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From Campus to Castle: How My Time at SPU Has Led Me to a Master’s Program in Scotland

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SPU chapter.

During your senior year of college, and basically every other year of college, you will constantly be asked what your plans are for graduation. I gave the usual “I will find a job” response for a while. As an Economics and Applied Math major, I was set on becoming a data analyst. When my senior year started approaching, I vastly changed my plans and I now get some pretty funny reactions to my post-graduate plans. This Fall, after graduating from SPU, I will be moving to Scotland to obtain my master’s degree. The typical responses I get are a mix of shock and the common question – “Why Scotland?” I truly do not think that if I had not attended SPU I would be setting out on this journey. Here is how SPU has led me to pursue a master’s degree in Scotland.  

I started at SPU during the COVID-19 pandemic. I was thankful to be close to home during this time, but it did start the itch to branch out a little more. I knew I wanted to study abroad in college, but being one of those students who changed their major a couple of times, this became challenging to fit into my schedule. Thankfully, SPU has a unique study abroad program where faculty lead shorter trips that are about three weeks during school breaks. There were a few different offerings, so I decided to sign up to go to New Zealand with SPU during winter break. I chose this trip because even though it was in another country, the activities included in the trip were a little more in my comfort zone. Unfortunately, the trip was canceled. The study abroad department asked me if I would switch to the Morocco trip that was happening at the same time. I was a little wary as this trip was very much outside of my comfort zone, but I decided to go for it. After completing this trip, I must say it completely changed my life for the better. I lived with an amazing host family, went camping in the Sahara Desert, and traveled all around Morocco. One of the most important things I learned from this professor and my time in Morocco is how much you can learn about the world by listening to others and exploring other countries. 

After coming back to the U.S., I felt that I had changed. I wanted to travel and learn so much more than before. I was also in a class at the time called Economics for Development. This class opened my eyes to some of the issues underdeveloped countries experience while also pointing out the flaws in the U.S. that we do not often hear about. This class sparked my desire to use my career to help people in some way. It no longer felt fitting that after I graduated from college I would immediately go into the workforce. I started looking into ways to move abroad and found how difficult this can be. Many of the articles mentioned that the easiest way to move abroad is to start with a master’s degree in another country. I learned of two SPU professors who had completed graduate programs at schools in Scotland. Their raving reviews solidified my plans to apply. There was nothing to lose by applying. So, I started looking around Europe and the United Kingdom for programs I found interesting. In the meantime, during the summer before my senior year, I participated in SPU’s faculty-led program in Paris. This trip was much different in structure compared to Morocco since it was more like we were living in the city. We had class in the mornings on Monday through Friday, but other than that we were able to explore the city. It is still crazy to me how quickly I became comfortable and felt at home in Paris. There was a part of me that was worried about moving to another country, but this trip assured me that I was making the right decision. 

When researching schools, there were two that stuck out to me in Scotland. I have never been to Scotland, but I always found the pictures to be beautiful. When I first saw photos of Scotland I thought it would be amazing to live there or at least visit, so I figured this was the best time to try. Both schools had the programs that I wanted, they were each one year, they did not require the GRE to apply, and they each had housing (which was a huge bonus). The schools opened their applications in September, so I applied right away. I ended up getting into both, and since these were my top choices I did not apply anywhere else. After careful consideration, I decided to attend the University of Edinburgh in Scotland to pursue a Master’s in Data and Artificial Intelligence Ethics. This is a very niche program, so you may wonder why I chose this. During a Business Ethics class I took at SPU, I became more aware of the harm that data and AI can cause to various populations. I still want to pursue a career in data analytics, but I realized I did not want to be an analyst that is adding to the harm. Technology advancements are amazing, but I want to use them for ethical and sustainable solutions. Therefore, this program felt most fitting for where I wanted to go career-wise and personally. 

Without my study abroad programs, classes including Business Ethics and Economics for Development, and the faculty members who were part of my journey at SPU, I cannot say that my post-graduation plans would be the same. I am beyond thankful for my time at SPU and the professors and friends I have met along the way. Although I will miss my time at SPU, I am excited for the adventures to come starting with my move to Edinburgh!

Hello! I am a student at Seattle Pacific University majoring in Economics and Applied Math. I am originally from Olympia, Washington. I love to read, write, and hang out with my dogs.