A Little About St Andrews

Perhaps you have skimmed through my introspective reflections in ­­­From South Carolina to Scotland and wondered what the town and university are like. If so, this brief post is dedicated to you! I have also included some novice photos that were shot with the fancy camera gifted to me by my lovely family.

St. Andrews is a small town located on the east coast of Scotland in Fife county. St. Andrews, of course famous for its golf course, is full of various pubs, shops, cafes, restaurants, and many other delightful businesses. Although buses, cars, and taxis are viable modes of transportation throughout the town, many people opt to walk or ride their bikes on the ubiquitous footpaths and sidewalks that snake throughout the town. It takes me approximately twenty minutes to walk to my classes located in the center of town, and thirty or forty minutes to cross the two miles through town from my residence hall to my friend’s residence hall. The university buildings are spread out throughout the whole town, allowing for a lovely commute, albeit inconvenient if you only have to walk a ten minute mile to get to your next class on time!

The University of St. Andrews was founded over 600 years ago, earning the title as the oldest university in Scotland. There are approximately 8,000 students here, which is close to thirteen times the size of Erskine’s student body (Yikes!). However, my largest class consists of eighty students, which is much less intimidating than a potential three hundred student class.

There is an incredible amount of diversity in the town and university. One of my flatmates explained the phenomena to me in these terms: apparently the Scottish government will pay the tuition fees of full-time students from the European Union, and so the university of St. Andrews recruits students from non-members of the European Union in order to make a lot of money. Thus, Americans, Canadians, and Asians compose a majority of the international students, which comprise 30% of the total student population. One of my absolute favorite things to do is to face a window looking out on the town and observe all of the different people who walk by: students, families, retirees, couples, old friends, young friends, happy faces, lonely faces, sports players, tourists, workers, ladies with bags that say “much ado about mutton.” It seems like you can find any type of person here, and I absolutely love it.

If there is something I have left out about the town or the university that any of you lovely readers are interested in, please let me know! There is so much to tell in such a limited space, but I would love to share any and every experience I have with anyone who is interested. In the meantime, enjoy some photos of the town below.


From South Carolina to Scotland

For those of you who did not know, I have relocated to the University of St. Andrews this semester, thanks to Erskine’s study abroad program. I have always dreamed of traveling the world and the opportunity to study abroad through this program seemed too good to be true. As two other friends and I went through the application process, the dream became more and more tangible until suddenly, poof! We were getting settled in St. Andrews with the help of the grand Ross McEwan.


Our first day in St. Andrews

I have been in Scotland for two and a half weeks now, and every day has been filled with new adventures. For the past few months, I have wondered who I will prove to be outside of the comfort of a familiar home and school environment. Friends, family, and casual observers on the street know that I feel completely out of my depth when it comes to socializing and making friends because of my quiet, insecure nature hidden behind a smiling, chatty Korean mask. I am still not quite sure how I will turn out, but my prayer is that I will return to Erskine more confident and sure of myself. Fingers crossed.

It is quite daunting to be surrounded by peers who are highly energetic, better traveled, and more adventurous than I am. I almost always feel out of my element when I talk to people because I feel boring and lifeless in comparison to their thrilling lives. Yet, it is such a blessing to be loved and accepted by my friend group here in spite of my differences. I am so thankful that Daria and Rachel are studying here as well. Without them, I would feel alone in this town, despite my wonderful friends and flatmates. God has answered my prayers for friendship, a strong Christian community, relief from stress, confidence over fear, and so much more. I remember praying for similar things on my first night during freshman year at Erskine, and God went above and beyond in answering those prayers. My hope is that He will do the same during the next four months. I have taken great comfort in knowing that He is with me, calming my fears and rejoicing in my victories as life adjusts from South Carolina to Scotland.

You have probably had your fill of these initial reflections, so I will refer you to A Little About St Andrews if you would like to read about the town and university. I will try to keep up this blog throughout the semester as the pages of this chapter continue to turn. If you are willing to prayer for me, Rachel, and Daria while we’re here, please pray for success in our schoolwork, for safety and lifelong memories in our adventures, and that no seagulls poop on us (the birds here are way too friendly). Cheers!