Lauren Neary of the women's soccer team spent the Spring 2017 semester in Scotland and writes about her time in the Northern British Isles. Here is her experience.
For my study abroad experience, I chose to attend the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. I traveled with one of my closest friends from Washington College, Sydney Rossetti. Coming to St. Andrews I expected to struggle with understanding my professors and peers, but luckily a large amount of St. Andrews students are also Americans. We started our adventure on January 17th and fortunately my parents willingly "volunteered" to take the journey with Sydney and I to get us settled in.
St. Andrews has three main streets consisting of two beaches, shops, restaurants, ruins, and is home to St. Andrews Links, the world's oldest golf course. I lived in residential housing; I lucked out and received one of the biggest rooms in my residence hall. The residence has the option to be catered or self-catered and I chose to be catered (I soon fell in love with Deliveroo which delivers from any restaurant in St. Andrews and I conveniently stopped going to the dining hall). The University also has numerous events for the students. Some of the most famous are the fashion shows, balls, polo tournament, and May Dip (this is a polar plunge on one of the town's beaches on May 1st to kick off the start of finals). I was lucky enough to attend all of these events.
I met two great friends during orientation that I ended up being very close with by the end. We travelled to places in Scotland such as Edinburgh, a large city in Scotland that is only an hour train ride from St. Andrews. Here we visited castles, saw bagpipers, and hit all the famous Harry Potter spots. We were also able to see the Chainsmokers, which is an experience I will never forget. Our next adventure was to Barcelona, which was a huge culture shock for us considering everyone in the United Kingdom speaks English. Nevertheless, we took Barcelona by storm for my friends 21st birthday. We had a great time seeing all the big sites such as La Sangria Familia, Park Guell, and La Boqueria.
The university provided two weeks for spring break. During this time my sister came over from the United States where we visited London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Dublin. All the locations were amazing, we were able to be in Dublin for St. Patrick's Day, ride the London eye with a champagne tour, and see the Eiffel Tower light up at night. Hopping from hostel to hostel was definitely the hardest part of the trip but it was worth it to experience the full culture of the cities with my sister and Sydney.
I also had the chance to visit my friend from home in Perugia, Italy for Easter. Perugia is a beautiful city and going to an Easter mass in Italian was very difficult to follow, but definitely worth the experience. We spent the whole weekend eating amazing truffle pasta, drinking cocktails with amazing views, and eating our weight in sweets. The last weekend of April was my last adventure with my trio of friends here in St. Andrews; we went to London to celebrate one of their 21st birthdays, and then ended the weekend with May Ball and May Dip. I then traveled to visit my cousin in Glasgow, Scotland for a weekend trip. Finally, I concluded my trip with my parents going to Edinburgh for a highland tour, Paris, London, and Iceland.
This has been an experience of a lifetime for me. I have traveled Europe before but I had the chance to do this on my own and I have learned a lot. I will miss St. Andrews but I am very excited to come home to visit my friends and family before returning to Washington College to kick off my junior year and get back into soccer season.