From Scotland to Stillwater

By Carlie Pearson

Students coming from other countries face lots of challenges, but for Rachel Stewart, on exchange from Heriot Watt University in Scotland, “it’s definitely one of the best experiences of my life, which is cliché, but I don’t know how else to explain.”

When Stewart and her best friend, Lauren McNally, on exchange from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland, came to OSU for the year, they had to start fresh and build a life here.

“It wasn’t easy to start with. But you learn a lot about yourself,” she explains.   McNally, an international hospitality and management major, met her best friend, Stewart, an international business major, at OSU. Together, they have above all, become true Cowboys during their year at Oklahoma State.

Early in the year, they met the captain of the lacrosse team, and joined her team. It turned out to be the best decision they could have ever made. “We are actually going to the championships this weekend,” McNally said, in May. The club sport been a great way to meet people and get involved on campus. It has also been an incredible way to see more of the United States, as the lacrosse team makes trips to surrounding states to compete.

“Here everyone is huge into OSU; it’s like a culture,” Stewart explained, “Back home we have club sports, but no one would really come see them.” They were excited to find out how interactive and social sports can really be. They recommend incoming students get the season sports pass, and to experience tailgating at a home football game.

Academically, their experience at OSU has changed their perspectives on learning. At OSU, there is always help available. It’s the first time McNally and Stewart have really gotten to know their professors. “Each class, my professor starts with trivia, and it gets everyone interested. We have also been taught practical skills we can actually use,” McNally said. In their classes, they have been inspired by OSU’s students, of whom they say are very ambitious, and make them want to try harder. Above all, they love the friendly community on campus and in Stillwater.

Lauren and Rachel are thankful to have come to Oklahoma State for the whole year. Not only did they see an entire school year, from football to finals and from the perspective of a Cowboy, but they also learned things from outside American culture through meeting other exchange students. Because they met students from Germany, France, Mexico, Australia, Spain, South Africa, and more, they now have contacts from around the world that they can visit in the future. Some of their best friends, for life, were made here.

“One of my favorite weekends was renting a lake house at Tenkiller Lake,” McNally said. It turns out they rented, unknowingly, an old girl scout camp. “It was fun to sleep upstairs with all the beds in one room – like The Parent Trap!” It was also their first time to try s’mores, a traditional camping food favorite.

The most unexpected things for Stewart and McNally were seeing real cowboy boots and hats. Sometimes cultural differences such as this made things tough, like when repeatedly ordering food. “We speak the same language, so I wasn’t expecting so much trouble.” But the slang between Scotland and Stillwater was hard to get used to, according to Stewart.

During our interview, the two were sad to think about leaving Stillwater. Stewart said she will miss the fact that there’s always something going on, and that every week, everyone is talking about it. But their American adventure isn’t over yet. Before traveling home, they will spend one month exploring San Diego, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, New Orleans, Washington D.C., Boston, and New York. Upon leaving, Stewart said she “will miss Mexican food so much. I don’t know what I’ll do without Qdoba.”

Rachel says for anyone looking to study abroad, they should consider Herriot- Watt University in Scotland. “Obviously the city is amazing,” she says about Edinburgh.

Scotland to Stillwater

Herriot-Watt is a great central location in Scotland, located just outside of Edinburgh. Though the  university is small, students become very close, especially if you join a sports team.

Robert Gordon is a great, modern university located in Aberdeen, a student city near the adventurous Scottish highlands. Though quite small, it is called the “Granite City,” and also has its own beach. McNally says that if students are looking for a business school, RGU should definitely be one of your top choices for a semester or year abroad.


OSU Study Abroad/NSE Welcomes Marissa Hernandez

OSU Study Abroad is proud to introduce Marissa Hernandez as the new Study Abroad Coordinator. She holds a Master of Science in International Studies from OSU and a B.A. in Law from Monterrey Tec (ITESM), where she was fortunate to participate in various study abroad programs that helped reinforce her love for travel and international education. She is a native of Denver, Colorado, grew up in Chihuahua, Mexico and has lived in Stillwater for the past 3 years.


Prior to being hired in the Study Abroad/NSE office, Marissa served as the ITESM representative on campus and was in charge of leading short-term programs to Mexico and welcoming Monterrey Tec students for short and long-term programs at OSU. She enjoys spending time with friends and family and loves the friendliness and warmth Stillwater has to offer.


By: Cole Campbell

Where can you trek through the impressive Andes Mountains, experience thriving ancient cultures, canoe on the piranha-infested Amazon river, sand board down America’s highest sand dunes and surf on the beach with the biggest recorded wave in South America? Peru has every type of environmental ecosystem imaginable, making it a prime destination for any adventurist. When many people think of Peru, they immediately think of Machu Picchu, but visitors will be astonished to find out that the country has much more to offer.

One of the things that Peruvians are most proud to share with eager visitors is their gastronomy. Peru was named the world’s leading culinary travel destination by the World Travel Awards for the second year in a row. Locals’ and tourists’ both enjoy the classic dishes of ceviche (raw fish marinated in lime juice), anticuchos (beef hearts), and cuy (guinea pig), among more “traditional” choices as well. The capital city of Lima is home to more than 9 million people of a variety of ethnicity and races. Lima was founded in 1535 by the conquistador

Francisco Pizarro and is the home to the oldest university in all of the Americas, the University of San Marcos, founded in 1551. Lima hosted the 2014 United Nations Climate Change Conference this past December.

Students can take advantage of Oklahoma State’s reciprocal exchange partner in Lima at the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas and experience the country for themselves in a semester or year-long immersion program. Our affiliated partners offer opportunities to study at both Lima and Cusco, giving students many options to live the Peruvian dream.