Jesia Choity ’27  |  Published October 25, 2023

Studying Abroad at Monmouth

Exchange student from Northern Ireland has felt welcomed at his college away from home.

DYLAN COPLAND: In Northern Ireland, the junior exchange student attends North-West Regional Colle... DYLAN COPLAND: In Northern Ireland, the junior exchange student attends North-West Regional College, where his major is media.MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth College has been a good choice for Northern Ireland’s Dylan Copland.

A 21-year-old junior studying business, Copland is part of the British Council’s Study USA exchange program. He’s come to America from North-West Regional College in Northern Ireland, where his major is media.

“Last year, I walked past someone advertising the program I’m on right now,” he said. “They were advertising, and I was sort of asking about it to see what it was about. At the end of the year, I decided to apply for it, and finally I was accepted.”

On the list of colleges Copland could choose, Monmouth piqued his interest.


A welcoming campus

“Monmouth was not my first pick, actually,” he said. “My first pick was the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. But community-wise, Monmouth was very different. For Monmouth though, because of where it’s placed rurally, and also because the town itself only has 9,000 people, it’s a lot more interconnected and a lot more united. People help each other a lot more and are friendlier.”

“Because the town itself only has 9,000 people, it’s a lot more interconnected and a lot more united. People help each other a lot more and are friendlier.” Dylan Copland


Copland had never before lived anywhere other than his own country, and he said he found it difficult to adjust at first. But after two months of living in the U.S., meeting more people and gaining more experience, he said he is happy with his new environment. Monmouth’s welcoming attitude has been a major factor.

“Honestly, it’s very different from what I have back home, but it comes and goes with time and right now I am very content with where I am,” said Copland.


Different faiths, different cultures

Copland said he learns something new every day about the diverse culture of Monmouth, which is very different from his hometown.

“Back home in Northern Ireland, there’s this whole thing of Protestant vs. Catholic – two sides that have very different lifestyles and different views,” he said. “Over here, it’s a lot more integrated. There’s a lot more people of different faiths, which is something very nice to see. Also back in Northern Ireland, it’s primarily white, whereas here there’s a lot more people of color. I like to see the diversity of populations.’’

DESTINATION U.S.A.: Dylan Copland is pictured prior to leaving Northern Ireland. The exchange stu... DESTINATION U.S.A.: Dylan Copland is pictured prior to leaving Northern Ireland. The exchange student will be on campus for the 2023-24 academic year.There are also many types of ethnic food available, but Copland is hoping to find some Irish cuisine, a craving he’s yet to satisfy.

Meanwhile, he’ll keep enjoying new activities, including a recent slice of Americana he enjoyed with members of Monmouth’s Zeta Beta Tau fraternity.

“As for my favorite activity, I would say going to the Quad Cities for a baseball game was pretty fun,” he said. “Getting to experience American sports culture and atmosphere showed how big a difference there is between home and here.”

“Most media employees are self-employed. They bounce around their freelancing, so you have to know how to take care of yourself financially. Business helps with that and that’s what I am learning here.” Dylan Copland


In the classroom, Copland believes having a good sense of business is important regardless of the field a student ultimately pursues.

“Most media employees are self-employed,” he said. “They bounce around their freelancing, so you have to know how to take care of yourself financially. Business helps with that and that’s what I am learning here.”

Copland is also involved with Monmouth College’s radio station, WPFS-FM, and he participated in World College Radio Day on Oct. 6.

All in all, Copland is glad he broke out of his comfort zone and journeyed to America. But next time, having his own car would be nice.

“I’d say first and foremost, manage your expectations of what you’re coming into,” he replied when asked what he’d say to others who are considering studying abroad. “I know it’s sort of case-by-case of which college you would get into, but if you know that you are going to a rural area like Monmouth, look around and see what’s available and sort of measure your expectations of that. I knew it was going to be rural, but I didn’t know to what extent, and that’s taken a lot of getting used to – the fact that I can’t get anywhere without a car,” and the lack of public transportation.

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