Samantha Garner, a senior criminal justice sciences major from Watseka, spent the fall semester studying abroad at Glasgow Caledonian University in Glasgow, Scotland. Garner had been at a point where she wasn’t quite sure what was next for her. She started looking into studying abroad and decided that the experience would give her the opportunity to see the world from a different perspective and to learn about other cultures. She chose Scotland not only because it had a program suited toward her major but also because of the country’s beauty.
While attending the Glasgow Caledonian University, she took classes such as Globalization and Crime, Theories of Crime and Punishment, and Sociology of Deviance. In Sociology of Deviance, her favorite class, she learned about the history of deviant behavior and how people from other cultures view deviant behavior differently. She also learned about how sociology and criminology are connected, different theories of deviance, and how the media plays a role in the construction of deviance.
Garner said the classes in Scotland had a different structure than most classes at Illinois State. There were no tests or quizzes; only two writing assignments due at the end of the semester. Even the writing assignment questions were different: Instead of being asked questions with specific answers, the questions were vague and could have a number of different answers.
In addition to visiting cities in Scotland such as Edinburgh, Inverness, and Loch Ness, Garner was able to travel to London, England. She also had opportunities to visit a number of places outside of the United Kingdom, including Dublin, Ireland; Paris, France; and Venice, Italy. However, her favorite place was Ghajnsielem, Malta, which is an island off the coast of Italy. She was able to see the island’s stunning scenery, such as the Blue Lagoon, and she enjoyed meeting the Maltese people and experiencing their culture.
Garner considers her study abroad experience to be truly life-changing. Not only was she able to experience different cultures and meet students from all over the world, but she was determined to open herself up to other new experiences as well. For example, she tends to be a picky eater, but while she was abroad she tried all kinds of new foods. Since returning, she continues to try new things and stay open to new experiences.
Garner is currently completing her internship and will graduate in May.