I know I mentioned this summer that I would be blogging for Holy Cross from St. Andrews… of course, life has completely gotten away from me and I am writing my first blog post now!
I have officially been here for a month and three days (!!) and I could not be any more in love. Of course, St. Andrews is very different from Holy Cross both academically and socially which has been a huge adjustment. I am going to reflect on some of the differences in this post which hopefully illuminates just how special these two schools are and how choosing to spend the year at St. Andrews is the perfect complement to my Holy Cross educational experience.
I arrived at St. Andrews about a week before classes began, so I had a week to explore beautiful St. Andrews and just orient myself. During this week, we had to “queue” for hours in order to choose the two classes we would be taking for the semester. SO DIFFERENT. At Holy Cross, we all set our alarms for 6 in the morning and perch at our computers so that we can submit our class selection at 7 AM. So, just 9 days before classes began… I had NO idea what I would be taking. I signed up for Organized Crime and Corruption (an IR class) and Revolutions and Romanticism (English). And of course, switching classes is near impossible.. luckily, at HC we have advisors and professors that work closely with us throughout our four years in order to ensure that we take the classes we really want to take. The UK system is just a lot slower than what we are used to in America, and it is definitely hard to get used to. None of the offices work together and I am constantly being redirected. I do miss Hogan and how everything I possibly needed was in that building.. or in Fenwick!
I heard that the St. Andrews course load is a lot harder than Holy Cross, and I quietly dismissed this notion because…. how could I have class for only 4 hours a week and have classes be HARDER than HC? However, even though I only have four hours of class a week (and by extent a four day weekend…) the courses require that you do a lot of supplemental reading in addition to the required reading. Oh, and although the assignments are few and far between, they are a lot longer…. currently avoiding writing a 15 page paper…
I was told that studying abroad for a year would be a nice break.. that I would be able to travel every weekend and go out whenever I wanted. I think a lot of people think of study abroad as a complete break from school work and all extra curricular responsibilities. I just want to clarify that that is not what it is like at St. Andrews. Although people go out a lot more than they do at Holy Cross (there is just a more active night life because people are legal to drink! hah), I don’t feel like I am taking a year off. Because the school is so much larger than Holy Cross and the campus is spread out throughout the town, the only real way to establish meaningful friendships is through really getting involved in “Societies” and throwing yourself into the student life at St. Andrews. This especially is so different from Holy Cross where I met most of my best friends in the bathroom that we all shared on our hall.
Even though I have only been here a month, I can already tell that my year at St. Andrews will give me a new appreciation for everyone and everything at Holy Cross. I already miss the individualized attention from professors and career planning! That being said, I think that studying abroad was the perfect decision for me.. and I urge anyone that is considering to study at St. Andrews to read my personal blog where I am trying to document more of more personal moments while abroad! https://carolineekeane.wordpress.com/
Thanks for reading!
Caroline Keane '17