Flynn in Scotland

UNBC’s international exchange programs offer students the opportunity to study abroad while paying domestic fees. For one student, Devon Flynn, the offer was good enough to sign up and ship out. While spending the semester in Scotland Devon will be writing about his experiences as an exchange student, what it means to go to school somewhere else and all that goes along with it. For now, let’s get to know Devon.

Who is Devon Flynn?
I’m a student, traveller, writer, and I’m working on my Scottish accent!

What are you doing?
The same thing as everyone else at UNBC, except 6575 km on the other side of the world. I’m attending university through an international exchange.

Which university are you attending? Where is it located?
I am attending the University of Dundee in Dundee, Scotland. It’s a city twice the size of Prince George on the northeast coast of Scotland.

How long will you be in Scotland?
I will be here for a semester, returning to UNBC for the winter semester. I was fortunate that Scotland and Canada’s semester line up fairly similarly.

Why did you want to go abroad to study?
I’ve always enjoyed travelling, having done volunteer programs like Katimavik and Canada World Youth. I think it’s important to gain outside perspectives in one’s knowledge rather than hearing the same rhetoric, which can get stale. I think it’s even more appropriate for my program, environmental planning, which values networking and building relationships. Plus, I love hanging out with international students. You see how much fun they tend to have? Now I get to be one!

What will you miss most about Canada?
Honestly, nothing jumps to mind right away. I’m sure something will trickle into my head eventually. I try to avoid that when travelling actually. I’d rather worry about what I’m experiencing HERE and NOW, rather than what I’m missing out on back home.

I hear you have a girlfriend in Prince George. What do you think the biggest challenge will be?
Communication. We talked about it a lot before I left, as you could imagine. We both agreed there would have to be an effort for communication. It would be naive to strive for something like talking every single night on Skype, but there has to be more commitment to it than needing to “catch up” sometime. Schedule a time and keep it. It shows you still value time with each other, even if you’re not there beside them.

What is the first thing you ate when you got there?
I was fortunate enough to immediately try the Forfar bridie, a Scottish meat pastry for which the town I’m staying in is famous for. It even came with chips and beans!

When do classes start?
They started last week for me, as the first week was the “Fresher’s Fayre,” sort of an orientation week. I’m taking two classes which equates to a full semester back home (yes!). However, they are expected to be a bit more difficult than your typical UNBC class. It’s been pretty easy so far though. I’ve even already been on a field trip!

What topic will you cover for the next issue?
I’d like to further discuss transitioning from school in one country to school in another. There are some similarities, some differences, but it really varies depending on the country. I will deliver the details on the Scottish university, among other things while studying abroad. Until the next issue of OTE, students will just have to chat up UNBC’s own Scottish exchange student, Kenny Leslie.

By Leila Maheiddinibonab