Study Abroad in St. Andrews

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A Guide to Studying Abroad in St. Andrews

A top 100 worldwide university, one of the best golf courses in the world, the place where the future British King met his princess and, a whole lot of traditions — welcome to St. Andrews. St. Andrews is a quaint scottish town that is a perfect base to explore Scotland during your study abroad. If you want to add to the history of the oldest university in Scotland and maybe find your your own frog to kiss, then study abroad in St. Andrews.

What you need to know to study abroad in St. Andrews, Scotland

St. Andrews may not be a big town, but it certainly packs a punch. St. Andrews is ranked within the top 100 universities in the world and, is one of the most sought after universities in the UK. Studying in St. Andrews is prestigious in the UK. 

Popular subjects to study. Popular subjects to study in St. Andrews include the arts, science, or divinity.  St. Andrews has a strong reputation within all three subject areas. St. Andrews, is known to be in the top 20 universities worldwide for divinity while, research within the arts and science faculties means you will have access to cutting edge subjects during your studies.

Short term and summer programs vs. long term programs. A semester in St. Andrews will give you an opportunity to savor the Scottish way of life. During that time, you can improve your golf, bag a few monros (hills over 3000 feet in Scotland), and maybe even take a liking to Scott’s porridge. Attending your study abroad period during either semester will provide different opportunities such as Hogmanay or the Edinburgh fringe.

Attending for a full year will allow you to experience all four seasons in Scotland and the excitement that they bring —heather in fall, skiing in winter, cherry blossoms in spring, and the golden beaches in summer. By the end of the year, you’ll be drinking Irn-Bru and adding “wee” into all your sentences.

Attending universities vs. other program types. There is only one university within St Andrews (St. Andrews University), but as the oldest university in Scotland, it has a prestigious reputation and is a first choice for many students for study abroad programs in St. Andrews. You can study directly through the university for a semester or full year. There are also programs for American students that partner with the St. Andrews University to allow you to attend the university classes, but offer accommodation and living support (such as visas and excursions on arrival). Summer programs are also offered at St. Andrews. 

What is life like for international students in St. Andrews?

St. Andrews may not be large, but there is a lot happening. Within the town, there are over 30 pubs, student union events every night of the week, and numerous societies for you to join, including student theater, orchestra, Pokémon, tea drinking, and folk dancing. What’s more, there is a sport team for almost every sport imaginable.

St. Andrews’ location means you are never too far away to have a few days in the highlands, islands or, lochs. Or, if you need to visit somewhere larger, then consider one of the many vibrant cities nearby, such as Edinburgh or Glasgow.

St. Andrews university is full of traditions.  There’s the “red academic gown tradition”, whereby if three people are walking in a row wearing the gown, everyone else has to give way. Or “raisin week,” where pranks and games are played causing havoc through the town. Oh, and after your last exam at the university, you may just be showered with old water as a final goodbye!

GoAbroad’s Inside Scoop for study abroad students in St. Andrews

Burns Night. If you’re studying abroad in St. Andrews in the winter, fear the early sunsets, as during the winter the Scots celebrate a number of festivals during this season to ensure there is some brightness in their evenings. The highlight of any calendar is Burns night, a whiskey drinking, haggis eating, and ceilidh dancing extravaganza created to celebrate one of Scotland’s most famous individuals. Also, watch out for Hogmanay (New Year's Eve), which due to Christmas being banned for several years, is bigger and better than most celebrations. Bonfire night, St Andrews, Up Helly Aa are some of the others celebrated during the winter months in Scotland.

Golf. St. Andrews boasts a golf club over 600 years old – making it one of the oldest golf clubs in the world. Holding international tournaments that attract some of the biggest names in the sport, it has become one of the courses any keen golfer wants to play on once in their life. If you live to golf, then St. Andrews is the university to select for your study abroad. The club and university have incredible value deals that means you can get a reduced handicap and have an incredible study abroad experience. Don’t worry if you have never played golf before — beginners are allowed on the course, and, who knows, maybe you will find a new talent?

Monros. These are hills over 3000ft in Scotland (not mountains!) and there are 282 of them in total. Many Scots “bag” them i.e. count how many they reach. Join the locals and make it your mission to see how many you can climb during your semester or summer studying abroad in St. Andrews.

St. Andrews allows you to be part of history and future of Scotland. So, use your study abroad in St. Andrews to experience to discover the quirks of Scottish traditions and explore the amazing landscape on your doorstep. By the end of it, you may even like haggis!

If you are ready to learn the difference between haggis, tatties, and neeps, then read our comprehensive guide to studying in Scotland.

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