Conor, from Northern Ireland travelled to Clarkson University, New York State in the USA for a year as part of the Exchange programme. He is studying International Business Management in the School of Social Sciences. Conor is based at the Edinburgh Campus.
Why did you decide to take part in Go Global?
Taking part in an Exchange was an incredible opportunity to experience other cultures and have new experiences. Studying in a small, rural part of America was a unique experience giving me a taste of non-metropolitan life, a platform that I could use to travel the rest of the country and an opportunity to contrast entrepreneurial cultures and marketing techniques between the UK and America (which has gone on to significantly contribute to my dissertation).
How did studying in the USA differ from studying in the UK?
Their examination system and general academic ethos is surprisingly different from the UK. The subjects are arguably easier although they also gave students much more autonomy in terms of picking subjects so I was able to study a lot of fourth year topics. There is also more an emphasis on practical experience. For instance I was engaged in many more practical exercises than I was used to and attended a ‘free enterprise’ competition as part of a team competing for cash prizes.
What were the highlights from your global student experience?
I learned to ski, hiked in the Adirondacks, studied some of the most interesting subjects of my degree so far, got a job working for the marketing department, made many close friends, formed a band with another exchange student and won the university talent competition and travelled for five weeks coast-to-coast at the end, engaging in activities like learning to surf and skydiving.
Was there anything that you found challenging about studying in your exchange country?
The weather was the biggest challenge; temperatures ranged from 35c in summer to -35c in winter. Generally starting a university when knowing no one is always a difficult but necessary challenge.
How do you think being a global student will benefit you in your career after university?
It has given me experience studying and living in a different culture. I now have a greater understanding of American business practises, which will be hugely beneficial when I embark upon a career.