Hello! So as I have been reflecting on my experiences abroad, I thought I would post a blog to all of the future St. Andrews Study Abroad Students! A few of you have reached out to me and some other of my friends from St. Andrews. Here is a list of things that we wish we had known when we were studying abroad at St. Andrews. Hope this helps you!!
- Your advisor, Professor Margaret Connolly (who is incredibly sweet), is going to have a bunch of things that you all can use in your bedrooms that every HC Study Abroad group passes down. There are things like hangers, bed spreads, towels, desk/office supplies, hair dryers, curling irons, laundry detergent, etc. So when you meet her for the first time, she will have a bunch of these things! Don’t buy all of these things when you first arrive because they can get expensive and you can get them for free!
- When you are booking your flight, you need to figure out a plan to get from the airport to St. Andrews. We recommend booking a seat on a St. Andrews Shuttle. It is only £18 and drops you off right in front of your residence hall. Here’s the website: http://www.standrewsshuttle.com
- The term JYA means “Junior Year Abroad.” People who are here for the semester are “JSAs” (Junior Semester Abroad). You will define yourself as a “JYA.” So in context: “Oh no, I’m not a JSA, I am a JYA. Can’t wait to spend my whole year here!”
- You will have to do an ICIP (Independent Cultural Immersion Project), when you arrive. Basically, you have to find a way to immerse yourself in the St. Andrews culture. I personally recommend joining a society (a club) on campus. This helps you meet SO many students who go here regularly and they are so much fun. I’ve had some of my most rewarding experiences with students who go here and it was all thanks to me joining the Charities Campaign for my ICIP. There is a society fayre (club fair), at the beginning of the year where all of the clubs on campus have a booth. Definitely check it out-there are so many ways to get involved!
- There is a restaurant named Forgans that has a Ceilidh every Friday and Saturday night. A Ceilidh is a traditional Scottish dance and they are SO much fun. You learn the dance as you go. And they are really easy and you don’t have to be a good dancer. Go as early in the year as you can because they are a blast and a great way to meet people!
- Every Monday night at 8:00 pm in Barron Theater, an improv group called Blind Mirth performs. They are all students and they are absolutely hilarious. And the shows are free! Get there early to get a good seat. This is a must do!
- You will go to a bunch of cafes in town. You need to go to the Old Union Cafe (which is right near Sally’s Quad). The food is soooo good and it is also really cheap. And the ladies who work there are lovely (we all became regulars. Ask them about the girls who always ate the chocolate cake).
- You will probably get frustrated at least once with the way the University works at the beginning of the year (especially for class registration). Just know that you are doing the best you can and that things here are slower and sometimes take longer. You will get used to it and grow to like it.
- There is an incredibly beautiful park/walking path in St. Andrews called Lade Braes (that I blogged about before). Some people don’t even know it exists but its huge and so nice to walk through. Great for a nice run on a sunny day!
- Join the Study Abroad Society. They do a bunch of trips around Fife and Scotland and you get to meet other students who are studying abroad.
- There is a travel agent called AskClair4Travel who offers really cheap trips to London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Belfast. She also has really cheap airport shuttles if you need.
- USE public transportation. The bus system is great. If you want to go to Edinburgh or Glasgow, the cheapest way to go is to take a bus. Show your student ID and you get a discount. The train is also nice but you have to take a bus or taxi to get to it because it is 15 minutes outside of town. The taxi ride plus the train ticket is way more money than the bus ticket. The bus station is right in town.
- Go to the Edinburgh Christmas Markets in December during Revision. And get nutella crepes!
- Participate in all of the St. Andrews University traditions such as Raisin Weekend, the May Dip, etc!
- There are a bunch of balls in St. Andrews, so bring some fancy dresses or suits! The balls are so much fun and a lot of the time the money raised goes to a great cause. Some great (and cheap) balls include the Dance Society ball and Big Top Ball! And another tip: a ball more than £25 is expensive and you can go to cheaper ones.
- Holy Cross Study Abroad gives you $200 in activities fees. Make sure you use this money to join societies! If your society you join is free, use that money for a gym membership. There are a ton of really fun fitness classes as well as access to the gym for free! It was so worth it (Make sure you do Zumba classes with Neha!)
Let me know if you have any questions about St. Andrews next year! Get ready for an amazing experience. Can’t wait to tell you all about my experiences this summer, but that’s next blog 🙂