free in the United States makes you push yourself to work a little harder.
The students recall a very positive and warm welcome from the NOVA’s Alexandria family – stating that NOVA Institute for Public Service Coordinator Linda Campos and McClellan have been really great and supportive of their studies and experience while visiting. They were also encouraged to get involved while studying at NOVA and have become a part of the NOVA Forensics Team.
“The experience has been really nice because every professor we’ve had has been passionate about what they do,” Darren Forbes-Kindlen said.
The students emphasized that they would definitely advise students to take advantage of studying abroad opportunities. They said when studying abroad, it is important to keep an open mind, be social and learn absolutely everything you can from those who are willing to teach you.