It’s February now and it’s freezing in Scotland! I never thought I would miss the miss the Northern Ireland weather yet the Scottish weather has made it so. This month I’ve just been getting back into the routine of lectures, tutorials and homework. Exciting I know!
However I had another ball earlier this month for one of the university residences some of my friends live in. We got on a bus to a beautiful Castle about 30 minutes outside of St. Andrews. The surroundings were stunning and everyone had a great night! There were even fireworks organised which were very impressive.
This month I’ve also started to get my Flat for next year organised. We had our first meeting with the letting agency to go over the terms of the lease and will probably sign the lease within a week. This isn’t as complicated a process as I anticipated. The staff from the agency have been really lovely and have thoroughly explained everything we needed to know.
Unfortunately at the end of the month I’ve had quite a few important assignments due. I had an economics test worth 25% of the module which seemed to go quite well. I also had a French literature essay due on a medieval text, this was definitely a challenge but I really enjoyed the challenge.
This month was also the Christian Union’s mission week with the tagline “Think Again”. It was enjoyable to get involved in helping with different events such as lunch bars, talks and leafleting.
Moreover it’s been great getting to know all the new Study Abroad students in my hall of residence, most of whom are American. They’ve all been very nice and friendly and I look forward to getting to know them better over this semester.
In German we’ve starting studying linguistics which is a completely new area of study for me but which I’m finding fascinating. I really love the opportunities at university to study new things you have never considered before! The study of language ties in really well with my modern languages degree., although because it’s such a broad topic area it’s hard to get your head around.
Well that’s all for this month, I’ll be back for a catch up in March!
It’s great to be back for the start of a new semester at St Andrews. I’ve had a very long Christmas break and classes didn’t start until the last week of January. I’ve enjoyed a very relaxing Christmas break with friends and family, it’s great to catch up with everyone in NI again. I’ve even had to chance to bring some uni friends home for a week on a visit to NI which has been great fun. We’ve visited all the classic tourist sites from the Giants Causeway to Belfast City Centre, it’s been wonderful.
But it’s time to get stuck into classes again. This semester I have a Monday 9 am French tutorial which isn’t the best of fun, but I suppose it gets me out of bed and ready to start my day. I’m excited to meet all my new tutors and hope to know the people in my classes.
I’m excited to celebrate my birthday this week as well. I’m hoping to meet up with friends and do something nice, which will be fun!
Otherwise I haven’t been back long so not much else to say, I’ll be back with another update soon.
December has been a fun month of uni life, there has been lots going on in St Andrews. I attended 4 carol services, 2 Christmas balls and even had a trip to London. But then exams hit… Not so fun!
Earlier in the year I applied online for a summer job in Disneyland Paris to earn a bit of money and improve my French. I then received an invitation to interview in London for the job! The interview was in French which was slightly daunting but I flew down from Edinburgh and had a great time. All the people were very nice and friendly and the interview went well. It was also great to see around London for the weekend and visit all the sights!
I also got to go to the St Andrews Christmas ball which was a lot of fun, even though I queued from 3 am one cold morning for tickets! The ball was Hogwarts themed which was very cool. There were lots of people there and plenty of food and dancing, it was a great night! My hall of residence had a Christmas ball as well.
This month I also got invited to a special Gold Duke of Edinburgh awards ceremony at a garden party in Buckingham Palace in London. It’s a very exciting opportunity but the date falls in my Summer exam period so I don’t know if I go yet.
Unfortunately soon after exam season hit. Luckily I only had 3 exams, one for each subject. This was my first set of university level exams which was very scary but I think they went well.
After my exams finished I got to home for the first time since September! I was very excited to see all my friends and family again. Although on the way home I nearly missed my flight because of the traffic in Glasgow and as the Forth Road Bridge was closed. That wasn’t so much fun but I narrowly caught the flight in the end.
Overall I’ve had a great first semester of uni! It’s been great getting to know so many new people, and unfortunately some international students were only here for a semester and it was sad to say goodbye.
Glad to off for a month now for Christmas break! Catch up soon.
So it’s November and it really feels like Winter now. St Andrews is quite far north so it’s quite cold and gets dark very early. But I’m still loving my new life at university. It’s so great to have so much independence and to be surrounded by friends living in halls. While the workload has increased I’m still having loads of fun here.
Another great thing is the church I have joined here. The church family is amazing and we have become such a close knit community. One of the big benefits is always being invited out to lunch after the Sunday service. An especially amazing lunch was the Thanksgiving dinner some friends made for us all. This was a completely new experience for me but I really enjoyed it! Although the idea of potato and marshmallow as a savoury combination didn’t sit well with me. Celebrating Thanksgiving is quite common in St Andrews as there are so many Americans. It’s one way of making them feel at home, even though they’re far away from their family.
In French we have started to study poetry in our literature tutorials which is a new challenge for me. Though I went into the classes ready to hate the pettiness of poetry, I have developed a whole new appreciation for it. I have come to find poetry fascinating in its intricate manipulation of language for maximum effect. The passion of my tutor for poetry has also inspired me.
I’m also really enjoying the French lectures. One of my lecturers even made a group, including me, get on to the stage in the lecture theatre and act out the play. While this may seem daunting he guided us through it and it was a lot of fun!
As exams are just in the run up to Christmas here, Christmas celebrations occur very early, mostly in November. My hall Christmas dinner was actually this month which seems ridiculously. My hall of residence also had its annual ball. Unfortunately I missed this because I was in London for an interview for a summer job in Disneyland Paris. But I passed the interview so it was worth it!
October has been a very busy month, lots of classes and things to do. At the end of the month I had to write literature essays for French and German as well as sit a test for economics as it was half term. Fortunately everything went well and I got good marks. But there was a lot of pressure to prepare for all of these all at once. But I survived and am still enjoying my course.
I’m still settling in really well to life in St Andrews, and starting to get used to the rhythm of life here. One of the big differences I have noted is the number of international friends that I have. Students come to St Andrews from all around the world, which marks a big difference from the lack of diversity in Northern Ireland. I’m really enjoying meeting people from so many different cultures that I’ve never been exposed to before.
However one of the downsides here is my lack of car, a luxury I have become accustomed to at home. It’s quite a small town so it never takes long to walk anywhere but I do miss the freedom to travel, especially at the weekends.
My highlight of October was definitely Raisin weekend, a big St Andrew’s annual tradition. To understand Raisin you first need to know about academic families. Basically the tradition is that third year students adopt first year students as their academic children (academic being the key word as it is surprisingly easy to get confused being blood and academic siblings). So by Raisin each fresher should have an academic mum and dad. Raisin weekend actually starts on the Sunday when you go to your mum’s house for a meal and then the fun begins.
Raisin has become a sort of legal torture where academic parents subject their children to all sorts of cruel tasks and (fun?) activities. Mine consisted of games involving throwing liver at each other, running blindfolded around a field, firing potatoes at cardboard boxes across a field using a three man catapult and playing battleships lying down using… you guessed it, more liver. I had a lot of fun, I don’t think I’ve laughed as much as during that afternoon. We then split into teams and had a photo scavenger hunt which involved proposing to a stranger, getting the phone number of the Tesco security guard and dunking my head in the sea.
But the fun doesn’t stop there, on the Monday morning it is customary to get dressed up by your parents before heading to St Salvator’s quad for a massive foam fight, which makes the Daily Mail every year. My family’s Raisin costume was very impressive; we all went as a giant dragon. It was so big that we had to walk on the middle of the road to get to town. And when we got to town we got a great round of applause for such a stand out costume. The foam fight after was a lot of fun as well and we all got absolutely covered in foam.
I’ve reached the end of September and since the last time I blogged lots has changed in my life, the big move to university life has happened. I survived! At this point I’m fortunate to say that I’ve settled in really well to life in St Andrews. I’ve made a great group of friends and I’m enjoying my course, French and German.
The move seems such a distant memory now. On the 5th of September we packed my dad’s car with all my belongings and headed off, I had no idea what to expect. We got the boat to Troon in Scotland followed by a slightly nerve wracking 2 hour car drive in the anticipation of the unknown.
When we arrived at my halls we were greeted by loud, pumping music and friendly volunteers. I got my room key and lugged my suitcases up 4 flights of stairs. Opening my door for the first time felt strangely momentous as if taking my first steps of total independence. After unpacking all my stuff I headed down to the front lawn for a barbecue to get to know everyone.
The rest of freshers week was a blur. So many events were put on for freshers during the day and at night, it was a great way to get to know people. There was so much to eat and drink, lots of games and fun to be had. Although the biggest challenge is trying to remember everyone’s name. I realised that I couldn’t remember someone’s name until I got it wrong at least twice to their face.
When the classes began the next week it was hard to get into the swing of work at first after a long summer of no work, but my lecturers are great and the work is enjoyable so studying hasn’t become a chore. The biggest difference I found was tutorials which really at first took me out of my comfort zone as I was forced to discuss ideas and often speak in French/German in front of a group of people. But now I enjoy the challenge and have realised that of course I’m going to get stuff wrong sometimes but that’s ok.
I’m enjoying hall life as well, I’m in catered halls (because I would otherwise starve) which I really enjoy. Meal times are great for socialising and getting to know everyone better. Sometimes the food is iffy but that’s ok. Doesn’t compare to a home cooked meal! However I’m yet to be homesick as there’s so much going on that I don’t have time to miss home much, but I’m sure that will come.
I’m just so thankful to be in such a great place. St Andrews is such a beautiful place, to be by the sea is great. Nothing compares to a beach bonfire! It’s also rich in history with many great unique traditions from raisin weekend to the May dip(I’ll fill you in more later). The buildings are stunning especially St Salvator’s quad, where I have classes. Can’t wait to get to know St Andrews even better!
23 August 2015
Finally A level results day has arrived. After two years of hard work (blood, sweat and tears) I was so relieved that it was all worth it. I got two A*s in French and German with an A in Maths. I’m extremely pleased with this result. However the lead up to results is very stressful as so much rests on getting good results. Managing your stress well during this period is so important. I mostly tried to keep myself busy by spending time with friends to stop myself from worrying too much.
Fortunately I got the grades I needed to get into my top university choice which is French and German at St. Andrews in Scotland. Leaving Northern Ireland isn’t going to be easy but I’m really looking forward to getting away now. Now I need to focus on getting myself organised to leave. There is so much to be done to sort accommodation, the ferry and picking modules. It’s going to be a big change but I’m up for challenge to learn new skills and meet new people.