St Andrews: great setting, great academics, little guidance Past Review

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 09/11/2017 to 12/15/2017 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned more about independence and being more self-sufficient. The academics and international student body also provided me with new perspectives from which I can approach my studies.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The academic resources, variety of classes, and knowledge of professors were fantastic. Academics were fairly rigorous and intense, but definitely manageable.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

As a study abroad student, I received very little guidance. The lack of programming and guidance was most impactful and frustrating during the first week, when guidance and programming through which I could meet other study abroad students was most necessary. There was one orientation meeting during the first week, but beyond that programming was insufficient. Throughout the school year, the administration and the study abroad office were largely invisible, which was disappointing.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Housing was merely fine. The rooms were small and very dated. The housing policies were very restrictive. I was not allowed to hang up decorations in the room, nor was I able to move furniture. Nevertheless, the housing staff was very warm, kind, and approachable, which made the living situation better.

* Food:

The food was bad. The portions were very small. I would often find myself hungry after meals. I also found the dining staff to be rigid and rude, which sometimes made for a tense dining experience. Similarly the hours of operation very rigid, where the dining hall would only be open for 45 minutes to an hour for each meal, resulting in long lines and make it challenging to make certain classes or events, since the day had to be scheduled around the dining schedule.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

While the hall I lived on did some social programming, it was somewhat challenging to integrate into the community at large. It was also challenging to meet other study abroad students, since we were scattered across campus, and there was little to no programming to facilitate our interactions, even with the existence of a study abroad office.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no experience with the health care system; it was not necessary.

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

While academics were fantastic, the school and setting were beautiful, and I met many wonderful people from all over the world, I would most likely choose a program with more structure and study abroad programming. Also, the small town of St Andrews was isolating without access to a car, which made traveling and visiting Scotland beyond St Andrews more difficult.


* 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)

Living on a budget was not too challenging during the week. However, on the weekend, the dining halls would close, so I had to buy food for myself, which was expensive.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? ~100 pounds
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Buy cheaper food; don't go out for dinner/drinks.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Direct Enrollment

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Academics
  • The setting
  • Very international student body
* What could be improved?
  • Guidance from administration
  • Housing
  • Student integration
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that the school provides very little guidance or programming to enhance your experience abroad.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

IR2005: Theoretical Approaches to International Relations

Course Department: International Relations
Instructor: Natalie Saunders
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The course was not particularly challenging, in terms of workload, but many of the theories discussed were tough to understand fully. Nevertheless, the professors and tutors did a great job explaining and unpacking theories. During tutorials, I would participate the same amount as at my home institution. I was assessed through two papers, a multiple-choice test, and a written exam.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Global Energy Politics

Course Department: Sustainable Development
Instructor: Darren McCauley
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The course was very challenging and academically rigorous. The instructor was a fantastic lecturer and was very knowledgeable. As it was a small class (~20 people), I participated actively, as did other students in the class. I was assessed by one paper, a presentation, and a written exam.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Political and Cultural Geography of the Border

Course Department: Geography
Instructor: Sharon Leahy
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The course was challenging, interesting, and thought-provoking. The instructor was incredibly knowledgeable and well-prepared. I was assessed by two short literature analyses, a paper, and a written exam.
Credit Transfer Issues: