Studying abroad: Seniors choose an international experience

Seniors Ellie Smith and Caroline Gugger are ready for an adventure

Senior flautist Ian Paulson

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Ellie Smith will study in Scotland at St. Andrews University

Caroline Gugger heads to McGill University in Canada.

While many high schoolers choose to graduate and move on to traditional forms of work and education, some choose to stray from the beaten path. Two of Shorewood’s very own graduating seniors this year have decided to travel outside the borders of the U.S. to receive their college educations. Ellie Smith and Caroline Gugger– among others– have decided to go to St. Andrews University, in Scotland, and McGill University, in Canada. 

Smith has always wanted to traverse the globe, visiting foreign countries and destinations. However, one destination in particular, Scotland, piqued her interest. Smith was dazzled by the intriguing history and the traditions of the Celtic when she visited it with her family as a child. Knowing that she wanted to experience living internationally, Smith realized that going to an international college was an option, and found St. Andrew’s University after talking to a friend who attended the school.

 “I grew up traveling outside the U.S… because of the experience, it didn’t seem too crazy,” Smith said. Going to college in Europe would provide Smith with an opportunity to travel and experience the world, something that she has always loved to do. In order to take advantage of her opportunity to travel across the globe for her education, Smith says she’ll have to get a student visa. “I’m not sure how that’ll work out with the pandemic though, but I think the school will help out,” she said.

In Scotland, universities are similar to technical colleges in the U.S. Smith has the opportunity to pick three central subjects to focus on, and then narrow down to one in particular to get her masters in– essentially a bachelor’s degree in the U.S. Smith hopes to focus mainly on psychology when she gets to St. Andrews, but she also wants to study history and philosophy, the former of which is part of what drew her to Scotland in the first place.

Caroline Gugger plans on attending McGill University in eastern Canada in the fall. The child of a Canadian immigrant, Gugger has dual-citizenship with the USA and Canada, meaning she has access to cheaper tuition in all Canadian public universities. Gugger hopes to study Biology and Environmental Science at Mcgill so that she can do Biological research. Gugger said she wanted to go Mcgill because it’s a bilingual city, “I found McGill and it was a bilingual city [Montreal]… I was considering doing a minor in french for a while… and it’s an International school so it has a lot of different mixing of cultures.” 

As they are in different countries, both Smith and Gugger have to deal with holiday breaks that are not quite the same as they were in the United States. Flight prices to and from Scotland are more expensive, so Smith plans only to return home for winter break and for three months in the summer, similar to U.S. universities. Gugger however, will have a slightly different schedule as she plans to come home for a Thanksgiving break that occurs at a different time in Canada than in the U.S. “Canada has an earlier thanksgiving than the U.S.,” Gugger says, “Thanksgiving is in mid-October but it actually makes more sense because it’s during the harvest season… I don’t know, the Canadians got it right.”

With their unique opportunities to study internationally, Gugger and Smith will represent Shorewood, learning in different environments that will kick off the beginning of their adult lives. Gugger says, “I think it will be interesting just because it’s different.”