Move-in and Orientation Week

September 10, 2021

Hello from Scotland! Last Sunday, I arrived in St. Andrews and have been settling in and exploring the town since then. My first week has been rather busy, so (without going into too much detail) I'll break down what I did each day, from traveling to Scotland to moving in and participating in Orientation activities.

Saturday, September 4-Sunday, September 5

On Saturday afternoon, I flew out of Nashville to start my journey to Scotland. From Nashville, I flew through Newark, New Jersey and Frankfurt, Germany before arriving in Glasgow. During each layover, the airline required all passengers to produce their passports, vaccine records, negative Covid tests, and passenger locator forms in order to ensure that we were ready to enter the UK. This process made clearing customs in Glasgow relatively easy, as I was only required to have my passport scanned and a photo taken! At the airport, I met a taxi driver sent by the University and enjoyed a 2-hour journey through the countryside to St. Andrews.

When I arrived at my accommodation in St. Andrews--St. Regulus Hall--one of the assistant wardens showed me to my room and introduced me to my lovely roommate. My roommate was kind enough to help me lug my suitcases up two flights of stairs to our floor (there's no elevator in our building), and we began settling in and getting to know each other.

Monday, September 6

Although I managed to thwart jet lag pretty well, I woke up early Monday morning and decided to get some breakfast before running errands and exploring the town. I collected my day-2 Covid test and my red gown (worn by St. Andrews undergraduate students), then discovered a plant sale at the student union. I picked up a maidenhair fern and a small pot to sit on my nightstand. After trying on and storing my gown and setting up my wee fern, I went on a walk through St. Andrews to the cathedral ruins, down the pier, and through St. Salvator's quad. The day ended with a luau-themed party in the St. Regulus Hall Annex garden, which I left early to get some much-needed rest.

Tuesday, September 7

On Tuesday morning I took another walk through town, this time trying to take notice of the stores, coffee shops, and restaurants that I might spend more time in later. In the afternoon I had 2 meetings online, one to complete my advising for the semester and another to check that my documents were all in order. After those meetings, I took the Lade Braes Walk to the Sports Centre and visited the "Freshers' Fayre" to learn more about clubs on campus. The day ended with a walk to the beach for a bonfire with other students in my residence hall. We were provided marshmallows to roast, but the sticks for the marshmallows were very short and the fire was very large, so I ate mine cold. Some folks used the sticks and marshmallows to construct a longer stick for roasting, while one person dug a trench near the fire to shield himself from the heat while his marshmallows cooked.

Wednesday, September 8

On Wednesday I slept in and missed breakfast, probably worn out from walking to and from the beach. When I did finally get up, the weather was warm and sunny, so I went for another long walk, this time toward the Old Course and back through another part of town. On the way, I stopped at the Wardlaw Museum, which displays some University artifacts and student art exhibitions. When I returned from my walk it was time for dinner, then my roommate and I went to Jannetta's Gelateria for some ice cream and watched Hot Fuzz at a hall movie night.

Thursday, September 9

Thursday was a rainy day, so I mostly stayed inside and worked on some arrangements for classes. I had an online lecture in the morning, which convinced me to switch to a different class (the material was too much review, and I wanted more of a challenge). This is my finalized class list:

  • Elementary Greek

  • Introduction to Archaeology

  • Culture and Thought in the Late Roman Republic

My roommate and I ventured out to Tesco after lunch, where we picked up some snacks and other essentials. Then, we watched Parks and Rec before winding down for bed.

Friday, September 10

I slept in again on Friday, or "had a lie-in" as they say over here, then tried to find my textbooks at a used bookstore in town. I picked up a copy of Sallust's Catiline War, but wasn't lucky enough to find any of my other texts. After lunch, I took another long walk through a new part of town, but soon found myself in the town centre again to have a cup of tea and a scone. I also stopped into Topping and Company, an absolutely fantastic bookstore with floor-to-ceiling shelves and cozy chairs for reading, and browsed for a while. This brings us to the present, where I am typing this blog post after dinner!

My first week in St. Andrews has been wonderful! It has been strange having so much free time the week before classes start--I'm used to moving in on a weekend and going to class the next Monday--but I have tried to make the most of the time by getting oriented in town and preparing for classes. Right now, I'm most excited for classes to begin and to start trying all the shops and restaurants I've been scoping out. I can already tell that this will be an amazing semester!