Study at University of St. Andrews Past Review

By (International Relations, Augsburg College) for

University of St. Andrews: St. Andrews - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
YES YES YES!!! I came to understand a lot about myself and I feel much more confident now in social and travel situations because of my time abroad. I also gained a different perspective on America by discussing the US with people from other countries. I formed lasting friendships and hope to be able to return soon to visit. Also gained experience in a new educational environment. Wouldn't trade this experience for the world!

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: University of St. Andrews
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.

The British system is vastly different than the American system, which was an adjustment. Very few class hours per week and very few assignments, but tons of reading. I took two courses in International Relations. One was fantastic! The other one was only so-so. The professor was definitely more interested in his career as a scholar than his career as a professor. Overall, though, a good educational experience to be exposed to.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Interstudy takes a very hands-off approach, especially since there are no staff people based in Scotland. However, staff are always available if you need to get in touch with them. They are friendly and interesting to talk to. Coleman even picked me up from the train station when I arrived at 1am due to a major snowstorm in London that slowed down transportation. Overall: flexible and fantastic!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in a flat in ALbany Park that was part of the university housing system. Although I was in an English-speaking country, I marked that my living situation aided my language acquisition because I lived with 5 Scottish women and it really helped me understand the accent and learn about the dialect and culture. Albany was fantastic! Not too many American students live there, so I got to meet Scottish students and international students from all over. Also, it is about 50 yards from St. Andrews' best beach!

* Food:

We were responsible for our own meals, and the kitchen facilities were satisfactory. I never went hungry. Easiest place to shop is the Tesco Metro across from the Student Union, but there is a Aldi's and a Morrison's which are cheaper a bit farther away. Lots of inexpensive and delicious pubs to get lunch at (St. Andrews has one of the highest concentrations of pubs in the UK).

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Met lots of wonderful people and learned loads about the Scottish culture. There are 13th century cathedral ruins and castle ruins in St. Andrews which are wonderful. Cathedral grounds are free, so I highly recommend them. Also, at the beginning of term, the school offers reduced rates on highland tours. It's a great day trip with lots of beautiful scenery. Also, interstudy sponsors two excursions - one to London and one to Ireland. London trip was fun, but the Ireland trip was fantastic! It's in Killarney and it's absolutely beautiful. Maybe you can take in a rugby match at a local pub - it's well worth the trip!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

St. Andrews is very safe. It's a small town and crime is mostly limited to petty theft. I never had any problems. I never had any health problems on the trip, except for getting pink eye. Ask a local student to help you navigate the ins and outs of the NHS, if you need to. Also, stop at the pharmacy for minor things; the pharmacists in Britain are allowed to prescribe more medicines than those in the US. They can probably help you out.

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)


If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

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  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Students interested in IR, Religion, Political Science, or languages would do well. St. Andrews has great programs in these areas. It also has a pretty good film program. Students should be willing to meet new people and make an effort to cultivate friendships outside the American student population (which is of considerable size). I also highly recommend finding a balance of local and international travel while you are here. It's great to make friends with local students who live in the area - then you will really experience Scottish culture!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

The Political Theory of War and Peace

Course Department: IR 3034
Instructor: Nicolas Rengger
Instruction Language: English
Comments: See above comments on academics overall. This is the one that was only so-so.
Credit Transfer Issues:


Hi Sylvia, I'm so happy to hear that you had a great experience at St. Andrews. We're still running the Killarney trip too and I'm so happy to see the positive feedback. It'll definitely stick around as long as everyone keeps enjoying it.

Interstudy August 18, 2010

I'm happy to hear it! I'm very glad I chose interstudy - it helped make a great experience even better!

KnackeredScot August 23, 2010