Sixth months, it’s been sixth months since my last post! I certainly have not maintained the regular schedule of posts I had in mind when I first started this blog last year, but that is alright. If I haven’t written as much as I hoped to about college life and travel, it is only because I have been so busy enjoying college life and travel! Now that I am home for the summer, I finally have some time to share more tips and ideas which have helped me have a fantastic year in St Andrews and to share some of the adventures from my unconventional, transatlantic collegiate experience.
Well, first of all, I guess I have sixth months to account for, so why not look back on some of the highlights from a spring semester across the Pond?
A Fascinating Schedule
This semester, my courses included classes on British theatre, the history of the early and medieval Church, and opera studies. The wide and varied array of course offerings is one of my favourite things about St Andrews as well as William and Mary. When and where else would one have an
opportunity to research and write about alterations made to the character of Lady Macbeth in Giuseppe Verdi’s Italian opera adapted from Shakespeare’s Scottish play? While I loved my Church history class, I don’t mind leaving the weird and wonderful worlds of opera and theatre behind me for a while…
Like many of the highlights which will appear on this list, this was one of the things I did with our amazing Catholic Society in St Andrews! Campus ministries are such a blessing for students: both W&M’s Catholic Campus Ministry and St Andrews’ CathSoc (Catholic Society), are remarkable communities of young people united in Christ. Our CathSoc retreat was a peaceful weekend of prayer and fellowship held in the beautiful Highland setting of Pluscarden Abbey, a medieval monastery which is home to a community of Benedictine monks. We had lots of fun hiking, playing board games, and staging very silly photos.
After accepting an incredibly generous invitation from my friend Susan and her family, I spent my spring break staying with them in Warsaw, Poland! Warsaw is an amazing city with an inspiring history of perseverance in the face of oppression and destruction. Most of the city, roughly 80%, was demolished by the Nazis during WWII in response to the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. The Uprising in which the Polish Home Army bravely fought for three months to throw off the German occupation is a major source of national pride for the Polish people. Today, the demolished city has been rebuilt with a nod to its regal antebellum past and a sprinkling of both blockish Soviet and sleek post-modern architecture. We visited the city’s great museum dedicated to the Uprising. I also loved visiting Warsaw’s parks, old town centre, and grocery stores, with their unbelievably vast selection of yogurts and cheese. Most of all, I enjoyed my time with Susan and her lovely family! (Check out the rest of my photos from Warsaw on the Unconventional Collegiate Facebook page!)
Balls are popular fundraising events for student societies in St Andrews. Our ball was a fantastic evening of ceilidh dancing, raffle prizes, and merriment!
At St Andrews, class lectures end two weeks before exams commence, and exams are spread out over two more weeks. Though we have plenty of time to study, everyone still needs study breaks to de-stress and re-energize for more studying and exams. My friends and I took some time away from the books to cook together (we learned that making gnocchi is significantly more complicated than one would expect!), play board games, and go (miniature) golfing!
Just after my brother graduated with his bachelor’s degree in meteorology, he and my parents flew over the Scotland for a whirlwind tour of Britain. In two weeks, we explored St Andrews, Inverness, the Isle of Skye, and Stirling in Scotland and then flew down to London! Here are a few photos, but the rest will be on the Unconventional Collegiate Facebook page!
It certainly was a lovely and eventful semester! I can hardly believe nor do I even like to ponder the fact that I am now half-way done with my undergraduate studies in the joint degree programme. My time in Williamsburg and in St Andrews has been so full of joy, discovery, and friendship—thanks be to God!