Open People, Hard to Meet Study Abroads, Lots of Independent Work February 25, 2020

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 09/09/2019 to 12/17/2019 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
-Friends!!!! (only one American friend, almost all of my other friends were from different parts of Europe -Independence -I increasing advocated for myself -Comfort in traveling alone -Newfound academic interest

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.

-My courses were very interesting in terms of information -One of my professors was very engaged--the other was as well (until he went on strike. During the strike, there was no correspondence with the class despite there being two assignments due during that period. When he went off strike, it was exam time and he had no further correspondence) -Both professors were engaged in office hours -There was not a substantial amount of class time.. It felt as though we were teaching ourselves the material. -The readings were very interesting. Classes were rigorous and engaging. -There was a very weak advising process that was stressful and did not allow for study abroads to acquire the classes they were initially interested in. Although we all had a time for an advising meeting, they operated on first come first serve, which was not disclosed to us

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

-I got maybe two emails during my entire time there. Study abroad orientation was cancelled. Extremely challenging to meet other study abroads

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

-Roommate was great. Accommodations were nice.

* Food:

-Would recommend to future students to not go on the meal plan, even if they don't enjoy cooking.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt fairly integrated because I made a point of becoming involved. Also, my friends were university students rather than study abroads

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

-NHS. Hard to get an appointment but the care itself was fine.

* Safety:

-No safety concerns

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

In retrospect, I would not have chosen Scotland as my study abroad location. It was very isolated and the weather was dreary. It was not the program itself that made my experience positive and memorable, but the people I met, almost all of which were full-time students at the university. I stay in touch with many of them and feel very connected to the university in that way. I enjoyed my courses, but St Andrews classes have very little class time (2-3 hours per week). This made some of the days fairly monotonous because, when I wasn't in class, I felt like I was mostly doing work all the time. I think I could have balanced it better, but the courseload was very reading-heavy. The program itself lacked structure (very minimal support for study abroads). However, I met open and welcoming people and that's what stood out to me. My overall experience was positive, but if you look at the program structure itself, I would say that there could be some improvements made.

Finances

* 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)

-Fairly inexpensive to live in St Andrews. However, if you would like to go to events, some of the tickets cost upwards of 70 pounds, which is definitely a surprising cost

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I ended up buying a lot more food than I thought I would, because I didn't like the dining hall food. however, if I had eaten the dining hall food, I would likely have not spent much at all on anything other than event tickets, coffee, and occasionally going out to dinner.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? -Shop at Tesco for cheap food prices if you're self-catered -Bring a thermos mug--you can fill it up in the dining hall or go to town and ask them to fill it up for you (it'll be less expensive. 60 pence coffee at Pret if you bring your own thermos) -If you buy a ticket to an event and decide not to go, sell it on a Uni of St Andrews facebook page -If you buy an event ticket, make sure you collect the physical ticket--you can't show your purchase on your phone

Language

* 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?
  • Everyone was SO open
  • One of my classes--lots of work but so interesting
  • St Andrews beach!
* What could be improved?
  • Extremely hard to meet people unless you put yourself out there. You will likely live in a freshman dorm. So important to actively put yourself out there. The study abroad support should be improved--there should be activities to meet other study abroads
  • A bit monotonous
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? -Administration at St A is inflexible--advising was on a first come first serve basis even though you had an assigned time -You should really join clubs--best way to meet people -Classes are oftentimes reading-heavy with two to three graded assignments comprising your entire course grade

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:

Critical Terrorism Studies

Course Department: International Relations
Instructor: Dr. Mya Alexander-Owen
Instruction Language: English
Comments: A challenging course but completely engaging! Would recommend. It is a lot of reading and Dr. Alexander-Owen's expectations are high. However, if you are interested in the topic (or think that you could be interested in it), I would recommend this class. You get to tailor your essay topic to fit your personal interests within the field.
Credit Transfer Issues: -In the process of transferring
Course Name/Rating:

Leader Personality and Foreign Policy

Course Department: International Relations
Instructor: Dr. Beasley
Instruction Language: English
Comments: -Course was a bit unstructured because the Leader Personality field is still being explored -Challenging but would have preferred a bit more direction in terms of assignment expectations -Graded on 100% course work (plus)
Credit Transfer Issues: -In the process of transferring