Study abroad: Sylas Swank


Submitted photo

Senior mechanical engineering major Sylas Swank poses in front of an old castle during his time in Dublin, Ireland.

I was fortunate enough to study abroad in Dublin, Ireland the spring semester of 2017. While I was abroad, I visited 15 countries in the five months of being in Europe. One of my favorite adventures happened when I went to Scotland. I went with two women from my program, and we had a plan to rent a car and road trip as much as we could. I was the oldest and had some experience in driving a manual, so I rented the car. However, I somehow managed to lose my wallet (that had over £100 I had just taken out for the trip) at the Dublin airport. When our plane landed, I immediately went to the lost and found desk and called the Dublin airport. Sadly, nobody had seen my wallet. I told myself not to let this ruin my trip, so we went to a pub and brainstormed where we wanted to go. Luckily, someone turned my wallet in with everything in it the next day.

I didn’t know a whole lot about Scotland other than that is where Braveheart was filmed and Nessy lives in Loch Ness. So, the only two requests I made was seeing Loch Ness and Stirling Castle. The girls gave their input on what they wanted to see so we mapped it out and booked hostels accordingly.

Driving on the left side of the road wasn’t really difficult yet. I still experienced some fun, authentic Scotland driving when we got to the Highlands. In the Highlands, the roads were all one lane with spots to pull off to let the oncoming driver pass. These one lane roads were easily the most winding roads I have ever been on. To top it off, I had to stop for sheep and goats in the middle of the road a half a dozen times. Overall, I ended up driving for 20 hours, which was just about 850 miles, but it definitely was not long enough. Scotland was the most beautiful country I have been to and I cannot wait to go back again for a much longer amount of time. I am so thankful for my study abroad experience and recommend it to everyone.

You can contact the Education Abroad office for more information by emailing [email protected] or calling 608-342-1726. Check out more of Sy’s adventures at