Student experience of the BA International Honours Programme

Samantha Lister
Thursday 16 March 2017

The best way to prepare yourself for your experience on the BA International (Honours) programme is to find out as much as you can about this unique opportunity. By reading profiles written by current students and recent graduates, you can gain a real sense of what your experience may be like from people who have been there and done it all.

A day in the life of a BA (International Honours) student at St Andrews

7.45 – Wake up and get dressed for the day. Don’t forget to put on a heavy sweater as it can get quite chilly with the wind blowing off of the North Sea!

8.30 – Meet your friends in the dining room for hall breakfast. Perhaps you will have a piece of toast, eggs and some juice.

9.30 – Grab your bag and head into town for your first class of the day. The lecture is in Buchanan so you will have to walk along North Street, seeing a nice view of the Cathedral ruins as you go.

10.00 – Modern History lecture in Buchanan Lecture Theatre

11.00 – You head to the library for a bit of studying before returning to halls for lunch. Maybe there will be a bake sale in front of the library and you can buy a biscuit for a study snack.

12.30 – Returning to hall, you meet your friends down in the dining room for lunch.

14.00 – You have a tutorial on the Scores. As you walk there, West Sands comes into view and you can see people running along the beach and others along the Scores.

15.00 – After the tutorial, you and a friend head to Costa for coffee and a bit of studying.

16.30 – You arrive at the gym just before the rush. You have your choice of machines to use.

18.00 – Hall dinner has started and you meet some friends in the dining room.

18.45 – You have another tutorial tomorrow and two lectures. It is time to get some of that reading done and if possible to start researching for your paper due in a few weeks.

22.30 – Time for bed. You have an early tutorial tomorrow and need to get some sleep

Photo of BA Int Hons student Arielle Galston

‌‌Arielle, International Relations, BA (International Honours), Class of 2016. 

Arielle, from Richmond, Virginia, served as the Social Chair of the WaMStA Student Partnership at St Andrews.  She was also one of the BA (International Honours) interns with the Collaborations and Study Abroad Office in St Andrews in 2014-2015.

Being a tourist in your town

‘If you’re anything like me, you might at first be surprised by the lack of a campus at St Andrews. Instead, the University is weaved throughout the town’s cobblestone streets to blur the lines between town and gown so you can feel a part of both. As such, no tour of St Andrews is complete without a few stops at its most iconic locations that may or may not be a part of the University.

Start the day by re-enacting the iconic scene from ‘Chariots of Fire’ on West Sands. In addition to a workout, you’ll get to enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of St Andrews and end up on the Old Course, which is the reason why St Andrews is referred to as the ‘home of golf’. The Old Course is closed for golf on Sundays which makes it a great day to stroll about the course and take that picture you’ve been dreaming of on the Swilcan Bridge.

Then head up North Street until you reach St Salvator’s Quad (Sallies Quad). Not only is Sallies the most iconic part of the University, but either you or your friends are bound to have a lecture or tutorial there so it is good to find it early––just be sure to avoid the “PH” at its entrance. You’ll surely recognize Sallies from all of the Raisin pictures you’ve stalked online but you might notice that it looks a bit different not covered in foam. Sallies is also home to St Salvator’s Chapel from which people leave on Sunday mornings to partake in the St Andrews tradition of a pier walk.

Once you’ve managed to pull yourself away from the beauty of the Quad, head to Northpoint for lunch which is famously the cafe in which the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge supposedly had their first date. More than that, it is full of great food and great coffee. Right by Northpoint is St Andrews Cathedral. Explore its ruins and pick out the graves of famous golfers, philosophers, and more. Making the trip up St Rule’s Tower will also give you the greatest view of St Andrews there is. Any time spent at the cathedral must be followed by an impromptu pier walk. The wind might make it so your hair will never again be the same, but the prospects of a new profile picture more than make up for that. If you then head down The Scores, you’ll pass the ruins of the castle in St Andrews which you can tour for free if wearing your red gown. The coolest part of the castle is what you can’t see from the outside––make sure to travel through the tunnel below the castle that was integral in a battle during the Reformation.

There are plenty more things to do and see in St Andrews but this page is only so long. I’ll let you find the rest of St Andrews’ not-so-hidden gems on your own.’

Photo of BA Int Hons student Meredith Lerner

Meredith, International Relations, BA (International Honours), Class of 2016.

Meredith, from Rockville, Maryland, served as the international administrator of the WaMStA Student Partnership at St Andrews. She was also one of the BA (International Honours) interns with the Collaborations and Study Abroad Office in St Andrews.


‘Although BA (International Honours) students are fully St Andrews and William & Mary students, there is something unique about being a BA (International Honours) student that only the other students in the programme will understand. I would really encourage you to reach out to fellow students especially on more difficult days. They understand your struggles and your triumphs and can offer good advice that will ease the transition into each university.

Getting involved in a society or club is a great tool to help ease the transition from one institution to the other and helps students meet new friends. St Andrews and William & Mary each offer a variety of opportunities including sports clubs, newspapers, fashion shows, drama, debate and faith societies so there is really something for everyone. Orientation at William & Mary and Freshers Week at St Andrews are also great opportunities to meet new people. I met many of my best friends at St Andrews during Freshers Week.

It is important to realize that transition is difficult, but that you have all the tools you need to be successful at your disposal. In addition to taking advantage of the social opportunities at each university, make sure that you understand the different academic environments at each institution and ask your tutors and professors about what they specifically look for in successful essays and assignments.’

Abigail, History, BA (International Honours), Class of 2015

Explore Scotland

‘The thing to remember about St Andrews is that the town is small, but the opportunities are endless. Because the university is there, the town itself feels very alive and youthful. In hosting a staggering amount of local culture, history, and golf prestige, St Andrews feels the opposite of stagnant.

If you get tired of the three streets of St Andrews which offer far more social and cultural opportunities than you could ever expect, Scotland itself is home to far more incredible sights than you could possibly see in two years––and that’s leaving out the rest of the UK and Europe, which are more accessible during your time there than they probably ever will be. I made a couple excursions to the Highlands, and my favourite by far was the week I spent backpacking on the Isle of Skye. The views and scenery were breath-taking, and the whole island carried with it a beautifully eerie sense of isolation.’

Robert, History, BA (International Honours), Class of 2015

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