Lauren Anderson from Scotland: Studying for Her Master’s in Health and Human Performance at McNeese State University

Lauren Anderson from Scotland: Studying for Her Master’s in Health and Human Performance at McNeese State University

Why did you decide to study in the USA?

My main influence in this decision was my partner, Finlay, who had moved to the USA to complete his undergraduate degree and run track. I always knew that I wanted to go abroad to complete my master’s and I decided on the USA because I felt it was the location that could offer me the most in terms culture, exploring new locations, bringing me closer to my partner and a different way of studying compared to what I had already experienced.

Why did you choose McNeese State University?

From the beginning, I knew I wanted to study somewhere in Louisiana as this is where my partner Finlay was, but I had my mind completely open when it came to the choice of University. There were a couple of universities that interested me but the main reason I chose McNeese State University was due to tuition fees, which was much more affordable for me that those of other, larger universities. As well as this, the staff that I was in touch with during the enquiry process at McNeese were very helpful and informative.

What do you like best?

My favorite thing about McNeese is that the staff and professors are very helpful and friendly, creating a relaxed environment.

What do you miss most?

The thing I miss most about home has to be my family … I also miss the beach and the hills because I come from the very North of Scotland and live on the coast, which is a big contrast to Louisiana where it is very, very flat!

What was your biggest surprise?

The whole process of how you take classes and go through your degree is very different in that you can choose when you take your classes and almost go through the degree at your own pace.

... your biggest disappointment?

My biggest disappointment about U.S. life was how difficult it is to get around without a car.

How have you handled:

... finances?

Whilst being here I have managed to handle my finances a lot better than I expected. This is primarily down to the fact that I managed to get a graduate assistant position on campus which allows me to work 18 hours per week. As well as being paid, this position waived my out of state fees making tuition much more affordable for me.

What are your activities?

I do love to find out as much as I can about local food and culture, so I like to attend events that allow me to get involved in this. Whilst being in the U.S. I have also used this as an opportunity to travel to other states as much as possible.

How easy or difficult was making friends?

I found making friends in the USA a little more difficult than I expected. Through my work, I have made great friends, as well as through being involved in sporting activities, but I would say the majority of these friends are also international students. Saying that, the friendships I have made are ones I expect to last a lifetime.

How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country? 

In the future, I hope to go into Health Promotion, which will involve working within the community or with the National Health Service. Coming to the U.S. has allowed me to see, firsthand, how different cultures live and behave which has really opened my eyes as to how I go about trying to promote health … I hope this will help me become more successful in my career.

What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?

Studying in the U.S. is a fantastic opportunity because it allows you to experience a totally different way of living and learning. Make sure you have researched different universities and courses to ensure you select the location and course that is best suited to you as enjoying your studies is a very important factor. There are many different scholarship opportunities out there so those are definitely worth exploring. Take the chance! Although it is a scary decision at times, you will have the time of your life exploring new places and meeting new people who will open many doors for you in the future.

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