Yesterday I had the “opportunity” to participate as a moderator in an international student chat for prospective students for the physiotherapy program at my university. This meant sitting online for 2 hours in a chat room waiting to answer any burning questions the students had.
The burning questions? With answers, I might add.
- What’s the deal with accommodation? There is some–on and off campus.
- Is it smarter to live in on-campus housing or off-campus housing? Start on campus for your first semester, then head off if you like.
- Is off-campus housing easy to find? Ridiculously easy if you’re patient.
- What is the course like? Hard to answer this in a short quip, but it’s a lot of learning in class and independently, and applying it practically. Lectures are hard to come by.
- What are the placements like? The best part of the whole course! And we get 6!
- Why did you choose the course? It’s accredited in the US. It’s in Europe. They let me in.
- Would you recommend getting a part-time job? Not right away. Figure out how you handle the work load first. I recommend waiting until after your first placement.
- What is there to do in Aberdeen? Scotland? A beach, an amusement park, lots of pubs, lots of shops, lots of castles, lots of distilleries, lots of hills. Inverness and Edinburgh are the nearest of the other substantial towns.
- What is the climate like in Aberdeen? Fall and winter are windy and cloudy with some rain. Snow comes every now and then, but not often. Spring and summer vary, but there are excellent sunny and still days and some rainy and windy days. Moral of the story? You’ll learn to love layers.
- Can we set up a bank account when we get there? Yes, although it will take a while. Not all banks will take on international customers, but all you have to do is ask.
- What are the cell phone plans like? Generally cheaper than the US and Canada, although Pay-as-you-Go is the popular method of maintaining cell service over here.
- Is Aberdeen a safe place to live? Yes. But like any city, there are good parts and bad parts, and some shady things go on after dark, so walk with a buddy.
- Is there, like, a McDonald’s? Where do you think Aberdeen is? The Middle East? Actually, come to think of it, they probably have a few. I know Aberdeen’s cold, but this isn’t Siberia. We have modern establishments.
- Is there sun? Nah, we got rid of it a couple years ago. Seriously, all it takes is one look at wikipedia to figure out the climate in Aberdeen. And for the record, Aberdeen is actually one of the sunniest cities in Scotland.
- Are there movie theaters? Nah, we don’t really like to entertain ourselves ever. Yes, there are a few.
- Is there a mall? Ok, to be fair, this isn’t that stupid of a question, but just google Aberdeen. This is an oil town. As in, most of the residents here are relatively well off and like to spend money, like, at malls.
- Is there something like a WalMart? First of all, who choses WalMart to ask about? At least ask about Target. It’s much more civilized. 😉 Oh, come to think of it, the person who asked about McDonald’s asked about WalMart. I am offically terrified of someone I’ve seen on peopleofwalmart.com showing up at uni in January. By the way, yes, we have ASDA, it’s owned by WalMart.
- Is there a place to get a new cell phone? Nah, they just appear out of the blue. Yes, there are a few options–O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Vodafone, 3, and other all-encompassing stores.
- Can you swim at the Aberdeen beach? Seriously, you’ve decided to come to this school without even google-mapping Aberdeen? This would be a big, fat negatory, Big Ben.
- What do you do on the days you don’t have class? Um, study, just like you would at home… What? Do you think we do ritual animal sacrifices on our days off?
For the most part, I felt like I was stuck in the middle of one of those AOL teen chat rooms. But, if the prospective students found it helpful, then good for them.
How do you handle stupid questions? Or are you one of those people who believes there is no such thing as a stupid question?