CSA Intern Introduction: My experience with BA International Honours

Monday 7 September 2020

Who am I? 

My name is Catie Brown and I am serving as a Collaborations and Study Abroad (CSA) intern for the BA International Honours programme. I am in my third year of studies after completing my first year at the College of William & Mary in Virginia and my second year at the University of St. Andrews.  I am originally from North Carolina, but I spent most of my upbringing in London, England as well as Washington D.C. 

My First Time Exploring the Old Course

What the CSA Intern does: 

The CSA intern’s most important role is to serve as a liaison between the students in the BA International Honours cohort and the global office. Some projects that I will be working on this academic year include, but are not limited to, organizing social events, distributing information to study abroad students, keeping the blog updated with testimonials and information, and providing peer support such as a buddy scheme. I can be reached at [email protected].  

Why I chose the BA International Honours Programme:

Having grown up on both sides of the Atlantic, I was eager in my university search to find somewhere that would let me study abroad no matter what. The dual degree programme with the University of St. Andrews and the College of William & Mary was the perfect fit for me. The programme allows you to truly settle into your study abroad experience without having to enter and exit an exciting adventure too quickly. Additionally, I consider my character to be someone that never really sits still. I knew that this programme would give me the daily excitement in my life getting to know and adapt to two universities, two university towns, and even two countries. 

My favorite parts about the programme: 

Like Dorothy says, “There’s no place like home,” which perfectly describes the magical aspects of the programme. You are able to feel at home at both universities and maintain friendships as close as family members across the world. It may seem difficult to leave old friends behind and face the daunting task of making new ones, but I view it as double the opportunities to build lifelong relationships. Similarly, I adore exploring all the hidden gems of both university towns. Colonial Williamsburg has rustic charm surrounded by lush greenery, and St. Andrews has a historic elegance along a breathtaking seashore. While both towns are so different, they both have their quiet and relaxing moments along with their lively days when the towns are filled with visitors. When I am away from either town for too long, I long for the feel of home. 

What challenged me about the programme: 

Unsurprisingly, one of my least favourite things about the transition was the change in weather. Williamsburg Virginia welcomes its first years with temperatures around 36C, while St Andrews settles around 14C. Additionally, the winters bring moonlight around 4:00 pm. I thought that I was prepared to live independently in the winter where it seemed to be always pitch black and freezing outside; however, I began to get quickly homesick and out of a routine. Additionally, it was difficult to adapt to the different academic environments between the schools. William & Mary offers a more hands-on approach, and St. Andrews encourages a more self-taught education. For each of these challenges, I was able to overcome them with the help of my fellow BA International Honours students. The global partnership keeps the students bonded between the schools, and I consider it to be a close-knit family. 

My First Pier Walk with other Dual Degree students

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