About My Study Abroad Program
Major/Minor: Interdisciplinary Major Forensic Accounting, Minor in Italian
Program: University of St. Andrews
Location: St. Andrews, Scotland
Term: Academic Year 2022-23
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
I chose to study abroad because I love learning about customs, cultures, and traditions of different countries. It was not surprising to my friends and family that I was choosing to study abroad because as a kid I had the opportunity to live in Germany for seven years. This experience gave me the drive and desire to explore the world we live in. I had studied in Switzerland for my freshman year, so as a junior I decided to go to St. Andrews, Scotland. I selected this program because I knew the academics were rigorous and the rich history of the university was astounding. The University of St. Andrews was founded in 1413 and in 2021 was ranked higher than Oxford and Cambridge. I knew that anything that I studied there would be worth my time and effort.
What did you learn about yourself?
I have learned through this experience how important it is to go outside your bubble and meet new people and try new things. I met so many different types of people and cultures and made so many long lasting relationships. I will not regret going abroad, in fact, I know I will miss it. My time in Scotland showed me that I love living life in a spontaneous way, for example booking a last minute flight to Italy and just having to figure it out with my friends when we got there. Truly, I learned that studying abroad is an opportunity to start fresh and immerse yourself in a new setting and learn how to thrive.
What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
I really enjoyed the societies and clubs, as well as the academic traditions. I would say that St. Andrews has a home feel and welcoming community. I had the opportunity to play on their Women's Basketball team and made wonderful connections with teammates that went beyond the court. Getting to try all the different clubs was a great experience as well, there were activities like surfing in the North Sea which I never would have been able to do if I didn't step out of my comfort zone. The traditions run deep at this university, from the first Pier Walk to the Gaudie and May Dip. These things have been occurring at this school for centuries and it is such an honor to be able to take part in them. My favorite memory of my program has to be May Dip. It is an event where everyone at the sunrise on the 1st of May runs into the North Sea and then enjoy campfires in the sand (no doubt that it is freezing cold) to mark the beginning of the final exam period. It is mainly an opportunity to enjoy and celebrate the end of the year with classmates and close friends. It shows how truly tight knit the community of St. Andrews is.
What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
There is always the fear of homesickness, culture shock and not understanding new ways. This is scary, but it is an opportunity to learn. One thing that I found difficult in Scotland was the fact that the sun would set in the winter at 3pm. This was difficult to get enough sunlight and vitamin D throughout the year. Luckily, I had friends who cared about my wellbeing and we found ways to bring each other out of the dark winters and enjoy our time together. So, while it can be hard, the individuals you meet will be there for you no matter the circumstance. When you look back at your time abroad you will remember the good and all the fun memories you made.
How do you identify?
Scholarship Recipient, Transfer Student
Could you share any experiences where your identity played a role in your time abroad?
As a scholarship recipient, I was given this once in a life time opportunity to explore. This played a role in my time abroad as I was fortunate to be able to be in Scotland. I made sure to use my time and money wisely and made the most of my situation.
Is there any advice you would give to other students who share your identity?
Sometimes, you will meet others who may have more money than you and travel more than you in nicer areas than you. That is something that will just occur. Rather than being discouraged about it, meet others like you and make strong relationships and memories of your cheaper travels. Each person will experience their time abroad differently, that is OK. Enjoy YOUR time because in the end that is what you will remember.
If you faced any challenges abroad, where could you turn to get the support you needed?
The University of St. Andrews had a wonderful help centre for any of the student needs, financial to physical. They were there to assist. Another place that you could turn to is your friends and peers, they are there for you and truly care for you.