St Andrews, Scotland: Beautiful Country and Remarkable People. Past Review

By (Neuroscience and Biology, Drake University) for

Arcadia: St. Andrews - University of St Andrews

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I wouldn't trade my experience for anything in the world. It was utterly unforgettable!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Work load is SUPER light at the beginning, so plan any trips early (or over reading week - yeah, you get a whole week off!) because as the semester progresses, you'll find you have more work to do. It never becomes overwhelming though, because a full class load is only 3 classes. Also, you'll know what all of your assignments are as soon as you get the syllabus, which means that organizing your schedule is easy. The grading system is a bit strange (a score out of 20, but it's non-linear), so don't worry too much about what your number is, just do your work the way you always do and compare grades with everyone else. In the end, homework is homework, no matter where you are.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Really, the only weakness was orientation. Everything else was great.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The dorms were superb! Everything was provided except hangars, it was a wonderful surprise. The cleaning ladies even come in to clean your room once a week, and emptied your garbage cans everyday. It was all very safe as well. If you forgot to lock your door, it wasn't a big deal at all. The common rooms were large and perfect for both studies and parties. Literally everything in St Andrews is within walking distance (class, pubs, drug store, groceries, H&M, New Look, etc.) and if you want to go to Dundee or Edinburgh, they're just a bus ride away. The host family I stayed with during orientation was fantastic as well. The treated me like I was an old friend, and everything was very relaxed and chill. It was nice to be able to breath after the chaos of orientation.

* Food:

The food itself was fine, but the dining room had very limited hours which was a bit annoying.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Ceilidh, Highlands, Edinburgh. In that order. Go hill walking (hiking) because getting that close to the natural beauty of Scotland is an experience that will stay with you forever. I'm not saying that you need to climb Ben Nevis or anything, just don't be afraid to get out there. I joined Breakaway, the hill walking society, and it was one of the best decisions I made in St Andrews. Also, try to make it out to a club in Dundee at least once.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

St Andrews was a REALLY safe town. I felt very comfortable there. Also, you're required to register with a GP (family practice doctor) so if you get sick or anything you're totally covered.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Watch how much you're spending on drinks. That's basically the worst of it. Also, when I went to London, I got a London Pass and Day Travel Cards, which I found really convenient.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Prepare for an amazing time. Bring your party clothes. Don't be surprised by the intellectually stimulating environment (but don't think it means classes are harder, people just talk about them more).