BA (International Honours) intern

The 2017-2018 intern is Julia Mills. The BA (International Honours) Intern has an important role to play in the CSA office and will be in touch with you during your time at St Andrews via email and through our Facebook group. You are also welcome to contact them by email or by writing to them on Facebook.

“My name is Julia, and I am the current intern for the BA (International Honours) Programme. I am a Fourth Year student in English.

For the past two years, I have been studying at the College of William & Mary. Through participating in the Programme, I have had the opportunity to live in two culturally different cities and gain a new world perspective. I also attend two of the oldest universities in their respective countries.

My first year abroad, I lived in Scotland around the time of the first Referendum, tackled cooking my first Thanksgiving dinner abroad and even got to travel around the UK. In fact, I visited landmarks that inspired some of the most famous English poets.

At William & Mary, I experienced some of the time-honoured traditions including tossing sprigs of holly in the fire for good luck during the annual Yule Log ceremony, cheering in the stands during a football game (Go Tribe!) and even participating in an archaeological survey in Matoaka Woods where old American Indian grounds can still be found. Some of my fondest memories include just sitting on the Terrace with friends.

Studying abroad can be a bit intimidating at first, but it also ends up being one of the most rewarding experiences. I really look forward to encouraging students to take the leap and study abroad!”

Samantha Ku’s Study Abroad experience at St Andrews

Hello! My name is Samantha Ku and I am a fourth year political science major at the University of California, Irvine. During the 2016-2017 academic year, I studied abroad at the University of St Andrews in Scotland where I read international relations with an emphasis on international security.

My year at St Andrews was one of surprises. It was a formative year, academically and personally. Looking back, I can fully appreciate all of my experiences, positive or negative. I made amazing friends and experienced the quirkiest traditions within those three little streets that comprised of my home. Scotland is my favourite country in the world and being able to explore it, in all its seasons, from the crisp cold winter to the balmy (and rainy!) summer has been absolutely spectacular.

Keeping a daily photo-journal this past year as improved my photography a lot so let me take you on a little photo journey of my favourite memories of Scotland and my year abroad at the University of St Andrews. View Samantha’s photo journey.

Photo competition for visiting students

The Collaborations and Study Abroad Office invites entries to our photo contest for our visiting exchange and study abroad students.

This is your chance to share your experiences of studying in St Andrews and, if your submission is judged to capture best the theme outlined below, you could have the chance of winning some study abroad prizes. In addition, all photos submitted (winners and non-winners) may be used for publicity purposes in publications and on our webpages, giving you a fantastic opportunity to have your photos viewed by a worldwide audience!‌

Who can enter the competition?

All non-graduating students from universities outside the UK who have studied at the University of St Andrews in academic year 2016-2017 as either an exchange student or as a study abroad student.

Theme

‘My learning experience’ – we are looking for fun and creative photographs which portray your study abroad experience in St Andrews. Your photographs could be of a St Andrews location or event (University or town, inside or outside) that cleverly links to your learning at our institution. Be creative – even a selfie might fit the bill!

Please note that you should not take photographs during lectures, classes or labs.

Rules of entry

  • You must be an undergraduate student who has studied at the University of St Andrews in academic year of 2016-2017. You should be either an exchange or study abroad student.
  • By entering the contest, you give Collaborations and Study Abroad permission to use your photographs for publicity purposes, in publications and on our webpages.
  • Photographs must be original and should be appropriate for use by the University in marketing activities.
  • It is preferable if photographs are in a resolution of 300 dpi/1MB or higher.
  • Please avoid taking close-up photos of children (under 16) in any indoor or outdoor setting.
  • Photographs of individuals (over 16) and groups of adults are acceptable, but if take a close up shot, you must let the subject know that the photo may be used for publicity purposes, including the internet.
  • A maximum of five photographs may be submitted per student.
  • Photographs must be submitted as detailed below and by the published deadline.

Deadline

The deadline for submission of photographs is Monday 28 November at 5pm.

Judging

Entries will be judged by the CSA Photo Competition Committee and the winners will be announced shortly after the deadline.

How to enter

  1. Decide on which five photographs you would like to enter into the competition.
  2. Give your photographs a title and add your name to the title.
  3. Complete the photograph release form as indicated and remember to give us a brief description of your photograph and how it links to the theme. (You do not have to sign the form; returning it to us by email will indicate that you are happy for us to use your photographs and profile.)
  4. Send your photographs and the photograph release form to our study abroad intern (csaintern@st-andrews.ac.uk) by the deadline.

Things to remember

  • Complete the photograph release form.
  • Creative titles may help an entry to stand out, but please keep them short.
  • Include your name in the title of the photograph (e.g. J. Bloggs Broadening of Horizons).
  • Give a brief description of your photograph and how it relates to the theme listed above.
  • Please identify anyone pictured in the photo and make sure you have their permission.
  • If you would like to write a brief profile about your exchange or study abroad experience in St Andrews, then we would be delighted to receive this – please send it in with the photograph release form.

We look forward to seeing creativity and originality in your photographs. Good luck!

Student photo competition – previous winners

Samantha, University of California Irvine, USA

Samantha has written a fantstic blog about her time at St Andrews.

Evan, Columbia University, USA

‘My year at St Andrews was one of the most positive experiences of my life. Living in halls was a chance to integrate seamlessly into the community. I took all my modules in the School of Classics, and a turreted stone building overlooking the North Sea was an ideal place to read about the ancient world. The balls were certainly the social highlight of the year, but so was simply spending time with friends at a pub or wandering on Lade Braes.

Looking back on my experience, I have become nostalgic. St Andrews is truly the perfect place to go to university. The students are both talented and unpretentious, the faculty are qualified yet accessible, and the institution itself is very prestigious. I am writing this in my home university’s library while wearing my St Andrews jumper. I spend a fair bit of time wishing I could return to Fife, but at the least Fife has not yet left me.’

Elizabeth, Emory University, USA

‘On a walk at 15:45, the winter sun was already setting and the most breathtaking sunset I’ve ever seen provided fabulous backlighting on the Old Course (hotel and golf course).  I thought that it appropriately marked the end of a single day on this historic course.’

Laura, Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy

‘Bonfires on the beach, people gathered around them, waiting for the dawn and for running into the North Sea. Students from around the world have been ready to say: “I was there”. A breath-taking setting!’

Jessi, Smith College, USA

‌’The green manicured grass outside of St Andrews Castle contrasts with the wild sky and ocean surrounding it, a striking reminder of the staying power of St Andrews. The castle seems to stand tall and blue sky peaks out from the clouds, hinting at a sunny afternoon to come.’

Ivy, Bryn Mawr College, USA

‘The infamous trek back to David Russell Apartments from class has its rewards, including spectacular sunsets!’

Rebecca, Queen’s University, Canada

‘The sunset on the West Sands will be one of the things I carry home with me from this place. It is an unbelievable experience to walk where so many of our forebears have gone before. Moreover, it is truly a communal space, where the students, residents and tourists of St Andrews can all intermingle freely. I know I can claim it today, and tomorrow the letters will sink back into the sand to give someone else the same opportunity. It belongs to all of us and that is why it is my favourite 600th Anniversary experience.’

Dan, Cornell University, USA

“The Faster You Run The Warmer It Gets!” This photograph won the ‘My St Andrews Experience’ Photo Competition, May 2012.

‘My study abroad experience was nothing short of incredible. I made new friends from all across the world, experienced an excitingly different academic model, and travelled throughout Scotland, the UK, and Europe. St Andrews is truly a special place, and I’m jealous of all the incoming JSA’s who have a full semester to look forward to. This photo is of my friends taking the first plunge during sunrise at the May Dip. It also defines the essence of my abroad experience. St Andrews is a place steeped in natural beauty and tradition, both of which come together during the Dip. The photo shows the chaos, excitement, and community of not only that icy morning, but also of the University as a whole. And this is what I’ve come to love about the school.’

Michael, Kenyon College, USA

“Humbled Ants”. This photograph won the Visiting Students Photo Competition (Outside St Andrews), May 2012

‘This photo was taken at the foothills of the ‘Old Man of Storr’ on the Isle of Skye. This was one of the most breath-taking sites I have visited in Scotland.

Stephanie, James Cook University, Australia

‘Living only a five minute walk from the beach, every study break could be used for a nice, relaxing walk along the edge of the North Sea, really perfect! This made the sometimes scary experience of studying abroad a lot easier.’

Bryant, Baylor University, USA

‘The School of Philosophy at St Andrews holds a weekend reading party away from St Andrews several times a year. This photo is of Philosophy Honours students walking up Mount Keen during the Reading Party.’

Lindsey, Ripon College, USA

‘Often when I needed a break from homework and classes, I would head to the East Sands for a stroll along the beach. One midday, as I passed the harbour, I came across this little Robin.’

Bizu, College of William & Mary, USA

‘I took this photo of St Andrews while on a walk with other study abroad students. It was a beautiful day and I felt like I was finally at home in St Andrews. It was nice to see the town from far away and look at it like home.’

Heather, High Point University, USA

‘St Andrews has shaped me into an independent, pursuer of dreams. My study abroad experience is one I will never forget where I met many friends, delved into the rich academic experience with an open mind and explored on many excursions. The professors are knowledgeable and open-minded; allowing each student to go beyond the ideas presented in readings and lectures. As a study abroad student, I remind myself each day, how blessed I am to be at the University of St Andrews, where I can simply finish lectures and take the scenic route to the library, a small coffee shop, or head back to the David Russell Apartments. As I walk, I hear the bird’s song, as one may know after taking the Honours Melanesian Anthropology course. Birds, the clashing waves from the North Sea, and the sound of golf balls hit once the golfer takes his or her swing and makes contact with the ball, are just some of the very pleasing sounds when walking around St Andrews. I am walking over the famous Swilken Bridge on the Old Course, St Andrews, in this photo.’

Bianca, Bard College, USA

‘I came to St Andrews excited about all the endless possibilities I could make out of my study abroad experience. I wanted to try out all that I could. I set a list of goals for myself ranging from attending my first ball to trying haggis. Petting a highland cow though was my greatest wish. I had passed a number of them before but they were always far out in the fields. My days left in Scotland were disappearing quickly and I began to think of it as a dream. But then I finally had the opportunity to meet my first highland cow at Glamis Castle! Like all things this year, the moral of this story is that everything is achievable at St Andrews if you let yourself dream!’

Caitlin, Saint Joseph’s University, USA

‘Coming to St Andrews has been an enlightening, hilarious, fun, difficult and almost unreal experience. For my entire life I have lived in the city and gone to city schools, so coming to St Andrews was a good shock! When I arrived at my hall of residence I only knew one person there. With so many friendly faces and open arms, that soon changed. It is impossible to walk through town without knowing at least one familiar face. In this picturesque town your imagination runs wild and opportunities are endless. I have never been more challenged or more rewarded. This photograph was taken on Raisen Weekend after the foam fight in Sallies Quad.’

Marie, Science Po, France

‘This photo was taken on the Sunday at the end of Freshers’ Week; many students first attended the church service and many more came to the Pier Walk, which – thanks to the particularly sunny weather – was the best way to end this first intense week but also to begin the new academic year.’

Marina, Arizona State University, USA

‘Coming from a university of 75,000 students to a university with three streets, St Andrews was a complete 180° change. I was instantly welcomed into my hall of residence and became instant friends with the mix of Freshers and fellow study abroad students. I transitioned easily into the new life and enjoyed all the traditions of St Andrews. I would not take this year back for anything; it has been full of memories of a lifetime and hopefully friendships as well. This photo is of some of my crazy new friends who decided to try the North Sea in November!’

Amanda, Washington College, USA

‘I captured this moment during one of my first weeks in St Andrews while exploring the town and the campus. I love the lighting that the setting sun provides and the beauty it casts on St Mary’s Quad and the School of Psychology. This photograph is a perfect example of the beauty and charm of St Andrews. I have never studied or lived in a place as beautiful as it is here.’

Andrew, Western University, Canada

‘On a day trip walking along the Fife Coastal Trail, I turned back at dusk and witnessed the town of St Andrews faintly glowing as the sun set in the west. Above, a plane soared into the gloaming. Between light and darkness, medieval and modern, movement and stillness, I had the momentary vista of a sublimely individual locale.’

Abbye, Whitman College, USA

‘On a geological field trip (I was studying Earth Sciences at St Andrews) our class took a ferry to the Island of Mull. This photograph shows an outlook over the ocean depicting our geological field mapping area. The Mull granite which characterizes the geology of the area can be seen streaked along the coast.’

Katharine, University of Vermont, USA

‘Almost every day this semester, I’ve gone to St Andrews harbour down by the East Sands beach. I’ve always loved the ocean and I live so far away from the ocean in the States, so it’s always a treat to get to spend more time by the ocean. My family and I go to Maine each summer and ‘creels’ like these always remind me of the lobster traps we see there.’

Emma, Smith College, USA

‘I cannot begin to explain what my time in St Andrews has meant. My life has been changed because of the life I have lived here and the people I have met. I am happy with the person I have become here. This photo was taken on St Patrick’s Day and depicts a day of perfect weather with my dearest friends. We are in the most beautiful part of the world.’

Sara, Sciences Po, France

‘This was taken on my first day in St Andrews, and I was really amazed by the red gowns. I was wearing a red coat too and I blended in with the St Andrews atmosphere. One of my best first memories in this town.’

Monica, Bucknell University, USA

‘My fondest memories of St Andrews are from the trips with the Mountaineering Club exploring Scotland. While I enjoyed my days in St Andrews getting lost on my way to the library, and ending up down near the pier procrastinating, my best experiences were out in the country. Instead of joining as many societies and clubs as possible I split my time between academics and the Mountaineering Club. With trips every weekend and socials every week, I never had a dull moment. The weekend trips allowed me to get out of St Andrews and really explore Scotland. One of the reasons I chose to study abroad in Scotland was to see more of the country. This semester I not only made it to the top of four ‘Munros’, but I also learned how to lead climb (not only with sport in a gym, but also leading my first single-pitch trad route, and seconding a 4-pitch route). For me, this semester was not so much about putting the study in study abroad, but taking full advantage of opportunities I would not have again any time soon.

This is the Lagangarbh Hut with Buachaille Etive Mor in the background (Glen Coe).’

Melissa, Washington College, USA

‘Coming to St Andrews, I did not know what to expect. I knew Scotland would be a beautiful place, but I was scared as I had never been to Europe or the United Kingdom prior to this journey. At the beginning, I was unsure, but after about a week here I fell in love. I have met amazing study abroad friends from different universities that will be friends for a lifetime. I have become best friends with my flatmates that are from London and other parts of England. I have never felt so cultured in my life and this is coming to a place where everyone said, “it’s just like America.” Scotland and specifically St Andrews have been unreal. I have walked on golf courses, went to the beach, and seen some of the most beautiful architecture in the world. I have also gained knowledge of local pubs and student life outside of the United States, something I thought I would never grow to understand. Overall, I have made a connection over here that I did not know I could. I have found a family, a home and a place that I definitely want to return to as soon as possible. This entire experience has made me feel like a new person and I would not trade it for the world.

This photograph is of Loch Ness with my new friends.’

Jasmin, James Cook University, Australia

Trying Scottish Treats! Deep Fried Mars Bar

‘Eating a fried ‘Mars’ bar for the first time in my life and being surprised about how delicious it tastes!’

Hannah, Wellesley College, USA

‘The most succinct way to describe my experience at St Andrews is “Magical”. This photo reflects my typical mood since I’ve been here! I just love going to the beach – regardless of the weather!’

Nhung, Mount Holyoke College, USA

‘My friends, fellow St Andrews students, were leisurely strolling in the sunshine, down the cobbled streets away from the hectic life of Market Street.’

Stephanie, Smith College, USA

‘Castle Cliff House, home to the School of English where I took most of my classes. It overlooks the old St Andrews Castle hence the name.’

Brian, Point Loma Nazarene University, USA

‘The traditional red gown of the University. This was taken while wondering around St Andrews with some friends.’

Horace, University of Virginia, USA

‘My time here at St Andrews has been incredible. Even though St Andrews is a small city every inch of it has some story to tell. And the ruins add a certain medieval charm to this town that is both eerie and cool. Socially this university is never boring. Whether it’s bopping in the Union on Fridays, getting squished in the Lizard, or taking trips to the Highlands there is always something to do here. But what really made my time here so much more rewarding were the numerous traditions that I had the chance to partake in this semester. As an Exchange student it is easy to see how these traditions foster a sense of community among everyone in the university, especially May Dip – this photograph is of the dawn on May 1st. (Crazy on so many levels.) This has definitely been one of the best semesters I’ve had. And I am blessed to have had this opportunity and to have met everyone that I did. I will miss you St Andrews.’

Mary, Belmont University, USA

I was on the rocks next to the West Sands beach watching the sunset, and I turned around and realized that the moon had an audience as well!

Sarah, University of Richmond, USA

This photo won the ‘My St Andrews Experience’ competition (first semester 2011-12)

Sarah was strolling in the grounds of St Andrews Cathedral and took this photograph of some student ambassadors.

Wenjia, University of Renmin, China

This photo was runner-up in the ‘My St Andrews Experience’ competition (first semester 2011-12)

Wenjia walked past the West Sands beach each day on her way to class.

I came to Scotland with curiosity and a little bit of fear. At first, I did not understand what people were saying and I felt gloomy. However, everyone around me was there to cheer me up and give me support – my Professor, the Collaborations & Study Abroad office, and the Warden of my residence. I participated in many events. I have Academic Parents and had a dramatic foam fight on Raisin Monday; I celebrated Halloween in the Sealife Aquarium; and I voted in the election for the new Rector. So many fantastic experiences that I would never have if I hadn’t been in St Andrews.

Rachel, Ohio University, USA

This photo is taken from the end of St Andrews pier during my first week in Scotland. I’ve spent afternoons since eating and meeting and strolling the East Sands. The St Andrews beaches occupied much of my time.

Tiziana, Università degli studi di Verona, Italy

A view from my window in Andrew Melville Hall. Every day there’s something different: a different light, different colours. This shows one day of autumn in St Andrews.

Chelsea, Mount Holyoke College, USA

This semester has been such a whirlwind of emotions and experiences. I had always wanted to study abroad somewhere in the UK and St Andrews has so many traditions that really attracted me. Also, who could resist this town? St Andrews has been a wonderful fit for me. I have made a few friends that I hope I will keep for years to come and had experiences that I will never forget. I have taken courses in biology and become involved in Dance Soc and the Celtic Society, since I am a double major in biology and dance back at my home institution, Mount Holyoke College. I got to travel around Scotland and even spent some time in Italy. I feel so blessed to be given the opportunity to be here, even if just for a semester.

Ida, Copenhagen University, Denmark

Being an exchange student here has given me an insight into what it is like being a student in a little, beautiful, Scottish town with an ambitious academic profile, but also with great student solidarity. As the group of students in the picture symbolises, you do not walk the academic road alone. In St Andrews I have met a lot of like-minded students and made friends with students from so many different cultures.

Ashley, University of San Francisco, USA

This photo won the Visiting Students Photo Competition (Inside St Andrews) 2011.

Students running into the sea at dawn for the May Dip, a beautiful yet toe-numbing tradition that I am glad to have been a part of during my time in St Andrews.

Emily, Whitman College, USA

This photo won the Visiting Students Photo Competition (Outside St Andrews) 2011.

I came to St Andrews to study geosciences and enrolled in a field methods class that took me all over Scotland to look at the geology. Out of my 4 months abroad about a month of it was spent on field trips to various places, so my experience in St Andrews is really more of an experience in Scotland. Traipsing around mapping areas in fairly remote locations has exposed me to some of the most beautiful scenery Scotland has to offer. This photograph is of the view of Loch Broom from Ullapool Harbour after a long day of geologic mapping in the area.

Christine, Colgate University, USA

A Dundee-registered boat, piles of lobster cages (‘creels’), a view of a row of boats lining the street and fishermen in the background.

Manon, University of Strasbourg, France

Enjoying the Scottish landscape!

Michelle, College of the Holy Cross, USA

A friend from home made a joke and said “when you get stick of seeing cows and grass write to me”, which although fun, her comment could not be further from the truth. The grass and cows are the negligible things I will miss about St Andrews and this country. I will miss the friendships I have made and the great times I have spent here—experience that I never could have had in any town in the United States nor elsewhere. St Andrews is truly unique.

Averi, Wellesley College, USA

Over the course of the semester, I gathered the greatest group of friends. We became incredibly close, doing nearly everything together. And even though we’d only known each other for a few months, we were sure that we were making memories that would span a lifetime. When the “Highland Games” came around, we decided to put together a team to help our Residence, New Hall(renamed Agnes Blackadder Hall 2012), to victory—with myself and a couple others cheering the rest of the girls on. We had the best time making a complete riot of ourselves, cheering and competing together. It was incredibly good fun.

Andrew, College of William & Mary, USA

There are few opportunities as prized as a student of history to be able to study such a focused period as early Medieval Britain. Far rarer is the opportunity to visit some of the ancient places that one has studied about, and incorporate that visit into one’s coursework. I was able to do all of those over spring break, with my visit to the isle of Iona, one of the earliest sites of Christianity in Scotland. The isle was stunning and remarkably quiet, with the current Abbey, ruins and intricate rock formations. I knew much of the history of the early uses of the isle and knew which places on it I wanted to visit, including the later medieval abbey, the prehistoric fort (Dún Bhuirg), and the Bay of the Coracle. The picture here depicts the sunset over Iona.

Alisa, Wesleyan University, USA

As a Geoscience major, I took a Field Methods module this semester which consisted of joining most of the St Andrews geoscience field trips. I got to spend a week of Spring Break in Spain and I have also been able to explore the better part of Scotland with daytrips to several locations on the eastern coast, two days in the Southern Uplands, a week on the Isle of Mull in western Scotland and finally a week near Ullapool in the Northwest Highlands. In addition to this allowing me to see much of the different landscapes of Scotland, it has also meant that I have spent a lot of time with, and made good friends with, the fifteen Scottish and English third-year Geoscience students. I have also greatly enjoyed the town of St Andrews itself, often bringing a lunch in to town and picnicking on Castle Sands. It’s really the little things that have helped make my semester special: Arbroath Smokies from the farmer’s market, daffodils and other springtime treats on Lade Brae’s walk, Geology Society cheese and wines, and the weather that is somehow much better than the Northeast US. And of course, one can’t forget shaking Prince William’s hand!

Marjorie, University of Nice, France

This picture represents to me a whole day spent in a bus from St Andrews to Oban, five hours waiting in Glasgow’s bus station, a ferry missed and problems of finding where I could spend the night, 17km walking along a huge lake with no end, tiredness, feet-pain and discouragement. But, when I reached this beach on Calgary Bay (Isle of Mull), when I saw its white sand and turquoise water, I just forgot all the difficulties and thought, my eyes riveted on the horizon, “it’s been well worthwhile”! And this is the word of my year in St Andrews “worthwhile”. No matter what happens, the positive aspects are so numerous that when I think of my year abroad, I just smile and think I will never regret it.

Martin, Emory University, USA

This photo was taken at a Castle “Ceilidh”, one of the many great St. Andrew’s traditions. Ceilidhs provide an opportunity to meet up with all your friends for some quick-paced festivities. And who wouldn’t want the excuse to dress up in a kilt and dance around with a fresh breeze between the knees? The clapping hands convey the hustling, bustling, whirling, twirling sense of energy that is a ceilidh.

Jordan, Baylor University, USA

This street (North Street) has become so familiar to me that I know when I come back to visit years later that I will be able to walk it with my eyes closed, or perhaps in a fog even thicker than the one captured here. This occasional fog that blankets the city is absolutely mystical. The tops of buildings fade into the clouds and the ocean blends into the horizon of the sky. It’s quite beautiful when the sun begins to melt it away and the day turns sunny and bright again.

Savannah, Skidmore College, USA

This photo was taken as I was wandering around the coastal path and waiting for my English lecture in Castle House to begin. It was the first beautiful day in St Andrews, back in February when I arrived, and I found it to be the perfect opportunity to snap some photos before class.

Theis, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Pier jumping is one of those wonderful St Andrews traditions, and they should be performed year-round. This student is captured as he came out of the water in early May.

Katrina, Ripon College, USA

Across the country and ocean and into the land of tartan, haggis, and Highland Cows, I have been studying and adventuring for four months in the lovely coastal town of St Andrews. Although I haven’t learned to play golf or the bagpipes, this semester has been an absolutely marvellous learning experience. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has really broadened my views of both the USA and other countries. I’ve grown mentally and emotionally and have just been having a wonderful experience here. Some of my most memorable adventures so far:

  • Canoeing, rappelling and rock climbing in Argyll Forest and finding my own “Enchanted Forest”
  • Travelling around Germany and Switzerland for my spring break – my first time in mainland Europe
  • Spending a weekend on beautiful Isle of Skye and visiting Loch Ness, Culloden, and Glencoe
  • Enjoying Easter weekend in Germany at a retreat with other Christians
  • Hiking different legs of the gorgeous Fife Coastal Path (St Andrews to Crail, and Crail to Anstruther)
  • Adventuring out to Isle of Arran and hiking to Goatfell, the isle’s highest corbett
  • Mountain climbing, hiking, and all around just enjoying St Andrews and meeting all kinds of wonderful people. I’m very blessed and thankful to have had this opportunity to study abroad.

Besides all these travelling adventures, I’ve learned a lot just talking with people. I had the opportunity to stay with families in Scotland, Germany, and Switzerland. I value those visits very deeply because I learned so much talking with everyone and having discussions about the various countries and cultures. Since this is my first time out of the United States, I have been amazed with everything I’ve learned and been able to experience in Scotland and other places in Europe. I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this study-abroad program and would recommend any student to do whatever he or she can in order to also study abroad; it is truly a life-changing experience.

Michelle, Regis University, USA

It is hard to put into words how amazing my time here at St Andrews has been. I have made many close friends that I hope to retain for a lifetime. Each time I step out of my hall, I am equally amazed at the scenery that lies before my eyes, whether it is my first or 83rdtime. While St Andrews is a small town, I am never bored and am always finding new and breathtaking places to explore. This cute town, the warm people, the most memorable experiences ever, have changed my life in a very good way and have changed my outlook and my ambitions for the future. Studying for a beautiful spring semester here was the absolute best decision I have made in my life thus far.

Anna, Baylor University, USA

If you’re in the States and you’re having a rough day, you go to Sonic, or you take a nap. In St Andrews, you can walk less than five minutes to be confronted by majestic natural beauty. The West Sands beach takes my breath away.

Isabel, University of Michigan, USA

Just as St Andrews balances learning and fun, it is also a place of tradition. The Gaudie walk held by the Kate Kennedy Club is a testament to the heroic deeds of John Honey. The event allows current students to reflect on the other graduates of the University and encourages them to continue the legacy of St Andrews.

Joseph, High Point University, USA

The West Sands beach in failing light.

Ariana, College of the Holy Cross, USA

My study abroad experience at St Andrews allowed me to explore, interact, and learn about myself. The people I met became my friends; the experiences I had became a part of my personal growth. I tried things I had never tried before and reached out to a community that welcomed me.

I became the Sports Rep for my residence hall, St Regulus Hall (or better known as St Regs). This meant I had to organize different sports competitions which would take place every few weeks. Events ranged from basketball, volleyball, disk golf, badminton and hockey. St Regs is one of the smallest dorms and it is situated a mile or so away from the Sports Centre. So at first it took some persuasion to get people to come to these events. However, after each of these events, they would tell me how much fun they had and they were excited that they had participated. Occasionally we would dress up: playing badminton dressed in Santa and Elf costumes! The last competition of the year was the “Highland Games” featuring events such as: ‘Tossing the Welly’, ‘Tug o’ War’, and various relay races. We competed against other Halls, who arrived wearing kilts and face paint with bagpipes blaring. St Regs, despite its small size, had an energetic and lively team and we eventually carried home the trophy!

During my year in St Andrews, I decided that I was going to run a marathon as part of my college study abroad project. I trained pretty much every day, running up the beautiful Scoonie Hill, which overlooks St Andrews (see photo). The cause I chose to support was the CHAS foundation, which funds and supports terminally ill children. This is such an important cause, and it revealed to me that by setting a goal and putting it into motion, I could really help the lives of others. I raised money from family, friends, and students of St Andrews. I completed the Edinburgh Marathon in 3hours and 56 minutes. It was a mental battle the entire time, but I finished strong.

My study abroad year at St Andrews allowed me the space to transform and grow. It helped me to realize that I want to continue to help others in my future career.

Karen, University of Missouri, USA

The University of St Andrews is the perfect setting – small enough to get to know but within day-tripping distance to all kinds of places around Scotland. It’s a beautiful country and the people here are so welcoming. The social scene at this university is excellent, the students here are so involved and it really made a difference to my experience here. I would definitely recommend joining as many societies as you can; they go on great field trips and the balls and other events are loads of fun. There are lots of international students here and it is very easy to meet people.

Youssef, American University in Cairo, Egypt

I spent a year at the University of St Andrews and my immediate memories are: a charming town, interesting students coming from the four corners of the world, beautiful scenery, unforgettable friendships, lecturers devoted to the teaching of their students, my walk to Anstruther along the Fife Coastal Path. Choosing to go to St Andrews for my exchange year was one of the wisest choices I made and I feel I have gained a lot socially and academically, during my stay in this beautiful part of Scotland.

Nina, Wellesley College, USA

I was drawn to the Geology program at St Andrews because of the small friendly department, proximity to world famous geology, and week long fieldwork trips offered for undergraduates. This experience has put me far ahead of my colleagues back home and I can’t wait to share the incredible opportunities I have enjoyed during my time at St Andrews. I would strongly recommend a Junior Semester Abroad at St Andrews if you wish to gain hands on experience in the field of geology.

Student experience of the BA International Honours Programme

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.


Transition

‘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

Staff who studied abroad

Many of our academic and professional staff spent a semester or year of their own undergraduate programmes on exchange. Here, a few of them share their experiences and what they valued most about the opportunity to study abroad.


‘When I studied in France in the early 1980s, everything seemed different there. There were traditions I’d never heard of: marketplaces filled with chrysanthemums for Toussaint in November, chocolate fish at Easter, lily-of-the-valley for 1 May. There were surprising debates going on: politics, literature and philosophy certainly didn’t stir up such passions among people my age in Britain. The food was strange, the road traffic was mad, the music was dreadful, the language wasn’t anything like the one in my textbooks…and it was all wonderful. All year, every day, from morning to night, I learned. Among many other things, I learned to open my eyes and ears, to accommodate other norms, to change my mind, to adapt and, above all, to begin understanding one of the world’s great cultures together with its beautiful language. Those lessons undoubtedly helped me land a job in HM Diplomatic Service on graduating from University – but it was already too late. An addiction had been formed and if I returned to academia after four years of diplomacy, it’s partly because I couldn’t stay away from Study Abroad.

If you decide to spend time studying in a country other than your own, and if you truly open your mind to the differences you will encounter, you will be transformed by the experience. Of course you’ll be taking a certain risk. That’s the great thing about it.’

Professor Lorna Milne, Vice-Principal (Proctor)


‘The year that I spent as an undergraduate at the University of Strasbourg undoubtedly helped shape my decision to become an academic. During that year – the third year of my joint Honours French and History degree – I became fascinated by the lively and often troubled history of France in the twentieth century; in a city like Strasbourg where that history is ever-present, it would be almost impossible not to think differently about the recent past. That interest was to lead, after a few more years spent teaching and researching in France, to a PhD in French history. But – perhaps more important than the academic interest – my year abroad also gave me the language skills indispensable for my chosen career, and the confidence to know that I could work effectively in a second language; and that, in turn, brings with it the confidence to embark on all sorts of things that had previously seemed too challenging. Little more than a year after my first experience of study abroad, I was back in France, at a different university, but this time as a teacher rather than student: another direct result of my study abroad experience, and one that set me on course for my academic career.’

Dr Stephen Tyre, School of History


‘As an undergraduate in Belgium, I spent a few months as a visiting Erasmus student at the University of St Andrews. The following year, I returned to St Andrews as a PhD student and today, I am still here as a lecturer, encouraging students to take the opportunity to spend time abroad. My Erasmus exchange opened my eyes to the fact that there is more than one way to teach and understand a subject, something I now try and keep in mind in my own teaching. My time in St Andrews also left me with some amazing friends, whom I am still in contact with, 15 years later.’

Dr Ineke De Moortel, study abroad coordinator, School of Mathematics and Statistics


‘Having studied in Paris as part of my degree in French and Art History, I found that employers were very interested in this experience and it significantly enhanced my career prospects. In my first role with multi-national advertising agency JWT, because of my time spent in Paris, I was given a client, Elida Faberge, whose head office was, at that time, based there. Now, in my capacity as a career adviser at the University of St Andrews, I regularly meet with top graduate recruiters who feel that a period of study abroad on a candidate’s CV is a particularly desirable feature, demonstrating a willingness to explore new cultures, develop understanding of the importance of being a ‘global citizen’ and form an international outlook, key ingredients if they are to reach the top in their chosen field.’

Helen Scott, careers adviser, Careers Centre


‘Studying abroad was the best decision I made and has never been a regret. I feel it has given me an insight into other cultures and other academic traditions that I would otherwise not have experienced. As an International Relations person, it is also an advantage to have, well, an international experience!

I studied abroad at the University of Hong Kong and at the University of Stellenbosch. Living and studying in these places has put me a step ahead of my peers in terms of insight and knowledge. It is the sort of comprehension you cannot get from books. It also made for a more interesting CV, opened up all sorts of doors to me, was a great personal travel experience and I gained a whole bunch of foreign friends. If you choose to study abroad as part of your degree programme, I believe you will similarly benefit and, more importantly, your time overseas will undoubtedly complement the education and insights you gain whilst at St Andrews.

Many people may be hesitant to study abroad because they are afraid that they might not cope. Trust me, you will discover how adaptable you are and within a few days you will be so busy making friends, learning about your new home and exploring all it has to offer, that any such doubts very rapidly disappear. You will come to appreciate what is new and foreign, even strange, but in the process you yourself will change, how you perceive others and especially how you view the world.’

Professor Ian Taylor, study abroad coordinator, School of International Relations


‘For me, study abroad was truly a leap into the unknown. It was the first time I’d spent longer than a few weeks outside Fife and I had to consult a map to find where exactly in the former GDR Leipzig was located! In many ways, it was a challenging year: the exhaustion in the first few weeks as I adapted to communicating in German all day, every day; navigating the bureaucracy; delivering my first English lesson to a class of ten year olds. But as the year progressed I felt myself becoming more independent and confident that I could cope with the challenges, and the highs far outweighed the lows. Above all, my year abroad opened my mind to new intellectual interests, which not only shaped my Honours years, but also influenced my postgraduate study. Moreover, it instilled in me a belief in the value of study abroad which has naturally motivated my career path.’

Samantha Lister, Head of Academic Partnerships and International Experience

Studying in Europe – Denmark

University of Copenhagen

The reason for going on my Erasmus semester abroad was probably a little different to most. I am Danish by birth but having spent most of childhood away from Denmark, I saw this as an opportunity to go back and re-discover what it means to be a Dane and whether I could actually be one.

Copenhagen, as a city itself, provides an endless amount of opportunities and excitement. Be it going to Studenterhuset, Christiania, art exhibitions at Louisiana, strolling past Nyhavn, the Little Mermaid, and the Royal Palace, quirky concerts in small theatres, mouth-watering bakeries, Tivoli at Christmas and the film festivals. The options are infinite and that is what I love about Copenhagen. The best bit is probably also that the Danes cycle everywhere, drink lots of coffee, eat rugbrød (rye-bread), promote a social-responsibility mentality through the welfare system and always make time for hygge (relax time).

Copenhagen

As for the academic aspect of going abroad I can only recommend it. I was able to take classes not available in St Andrews and the classes were a great mix of people of different nationalities, ages and backgrounds. The teaching was more informal, participatory and often group-orientated and this definitely stimulated my interest in Social Anthropology. My semester abroad was invaluable. Not only did I get the chance to fall in love with Anthropology, I also realised that I am actually Danish and made some terrific friends! Safe to say, I will most definitely be returning.

Iben (Social Anthropology)

Studying in Europe – Spain

University of Santiago de Compostela

Santiago

Setting off to study in Santiago de Compostela in September, I expected it to be the biggest challenge I’d ever faced. Coming home in June, I considered my time there the greatest adventure of my life so far.

Living and studying in Santiago immerses you not only in the Spanish way-of-life, but also in a unique and fiercely proud Galician culture, so it’s doubly rewarding. Santiago is overflowing with history, tradition and life. It’s a city as beautiful in the sun as it is in the rain (which is lucky, since it rains a lot!). Its charm is irresistible – it’s no wonder thousands of tourists and pilgrims constantly flock there.

Academically, the USC offers a great range of interesting and useful modules, taught by knowledgeable and welcoming professors, but don’t be surprised if the majority of your learning takes place outside of the classroom. Without doubt the best part of my experience was the people from all over the world whom I befriended and learned so much from.

My time abroad skyrocketed my confidence in my language skills, strengthened my character, and opened up a world of opportunities I can’t wait to go out and seize.

Catherine (French and Spanish)


University of Valladolid

Valladolid is a hidden gem of the Spanish interior, situated just an hour from Madrid by express-train. The city used to be the capital city of Spain several centuries ago and is conveniently situated for exploring nearby historical and scenic towns such as Segovia, Avila, Toledo and Salamanca that are often neglected by tourists drawn to Spain’s coasts and are well worth a visit.

The low cost of living in Valladolid means that the Erasmus grant goes even further and you can make the most of all this area of Spain has to offer. In terms of nightlife there’s a lively student population and plenty of events organised by the Erasmus Student Network so it’s extremely easy to meet people. It took me a while to get used to the fact that in contrast to St Andrews – many bars and clubs were open until 6 or 7am!

Academically, the idea of taking all of your classes may seem daunting, however the teachers are very friendly and understanding. Achieving high grades is by no means impossible. I really enjoyed the variety of classes in Valladolid and it was fascinating to see how universities are run in Spain although at times the bureaucracy can be a little frustrating. All in all, it was a great cultural, educational and life experience and I’m so happy I made the decision to study abroad in Spain.

Emma (International Relations and Spanish)


House in Spain

As a Modern Languages student, this year appeared to me as a monumental milestone in my degree. It was time to collect the fruits of all of those complex grammar lessons and oral presentations: asking my way around a new city, having instant insight into a new culture, befriending native speakers, picking up on the regional colloquialisms and national quirks – it made it all worth it.

When you’re immersed as you are on your year abroad, your language skills increase at lightning speed: the first lecture on 18th Century Spanish Literature – given by a passionate specialist in her field and potentially the fastest talker I have ever encountered – was challenging to say the least, but before long all of us Erasmus+ students had become naturals. By the end of my year abroad, split between Valladolid and St Petersburg, I was left with an unforgettable experience, friendships from all over the world, extensive knowledge in my field of study – and some killer recipes!

Sophie (Spanish and Russian)

Studying in Europe – The Netherlands

Leiden University

The maze-like town with its canals and winding side-streets, bursting with students, businessmen, children all cycling in different directions with the unequalled expertise of the Dutch and always partying on stages constructed on the canals and and street-long markets every Wednesday and Saturday.

The people are incredibly welcoming and always willing to speak English to the large community of international students. Furthermore, the students have organised an international committee who host weekend trips to beautiful islands and weekly group activities. The station is right in the centre and it is very inviting to go see the various spotlights of The Netherlands, such as the antique market in Delft, shopping in Den Haag or to adventure out to parties in Amsterdam and Utrecht and to get a feel for the Dutch love for nightlife. As for the university itself, I truly recommend it if you are a lover of cultures and diversity but you must have patience with the administrative system!

Zoe (History and English)


Leiden

When I first arrived in Leiden, the city seemed to stretch out in front of me like a labyrinth with small twisting streets, poems painted up on the walls, canals that transformed into stages for DJs, shops of every kind, delicious restaurants, biweekly markets, and countless museums.

However, everyone was so nice that it quickly started to feel like home. The absolute best part of Leiden was the large number of Dutch and international students that filled it. Through orientation week, my classes, my dorm, and a student association called the International Student Network, I met the most interesting, intelligent, and fun-loving friends from the Netherlands, Taiwan, Australia, Sweden and so many other countries. Together we went to weekly events in Leiden, big parties in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, and travelled to places like Budapest and Berlin.

Not only did we learn from passionate teachers in our classrooms, but we discovered new places and cultures from all over Europe and beyond. When our time in the Netherlands came to an end we all agreed that it had been the best experience of our lives. I urge any student who is seeking an unparalleled adventure to study at Leiden for a semester or year you will never forget.

Maddy (Art History and English)

Studying in Europe – Italy

Università Degli Studi di Padova

Before leaving to spend a year in Padua, I hadn’t thought much about what it would be like to be an Erasmus student or how to navigate an Italian University. It was only on my flight over that I started to feel nervous about having to speak Italian as soon as I got off the plane! There were some differences in the matriculation process (which took a little longer) but it was part of the overall experience!

However, I soon settled in, increasingly confident with my language skills and was looking forward to the rest of the year. Padua is a beautiful city and I had a great time practicing Italian over an ice-cream or a glass of Prosecco in one of the city’s many piazzas. The Erasmus Association was a fantastic organisation which planned everything from Karaoke nights to ski trips which were a great way to get to know the other international students. After such an amazing year, we were all extremely sad to leave but delighted to have mastered a foreign language, studied abroad and have a place to stay with friends all over Europe!

Eleanor (Italian & Spanish)


University of Verona

‌‌I found the University of Verona to be both enjoyable and challenging academically. This year has, on the whole, been fantastic. Not only did I live in one of Italy’s most beautiful cities, I have met many wonderful people, had the opportunity to travel, eaten a lot of amazing food, and enjoyed the outdoor lifestyle! My year abroad has been my favourite year of university so far because it has allowed me to experience a lifestyle which is completely different to St Andrews. You have to prepare yourself for hard work, but it is all worthwhile in the end.

Hannah (Modern Languages)


Attending lectures and sitting the exams in a foreign language may seem daunting concepts and often mean a lot of work. However, the difficulties are all part of the experience and the university option has great prospects in terms of enabling you to sample a new way of learning (with mostly oral exams and no coursework), lose yourself (or sometimes perhaps get lost!!) in the Italian system and improve your language skills.

Having learned Italian from beginners’ level at St Andrews, I can certainly say that the year accelerated my language acquisition, using and working in Italian more frequently and in more situations than I could ever imagine. Hearing about torture methods during the Venetian history course is one of the more memorable. My other foreign language was not neglected for the year as I completed modules for German too.

Being part of the university means you are within a student community and this can bring many benefits whilst settling into life in Italy. The Italian students are keen to find out who ‘the British-looking guy’ is who has suddenly appeared in their class and there is obviously no shortage of coffee places to visit with them or with fellow St Andrews students.

Verona itself is una città bella! Passing the Roman arena, River Adige or Juliet’s balcony, never failed to make me appreciate being a student for a year in a city that is chosen as a holiday destination. I, as would Shakespeare, certainly recommend Verona for a year abroad.

Christopher (Modern Languages)