As of today, I have officially been in St. Andrews for an entire month! I’ve spent most of my time here getting used to life here and exploring the town of St. Andrews, and at this point things are finally starting to settle into a routine. Therefore, I thought I’d share what a day in my life here at the University of St. Andrews as a study abroad student looks like. Remember to keep checking back here – I’ve got a lot of really exciting plans for October that I can’t wait to share!
Honestly, most of it is pretty similar to any other college experience (you’re still in school after all, just in a different location and with slightly less academic stress!). This is what my typical Thursday looks like, but you should all know that my schedule is different every single day of the week (e.g. this is the only day where I have all three of my classes). Let’s get started!
The biggest difference between the St. Andrews dining hall and American ones is that it’s only open for about an hour at each meal. Also, you are only allowed to eat in your hall’s dining room. That means that every day, every single person living in my building has to eat breakfast from 8-9am, lunch from 12:30-1:30pm, and dinner from 5:45-6:45pm. It’s a bit frustrating sometimes when you have classes near those times, but for the most part it works pretty well. And it’s the only dining hall I’ve ever seen that has stained glass windows!
9am Sustainable Development Lecture
It’s a really good thing that my 9am class happens to also be my favorite class that I’m taking, which definitely helps offset the tiredness that comes with first-thing-in-the-morning classes. I personally think it’s a fascinating subject that combines environmental science and social justice, which is a really unique approach that my college back home doesn’t offer.
11am Scotland, Britain & Empire Lecture
After a bit of a break, I head back to the same lecture theater for my history class. This is one of those classes that you can’t find anywhere else but Scotland – another reason I wanted to take it here in St. Andrews.
Coffee Break 🙂
My fellow study-abroad student and new friend Lauren & I have made it a bit of a tradition to stop at the Starbucks in town every Thursday after our history class to grab an American-style coffee and chat. It’s the first Starbucks I’ve ever been to that differentiates between “sit in” and “take away” coffee cups, which is pretty awesome!
The dishwasher was broken we were first here, so to avoid eating off styrofoam and try to save the planet you were encouraged to bring your own dishes for two or three weeks (unfortunately all I had were a mug and some silverware)! Fortunately it’s since been fixed.
2pm History of European Art Lecture
I guess when choosing which day of the week I was going to show you guys, I forgot that I only have lectures on Thursdays. It’s fine – that’s what the majority of my classes are, but there are also tutorials. In lower-level classes, you usually have 3 lectures a week, plus a tutorial. This is the biggest academic difference I’ve noticed about St. Andrews. Instead of having multiple 30-person sections per class, at St. Andrews everyone taking a certain course all attend the same lecture (about 200 people, on average? at least for the classes I’m taking). Then, once a week, you break into small groups of 6-10 people and meet with a tutor (usually a faculty member or PhD student) to discuss the course content in a more seminar-style setting. So on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays I’d also have a tutorial. But just lectures for me today – and this is my last one!
After class, while I’m still in town, I’ll usually stop at the Old Union Coffee Shop, grab a pot of tea and spread out at a large table in their dungeon-like back room or cozy window seat. When in Scotland, do as the Scots do – so so far I’ve just stuck with the classic British tea (I assume it’s what they’re best at, anyway). I’m a big fan of coffee shops for studying – libraries are a bit terrifying, with their eerie silence, and the wooden chairs and old tourists sitting at the table next to you help prevent major down-the-rabbit hole distractions. In fact, this is where I’m sitting right now, as I publish this post!
Nothing special, but always highly anticipated from a hunger standpoint.
Probably more homework, some well-earned relaxing, and get changed for dance
9:30pm Advanced Highland
Time for dance! Woohoo!!! I’ve got dance 4 times a week. In this specific class, we focus more on technique and the traditional Scottish Highland dances (e.g. Fling, Sword, etc.), but during the other three classes we work on dances that one of the girls in our group has choreographed – “Highland Fusion.” We’ve got some weird rehearsal times, but it’s a lot of fun and totally worth it!
It’s usually pretty late by the time I’ve walked back from the athletic center, so it’s a good thing I don’t have class till 11am tomorrow! Hope you enjoyed hearing about a day in the life here at the University of St. Andrews. Good night!