Francesca Bergmann, from Bremen in northern Germany, started studying at Lews Castle College UHI in September 2019. Although she only planned to stay for one term as part of an ERASMUS exchange programme from the University of Oldenburg, she enjoyed herself so much that she ended up extending her studies for another term. Here, Francesca – who also chose to remain and study in Stornoway during lockdown – shares what drew her to Lews Castle College.

What made you want to study at Lews Castle College UHI?

That’s easy! I came for the shopping, the weather and the nightlife! No really, I always wanted to spend some time abroad, so I went to this ERASMUS-presentation at my university at home and they showed pictures of all partner universities and colleges they’re cooperating with. When I saw the Lews Castle I just immediately knew I wanted to go there.

Why did you choose to study Sustainable Development here?

I started this course in September ‘19 over here in Stornoway, back home I began my studies in October ‘18. I’m doing Sustainable Development here now because it’s close to Environmental Sciences, which is what I was doing back home. What I enjoy most about it is the range of topics that are being covered, I get a good insight in many interesting and important themes we never even touched back in Germany. On top of that I get to decide which topic I’d like to learn even more about when we’re given a choice of topics for our assignments, this concept was completely new to me and I love it!

What made you want to stay for an extra term?

I very much enjoy the mode of studying, it’s very different from Oldenburg. I am in direct contact with my lecturers, they know who I am and if I have questions or a problem with one of the assignments I can just go and ask. That’s unheard of where I come from! You can tell that the lecturers here really want you to learn and understand, it’s a very nice atmosphere for learning.

What has living in Stornoway been like so far?

To be honest the weather took a bit of getting used to, but other than that I enjoy the small-town charm of this place and how friendly and helpful people are around here. I felt welcome immediately! It’s also a nice thing to stay at the student accommodation, that just made it really easy to meet new friends. And another thing I really wasn’t aware of before I came here is how beautiful this wee island is. Amazing beaches, rough shores and the forest in the Castle Grounds have really surprised me.

Since I got here I joined the gym, started learning Gaelic (because languages are sort of a hobby of mine), joined the SYRFC Ladies (because I always wanted to try rugby but sadly it doesn’t really exist in Germany), and I even started rowing when a friend asked me if I wanted to come along and try. It’s amazing how many things you can do here! 

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To find out more about studying at Lews Castle College UHI, you can read the 2020-21 prospectus at this link: https://www.lews.uhi.ac.uk/t4-media/one-web/lews/study-at-lcc/prospectus/prospectus-lcc-web.pdf

For more information on the Sustainable Development course Francesca enjoyed so much, visit the course homepage here: https://www.lews.uhi.ac.uk/courses/bsc-hons-sustainable-development/