By: Georgie Farrington
As a British student in the Joint Degree Programme, I’ve been frequently told about the massive cultural difference between schools in the UK and those in the US. I knew there were a lot of stereotypes about St Andrews before I arrived, which the great website that is BuzzFeed attempts to summarise:
“Gilets. So many gilets.”
“Are able to talk knowledgeably about wine. Or at least pretend.”
“All the girls there would like to marry a prince. Ideally William but they would settle for Harry.”
“They have different types of glasses for different drinks.”
“It’s dark for 10 months of the year so they all have excellent eyesight. Like badgers.”
(Full article here.)
The students themselves also never fail to live up to them sometimes, like when The Other Guys’ sang “St Andrews Girls” to take on Katy Perry’s California Girls (it’s basically St Andrews version of Pitch Perfect…).
Whatever these stereotypes, and I can guarantee you will meet people who fit them ALL and some who don’t fit ANY, the University of St Andrews is the best place to study. I advise those of you arriving for your first year in Scotland to make the most of every opportunity that is offered to you. As a WaMStA, our university/ college experience is certainly a unique one but the welcoming nature of fellow students and the beauty of the town will create memories that last a lifetime.
And now there are certain few things essential for your first year at St Andrews:
- Shaving Foam (girls too!) – all will become clear
- Thermals – even in the summer for some of our university’s more wacky traditions
- A willingness to be dressed up in ridiculous costumes
Also, if you do not visit Jannetta’s Ice Cream Parlour at least once during your time here, you will have denied yourself the deliciousness that is Alpine Avalanche (and all the other flavours too). They also stay open late for those evening ice-cream cravings.
Now that I’ve reached my second year and will be making the trip across the pond, there are a whole new set of stereotypes and cultural differences to contend with, perhaps first of all the linguistics. I am looking forward to my first year stateside and the new memories and friends to be made thanks to our one-of-a-kind degree programme. And hopefully this has made those of you coming to the UK feel a little better about your respective move and know that St Andrews is an absolutely brilliant place to live and study.
We encourage other WaMStAs who have questions or advice about the second year transition to comment below! If you’re interested in writing a full post, you can also contact us.