University of St. Andrews


University of St Andrews


St Andrews is a beautiful little university town littered with beaches, old buildings and freely roaming wild hares. St Andrews is part of the region of Fife, a lovely coastal area home to numerous golf courses, forests, beaches, old people and animals. Great for walking, cycling and breathing in fresh air. The weather in St Andrews can be erratic. Do not be surprised to experience hail, snow, rain and sunshine in a single day. As a coastal area on the East, St Andrews has largely escaped the worst of Scottish weather conditions. It is warm for its position this far in the north, with temperatures comparable to the English Midlands. Winds tend to be strong, but nothing a Victorian is too weak for. For a reminder of city dwelling, Dundee and Edinburgh are half an hour and an hour away respectively.

School Life

As the home of golf, it hosts regularly golf tournaments and has welcomed guests such as Hugh Grant and Ronan Keating. Its star quotient was also upped when Prince William made it his choice of higher education. As Scotland’s oldest university (Britain’s third oldest after Oxford and Cambridge), it will appeal also to tradition-enthusiasts. School traditions include the typical dead-founder-haunts-old-building, VJ-style running into the sea at the crack of dawn, and the bizarre foam fight in fancy dress after a drinking marathon which starts at breakfast the morning before.

Making full advantage of its many faculties, St Andrews offers the opportunity to explore new interests in the first 2 years. Each student is required to take 3 modules each semester, only 1 of which is prerequisite for your major. These additional 2 modules can come from any faculty, and allow for the option of switching Honours degree or doing a Joint Honours degree. (This means you could graduate with a Joint Honours in Astronomy and Arabic if you wanted to!) The results of the first 2 years do not count to your degree grade, so it is properly the freedom to experiment.


The student crowd is extremely international. There are few Singaporeans relative to the more popular British universities, but with a sizeable Southeast Asian community. Expect to be surrounded by British (this means English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh), Americans and Europeans.

Settling In

Estimated costs of living:
Accommodation – Ranging from £2300 to £5000 per academic year for self-catered halls, and £4300 to £6500 for catered halls
Transport – Minimal within St Andrews, everything is within walking or cycling distance
Food – A meal deal (sandwich + drink + small snack) goes for £3. Cooking your own food is much cheaper, though prices are generally higher than other parts of Britain.

Recommended for:

  • The confused (or broadly interested)
  • Those who enjoy peace, nature and being able to see stars every night
  • The adventurous (it is nothing like Singapore, and there really aren’t that many of us around to cushion initial impact of changed circumstances)
  • The golf enthusiast

Unsuitable for:

  • The city dweller


Xiao Xian Goh
International Relations and Anthropology (First Year Undergraduate) ’09/10
VJC 07S41