UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the administrative structure at Dalkeith House?
A: The administrative team will be comprised of a Resident Director of Operations, a Resident Director of the Academic Program, and an Assistant Director. Following is the contact information for each member of the administrative team:

Patricia (Patty) Watters, Resident Director of Operations
E-mail: patty.watters@googlemail.commail
Office Phone: 011-44-131-663-5632
Cell Phone: 011-44-789-113-9856

John Minniear, Resident Director of the Academic Program (through December 2014)
E-mail: minniear@uwosh.edumail
Office Phone: 011-44-131-663-5632
Cell Phone: 011-44-789-074-3179

Assistant Director
E-mail: dalkeithhouse@uwrf.edumail
Office Phone: 011-44-789-671-8552

EMERGENCY MOBILE: (answered 24/7): 011-44-7896718549

Find out more about each member of the administrative team

Q: What will my address and telephone number be in Scotland?
A:  Wisconsin in Scotland Program
      Dalkeith House
      Dalkeith, Midlothian
      EH22 2NA Scotland

      STUDENT/PAY PHONES:
      011-44-131-660-4065   

      DALKEITH HOUSE OFFICE: 011-44-131-663-5632

      REMINDER: There is a 6 -hour time difference. (9 p.m. in the U.S. is 3 a.m. in Dalkeith!)

Q: What documents should I have to facilitate going through customs?

A: You will need your passport and your Student Visitor Letter for the UK Border Agency from the WIS Administrative Office. (However, if you are doing an internship, you will need to obtain an Adult Student Tier-4 Visalink prior to your departure.) Your Student Visitor Letter for the UK Border Agency will be included in a packet of information which will be sent to your permanent address before your departure. It is recommended that you make a copy of your passport and place the copy in a different location than where you have your original passport. The copy will expedite the process if you should misplace your original and need to obtain another. Students should bring financial documents, such as copies of loan agreements, bank statements, and credit card statements to help facilitate going through immigration/customs (to use as evidence of a student's ability to meet living costs).

Q: Who are the other students in the WIS program this session?

A: We will include a list of students participating in the same session and the campus where they registered for the WIS program in the packet of information you will receive prior to your departure.

Q: What form of transportation is provided from the Edinburgh Airport to Dalkeith House?

A: As students all come in on different flights, you will make your own way from the airport to Dalkeith House. Directions to the house can be found here

Q: Will I have to work in the House while in Dalkeith?

A: Yes, all WIS participants are required to contribute approximately four hours per week. All students will provide assistance in the kitchen (prepping food, cleaning, dishes, etc.) and cleaning the house (vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, mopping, taking out trash, etc.). You will receive details regarding work assignments from the Resident Director of Operations during orientation week. The work responsibility policy can be found in the Student Handbook online.

Q: Is there a damage deposit?

A: Yes, there is a combined damage and cooperative work deposit required in the amount of $100. You should pay this deposit in the Office of International Education/Programs on the campus where you registered for the WIS program before you leave for Scotland. Any unused amount will be refunded when you return to the U.S. The Resident Director of Operations will review the House rules with you. You can review the House Rules, Residential Services Contract and Work Responsibility policies in the Student Handbook online.

Q: Will I need to stop at my home campus before I leave for Scotland?

A: There is no requirement that you stop at your home campus before leaving for Scotland. However, be sure you take care of Financial Aid forms before you go!

Q: Did I get all the classes I wanted?

A: Every attempt is made to accommodate students' first choices, however no guarantees can be made. (Note: If you did not receive one of your first choices and you need the class to graduate, please speak to the instructor upon your arrival at Dalkeith House.) Your individual class schedule will be included in the packet of information you receive from the WIS Administrative Office prior to your departure. If you need to register for your classes at your home campus prior to your departure, it is extremely important that you register for the classes listed on the schedule in your packet. Your individual class schedule will be sent to the campus where you registered for the WIS program.

Q: What is the add/drop procedure for courses in the WIS program?

A: You will have an opportunity to change your schedule at Dalkeith House. The Resident Director of the Academic Program (semesters) or the Resident Director of Operations (summer) will handle this process.

Q: Where do our textbooks come from?

A: Students are required to obtain (purchase, rent, borrow, etc.) the necessary textbooks for the U.S. course offerings they will be taking. It will be the student's responsibility to bring the textbooks with them and/or obtain them prior to the first day of classes. Required textbook information can be found by clicking on "Courses" section on the left side of this website's homepage. Textbooks for British course offerings will be available for use at Dalkeith House. (There may also be additional expenses for special courses such as art, photography, field trips, etc.)

Q: What library facilities will be available?

A: There is a very limited number of books at Dalkeith House. Library work can be done at Dalkeith Library and the Central Library of Edinburgh; both allow students to check books out. The National Library allows books to be used on the premises only. Please check with the Resident Director of Operations regarding what arrangements have been made to use The University of Edinburgh library. Academic resources are also available on the Internet.

Q: What should I pack?

A: Pack light! A large rucksack is practically indispensable for travel and it can be used as one piece of luggage. Waterproof outer wear is essential. Bring clothing that can be layered; Dalkeith House can be drafty at times. Indoor swimming pools are in the area, so a swimsuit would be appropriate. Bring some lightweight clothes, if you plan to visit Greece, Spain, etc. Good walking shoes/boots are a priority, especially for females since they are harder to purchase there. 

The atmosphere at Dalkeith House is quite relaxed. There are occasional "dressy" affairs, but only one or two "dress" outfits are needed. Females may want to bring one or two skirts/dresses or nice slacks and flats (some mix and match items), since the Scottish women dress up on weekends (more upscale casual). Males may want to bring a jacket and a tie or two. 

Many students recommend slippers for walking around the house. In addition, bathrobes and shower shoes are nice when walking to and from the community bathrooms. 

In terms of electronic items, we ask that  you do not bring equipment with American voltage, however, laptops/i-pods/cameras are fine and usually have a voltage transformer/converter built into the power cord. You will need a plug adapter so that your plug fits into the wall. Plug adapters must be grounded, have a 13 volt fuse, and have the CE mark on the unit. Approved adapters will be available for purchase at the House for a nominal fee upon arrival. You will not be allowed to use adapters that do not comply with these guidelines. With so many people using their US laptops in an electrical system built for a UK electronics, it is very important that good quality, fused adapters are used. If you require a hairdryer, hair straightener, or curling iron, there are several at the house that can be checked out for use during the semester, or you can purchase them in the UK. No, no matter what type of converter you purchase from the US, it will not hold up and it will end up blowing fuses (or worse), thus American appliances other than laptops/i-pods/cameras cannot be used in the house. 

You will be assigned a small cube locker for your use during the term. You will need to supply your own lock. A standard padlock or key lock fits the locker. Small luggage locks will not fit the locker.

View the full Student Packing List

Q: Should I bring blankets, sheets, pillows, towels, etc.?

A: Bed linens will be provided for you (duvet (comforter), duvet cover, pillow, pillowcase, fitted sheet, mattress protector) along with 2 towels for you to use during the term. You will need to care for (wash) and return these at the end of the term in reasonable condition.

Q: What transportation is available in Dalkeith and Edinburgh?

A: Bus and taxi. The bus ride is the least costly and usually takes about 30 minutes to go into Edinburgh. You will be issued a bus pass you can use throughout your session. Transportation by train and plane are also available from Edinburgh.

Q: Is it possible to stay at Dalkeith House after the end of the semester?

A: Yes, you may stay at Dalkeith House for £20 per person per night room charge providing this does not conflict with other programming. Please consult with the Resident Director of Operations at Dalkeith House regarding your plans. A charge of £20 per person per night includes bed, sheets, and towel (no washcloth). Payment must be paid in pounds sterling or in sterling traveler’s checks and is to be made upon arrival. A self-serve breakfast is also included when program food service is in operation.

Q: What meals are served in the meal plan?

A: Breakfast items will be available seven days each week on a self-serve system, with the exception of scheduled holiday/break periods. 

Lunch/Dinner: During summer session, lunch will be served Monday through Thursday. 

During the full semester programs, eight meals (lunch/dinner) will be served Monday through Thursday, with the exception of scheduled holidays/break periods. 

Limited kitchen facilities are available and there is a small area for individual food storage. No personal meal preparation will be allowed during times when group meals are being offered.

Q: If personal belongings are shipped ahead, how should they be addressed?
A: Address them to:
     Your Name (Note the session you are attending - Summer, Fall or Spring)
     Wisconsin in Scotland Program
     Dalkeith House
     Dalkeith Midlothian
     Scotland EH22 2NA

Note: Students have experienced problems receiving packages from home that were shipped via UPS. There is a new policy that customs must require information from the individual if they have any suspicions. Packages that come through the postal service have been delivered with no problems.

Q: What type of clock should I bring with me?

A: A travel alarm would be best; do not bring an electric one!

Q: How accessible are e-mail and the Internet?

A. The entire main floor of the house has wireless internet accessibility.  There are two desktop computers available in the Computer Lab that also have internet access. 

Q: Will my cell phone work in Scotland?  If not, how should I communicate with home?

A. In the past, some students have chosen to set up an international calling plan with their cell phone provider, however, a more economical option is to utilize the mobile phone provided to you as part of your program fee.  You will be issued a basic pay-as-you-go mobile phone for use during the program. It will work in both the UK and mainland Europe.  You will be responsible for setting it up and adding credit to the phone. One great thing about the phone is that all incoming calls are free, so your family and friends will be able to call you directly. There are pay as you go plans that would be fine for your needs. It is your decision what you would like in terms of a plan. Don't worry, once you arrive you'll get a sheet explaining your options and how to get set-up. Your number will be assigned by the phone company when you set it up during your orientation weekend.  Please be aware that if friends and family plan to call you from their US mobile phones, it is likely that they will have to call their cell phone companies to set up an international calling plan.

International prepaid calling cards purchased in the U.S. do not work on the phones in Dalkeith House. While AT&T calling cards work well, most students find it easiest to purchase British Telecom (BT) phone cards from the local establishments. The BT phone cards have a very good rate and are easily purchased. However, keep in mind that the BT cards DO NOT work in countries other than Great Britain.

Q: How much money can I expect to spend?

A: As usual, this depends on your lifestyle! Previous participants have spent an average of anywhere from $1,000 to $3,500 on personal spending while abroad.  It is important to know your budget and be mindful of this.  There are many low-cost options for traveling Europe.  Students can stay in hostels, cook their own meals and take advantage of student concession rates on attractions and entertainment.  

Additional trips and activities are offered by staff each term. The trips are planned with your budget in mind, however, additional costs may apply for the optional trips and activities. Examples include, Highland tours, weekend trips to London, and excursions to local attractions. Many options are available, but you will need to take your own budget into consideration.

Q: Should I buy a rail pass before my departure to Scotland?

A: You should do some research. Unless you have definite travel plans, former students recommend that you not purchase a rail pass before you go. You can consult local travel agencies in and around Dalkeith for potential travel deals.

Q: Will I be assigned a "host family" while in Scotland?

A: Because all students enrolled for the semester are required to live at and attend classes in Dalkeith House, a very significant and rewarding component of the WIS program is the host family program. Past students have found that an opportunity to get to know a local family enhances their understanding of the Scottish host culture. While each host family is unique and does different things with their students, participants do not live with the family but are often invited for meals, occasional outings to local points of interest or other family activities that allows interaction with individuals outside the program. Lifelong friendships between students and host families often develop. The host family program is only offered during the fall and spring semesters. If a student has indicated on their "Admitted Student Information Form" that they want to participate in the host family program, every attempt will be made to assign one to them. (Note: If you have questions regarding the host family program, please contact your Study Abroad Coordinator before making a final decision. If you check “no” and then later decide you would like a host family, you may not be given one.)

Q: Are health clubs available in Scotland?

A: There are health clubs in Edinburgh and surrounding communities; there are none in Dalkeith. However, there is an exercise room in the basement of the palace with free weights. Weather permitting the trails are a great place to run or walk on.

Q: How close is the nearest golf course? Is there much time for golfing?

A: The nearest course is one-half mile away from Dalkeith House. With respect to time for golfing, this is a very personal item and depends upon your course load, your study habits, and the weather.

Golf clubs can be checked out for use from Dalkeith House.

Q: What kind of debit/credit cards can I use abroad?

A: The best advice is to bring a debit card (preferably VISA) from an account that will be kept supplied with money. Several banks in Dalkeith do not charge an extra fee for extracting money from ATM's with a debit card and they give the best exchange rate. Past students agree that the debit card is the easiest, fastest and best money saving form of receiving money in Britain. If your debit card doesn't work, you'll want another option. MasterCard and VISA are widely accepted; American Express is not. Credit purchases sometimes offer the best available rates of exchange.

Before your departure, it is important that you notify your credit card company that you will be out of the country, and provide them with specific dates.  If you fail to notify your credit card company, they may put a hold on your account.

Q: What amount of funds should I bring in travelers checks?

A: It can provide peace of mind to bring some funds in travelers checks (about $200) in case of an emergency or if your debit/credit cards are lost or stolen. Students often get charged a cashing fee and, with a low exchange rate, the amount received is substantially less than expected.

Q: Where can I exchange cash?
A: All airports have an Exchange Bureau which is a convenient place to make a small exchange. However, you should be aware that Exchange Bureau's often offer poor exchange rate and charge service fees.  Past students have recommended debit/credit cards for most purchases as these reflect the most favorable exchange rates.

Q: What is the exchange rate?

A: The exchange ratelink changes almost daily.

Q: How many gifts can I bring back?

A: The duty-free personal exemption is $800.

Q:  Can dependents accompany me in the Wisconsin in Scotland program?

A:  In light of the Wisconsin in Scotland program requirement that all participants reside in Dalkeith House, the program is unable to accommodate the needs of students with dependents.  Any student who wishes to participate in an education abroad experience with dependents should review the following document for questions to consider when selecting an appropriate experience.

Q:  Can I participate in the Wisconsin in Scotland program if my GPA does not meet the minimum 2.25 requirement?

A:  the Wisconsin in Scotland program is first and foremost an academic program.  As such, students are required to display a level of academic preparedness indicative of an ability to be successful as a student abroad.  The WIS program is aware that, for a variety of reasons, student's GPA may fail to meet the 2.25 requirement while not necessarily indicating an inability to be successful as a student.  If a student does not meet this minimum and still wishes to participate they will need to display a commitment to, and potential for, academic success by providing the WIS program with the following additional application materials:

  • Additional recommendation: Submit an additional recommendation form, completed by a University faculty member or academic advisor attesting directly to the student's low GPA and preparedness for an education abroad experience.
  • Student explanation:  Provide an explanation of why their GPA fails to meet the minimum requirement and how they plan to be successful as a student in Scotland.
  • Proof of GPA improvement:  Demonstrate that they are in good academic standing (2.00 cumulative GPA) by the end of the academic term immediately preceding their experience in Scotland.

Q:  Can I participate in the Wisconsin in Scotland program more than once?

A:  With advance notice, it is possible for students to participate in back-to-back terms of the Wisconsin in Scotland program.  Students participating in this type of experience will be required to obtain a Tier IV UK student visa.

If a student wishes to participate in the program a second time, but not back-to-back semesters, priority will be given to applicants who have not had a previous experience with the program.  If space is available after all first-time applicants have been accepted, returning applicants will be allowed to participate barring any previous record of disciplinary action while participating in the WIS program.  If a student has a previously disciplinary record with the program, their participation will be granted solely at the discretion of the WIS administrative team.  Returning participants are highly encouraged to participate in an internship or independent study program to deepen their experience and engagement with the local culture.