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Activities for St Andrews, Scotland

USAC students are members of the university’s Students’ Association and are able to participate fully in university activities, student organizations, and sports. There are more than 200 student societies and sports teams to choose from, designed to meet a diverse range of interests – from academic to cultural, from recreational to political, and from charitable to the downright silly. Joining a student society or sports team is a great way to get involved, meet people with similar interests, and become integrated into campus life. Popular options for international students include the New Global Normal society (fostering intercultural connection through events and language exchanges), Folk and Traditional Music, the Breakaway society (exploring Scotland through hiking and hill walking), and Fine Food and Dining (experiencing the best cuisine St Andrews has to offer). Several student societies and associations work on volunteer projects or organize campaigns for charity; these are great opportunities to simultaneously get to know fellow students and contribute to the local community.

There are also several formal Balls planned each year, including Residence Balls, Freshers’ Ball, the Mermaids Christmas Ball, and the Graduation Ball in May. Students can also try Scottish dancing at the St Andrews Day Ceilidhs in November and sample haggis on Burn’s Night in January. In addition, the University of St Andrews has many ancient traditions in which study abroad students can participate, including pier walks, Raisin Monday foam “fights,” May Dips in the nearby North Sea, and post-exam soakings.

The history of golf goes back 600 years and began in Scotland. As a student at the University of St Andrews, you can choose to purchase a discounted Links Ticket, which allows you limited access to all seven local golf courses. A visitor would pay an equivalent amount for just one round at any of these courses!

Depending on the subjects and courses you have chosen to study at St Andrews, there may be field or weekend trips around Scotland, or even further in the U.K. For example, classes in Earth Sciences or Marine Biology may see students investigating the local coastline, while students of Philosophy may be invited to The Burn, a Perthshire retreat, for the weekend. Students in Art History may be taken to the art galleries in Edinburgh, and students of English may be invited to listen to world-famous authors and poets during the annual Stanza Festival in St Andrews.

You are also encouraged to participate in the opportunities listed below.

Cultural Immersion Opportunities

  • Explore the remains of St Andrews Cathedral, once the largest church in Scotland.
  • Participate in one of the University of St Andrews many traditions, such as May Dip, Raisin Monday, or post-exam soakings.
  • Climb to the top of St Rule’s Tower for spectacular views of St Andrews and the surrounding area.
  • Don your best attire and attend a student-organized Ball.
  • Discover the natural beauty of the nearby Fife and Angus coasts.
  • Play a round of golf on the historic Old Course.
  • Learn about St Andrews’ medieval past at the town museum, located in Kinburn Park.
  • Experience an evening of Scottish ceilidh dancing.
  • Participate in language exchanges hosted by the New Global Normal society.
  • Celebrate Scotland’s national flag during St Andrew’s Day, with traditional Scottish food and music (November).
  • Honor Scottish poet Robert Burns during the Burns Supper celebration (January).
  • Visit nearby Dundee to explore the region’s maritime heritage, discover archaeological finds, and browse fine art galleries.