There is far more to St Andrews than just being the place where Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, met Kate Middleton. In this ancient town with its modern student population, you’ll live amongst the locals and experience everyday life in Scotland. As you listen to the mix of international and Scottish accents on the streets, let your eyes enjoy the variety of independent shops, restaurants, cafes and galleries — you might also spot a celebrity or two. As for taste, try the Fisher and Donaldson bakery’s legendary fudge doughnuts, Jahangir’s award-winning tandoori specials, or eat at any of the three fish and chip shops on ‘Scotland’s best’ lists.
With this backdrop and its gold-award teaching and research status, it’s not surprising that the University of St Andrews is top in the UK for student academic experience according to the National Student Survey 2020. With a pre-degree foundation programme delivered by the International Education Institute at the University of St Andrews, you too can learn from world-leading teachers and experience the opportunities unique to this special place.
St Andrews is home to around 16,000 people and the University adds a further 12,000 with students and staff. The university town may be small in size but it is big in character. This means that as you work towards meeting your degree requirements, raise your English language proficiency, hone academic study skills, develop subject knowledge and settle down in an entirely new culture, you’ll have plenty of opportunity for adventure.
Firstly, while in the town, you’ll be surrounded by staff and students from over 140 nationalities. Every foundation student is guaranteed university accommodation, so you’ll be living close to your classes and sharing a flat with other foundation students. Students say this multi-cultural experience is one of the best things about their time in St Andrews and strong friendships are formed across nationalities, from class-mates to team-mates and, of course, flat-mates.
Secondly, there’s the scenery. For the perfect antidote to the classroom, head to the beautiful unspoilt beaches for some fresh clean air. Whether alone for a thoughtful stroll or hanging out with a group of friends, the two unbroken miles of the West Sands (where the opening scene of the film “Chariots of Fire” was filmed) never disappoint. For the adrenaline-seeking, take to the water by surfing the East Sands waves or check out other water sports such as sailing, sea kayaking, land yachting or windsurfing. Golfers can play in the sport’s birthplace, either at the legendary Old Course — the oldest and most iconic golf course in the world — or a dozen other world-class golf courses in the area.
The town also has the ruined St Andrews Cathedral — once Scotland’s largest cathedral and most magnificent church — plus a remarkable array of festivals, cultural events, and community participation. As grand as the monuments are and as jazzy as its social calendar is, St Andrews is still a tight-knit community where you can feel like a part of a big family (including canine companions).
To learn more about the international foundation programmes at the University of St Andrews, click here.