Now that we are almost a month into the new semester, this has perhaps been enough time for the new students to make some well-rounded judgements about St Andrews. Being a small town with a big student population, St Andrews has never fallen short of surprising people with what it can offer. I talked to a number of first year students with a range of different backgrounds to find out what they think of life in St Andrews.
We’re a small town – we get it, but has this in any way limited people’s enjoyment and experience so far? People have travelled from the furthest corners of the world to be here and they haven’t (for the most part) been disappointed.
Josh from Belfast explained: “initially I was concerned about living in such a small place for the next four years of my life, but having been here for 3 weeks, I already feel enveloped in the ‘bubble’ people speak of, I can’t think of a prettier place to study.”
Speaking of The Bubble, what do people make of this concept? The idea that university life could be compared to a bubble isn’t necessarily the most enticing prospect, yet so many newcomers here already view the idea with endearment.
“The ‘bubble’ was actually one of the only things that made me hesitant to apply to St Andrews, to me it seemed like not being able to escape people or have any time to yourself, but since I’ve arrived I’ve really learned to appreciate the value of such a unique, cosmopolitan, close-knit community,” – Zoe from Cambridge.
The quaint yet cosmopolitan nature of the town has proved a real novelty for many, with a huge range of nationalities, an array of traditions and a thrilling nightlife scene. Well, maybe that last part was slightly exaggerated. Nightlife is an aspect of the town that has received some of the less enthusiastic comments.
“The highlight of the Lizard is definitely the exit” – mentioned someone who wishes to remain anonymous.
Despite this the nightlife, like every aspect of the town, is loved in its own unique way. As someone who was born and raised in Fife, I thought I knew what to expect – not much. Yet I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much I have enjoyed the laid back nightlife and the way the people here have turned a potentially boring three street town into a wonderful night out.
Of course, in your first few weeks it’s easy to forget that as well as to get away from home, to meet new people and to have fun, you also chose to study here. Getting back into a routine of working can be difficult, lectures can be dry and constant hangovers don’t make it any easier.
Emma, who studies Biology with Geography mentioned: “After not studying for a few months, it’s been strange getting into the swing of things, but I’m enjoying it. I like the teaching and have enjoyed lectures, but there’s always a downside – there’s always topics that interest you less than others. Studying biology also means lab work which can be slightly dull to put it nicely.”
The module system has also proved to be popular with new students. “St Andrews gave me the opportunity to study different subjects at the same time which was vital to me since I have many interests” – Simona from Italy, who studies Art History and Comparative Literature highlights the benefits of the Scottish system, which differs greatly from other UK systems.
For such a small town, St Andrews has clearly made a great first impression for its new students. Already, most seem to agree that it is one of the most unique, beautiful and enjoyable places anyone could possibly be. Whether it’s the age-old traditions, the friendly, relaxed atmosphere or the wonderful people, St Andrews will surely remain close to the heart.