Cultural Adjustment, Living Abroad, University Abroad

Discovering Self, Discovering Scotland: Studying Broadly

January 8, 2017

Panorama view of the Fairy Glen on the Isle of Skye 2016, Photograph by Tanashati Anderson



The exchange program with the University of Dundee and SFSU is new, and at the time of writing, I believe only two students from SFSU have gone to Scotland to study. So this part (two of three) of the series aims to give insight to how the classes are structured, and provide lists of resources for Literature students at UoD to help them best prepare and maximize on their journey ahead.

Selecting classes

You’ll choose classes that you’re interested in taking while still at SFSU and get them signed off by an advisor. These classes should be more than you actually plan to take as you might not be able to enroll in your first, or third choice. The reason being is that:

1. UoD will list classes that may or may not end up being offered (this happened to me when a class was only offered the semester I was not going to be in attendance but not stated on the website)

2. Exchange students enroll in their classes once have arrived in Scotland and are going through orientation. This date is much later than when home students sign up, and so some classes may be full.

a bunch of 1963 mini-leather bound Shakespeare plays at Edinburgh Books 2016, Photograph by Tanashati Anderson

1963 mini-leather bound Shakespeare plays at Edinburgh Books

The typical load for a junior or senior (called level 3 and 4 in the UoD system respectively) are two classes per semester for a total of 60 SCOTCATS.Each 30 unit class will transfer back as eight units in the SFSU system. While I believe it is usual to take three classes per semester when during your first and second years.

Now you may be thinking, “this is going to be a breeze, only two classes” but the workload might prove you wrong. In the  African Novel class taught by Prof. Nicole Devarenne  (which I highly recommend) we read one novel for each week of the semester. There are no breaks during the eleven-week semester but in the English department there is no exam, and you spend your time writing final papers without any classes to attend.

Coming from SFSU, you may want to take advantage of Dundee’s unique specialization in graphic novel and comic studies! View undergraduate classes here (note classes are called modules in Scotland).

A character (Dennis the Menace and Gnasher, maybe?) from the DC Thompson comic Beano published in Dundee

A character (Dennis the Menace and Gnasher, maybe?) from the DC Thompson comic Beano published in Dundee 2016, Photograph by Tanashati Anderson

Beyond coursework

There are so many ways to enrich your experience while abroad and I wish that I had known about some of these resources while I was studying.

If you’re a literature student wishing to further your education in humanities one invaluable thing you could take up while at Dundee is getting involved in the humanities research process. While you get on with a faculty member right away or are helping a graduate student in the archives, gaining research experience as a student of Literature can help you stand out for graduate school applications, fellowship opportunities and most importantly help you figure out where your interest lie. Check out the follow links and reach out to staff early on to express your interest and ask if there’s a place for you to assist with any work being done.


Centre of Scottish Culture

Arts and Humanities Research Institute


And if you want to be sure to have access to Scotland during it most literary time, be sure you plan your time abroad, so you’re there in the Fall. Most of the literary events happen then, and you may be able to attend inspiring talks and meet writer’s you’ve just studied!

Dundee Literary Festival

Top 10 Scottish Literary Festival

River Tay and Tay rail bridge in Dundee

River Tay and Tay rail bridge in Dundee 2016, Photograph by Tanashati Anderson

Lastly, don’t forget to have fun! A big part of being abroad is gaining perspective of different cultures, and the is often accomplish through everyday living. Take yoga classes at Heart Space, enjoy the on-campus club that rages every Tuesday (or not), or join one or two of the 100 student clubs (called societies) UoD offers. Whatever are suits your fancy, get involved and been a part of your new community!





If you have any further questions about life and studies in Dundee, don’t hesitate to email me at




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