Stirling is the ancient capital of Scotland, laying at the heart of the nation’s history and linked to two of its best-known heroes, William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. Occupying a strategic position in the cultural heartland of Scotland, it is surrounded by glorious countryside and yet under an hour away from both Edinburgh and Glasgow. The cobblestoned streets of the Old Town wind upwards towards the Castle, set on a craggy outcrop 250 feet above the surrounding landscape. The Wallace Monument overlooks some of the most important battle sites in Scottish history, but the city itself buzzes with a lively, cosmopolitan and student-friendly vibe, a mix of history and modern. Stirling is one of the U.K.’s most attractive places to live and offers a full menu of performing arts, nightlife and shopping combined with the community feel of a smaller city.
Students who choose to take a gap year in Stirling will study abroad and take courses at the University of Stirling. The University of Stirling’s campus is set in 310 acres of stunning woodland and landscaped parkland around the shores of a loch on the grounds of Airthrey Castle. One of the most scenic campuses in Europe, the castle itself houses the university’s School of Law. There are approximately 11,500 students at the university, representing over 90 nationalities. The University of Stirling has an excellent reputation for research and teaching and was named “Scottish University of the Year” for 2009/10. One of the safest campuses in the U.K., Stirling is also Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, and they have some of the finest sporting facilities in the U.K., including a golf course and 50-meter swimming pool. The campus is self-contained with housing, classes, a major sports center, computer labs, library, restaurants, travel agent, pharmacy, supermarket, coffee bars, and even an arts center with a theater and cinema, yet it is only 2 miles from the center of Stirling with easy and frequent transportation links.
“No one warned me about falling in love with Scotland. :) This experience has been so much more than anything I could have imagined. Thank you for offering this program!"