Angus Armstrong, a third year Economics student at UCSB, is spending a full academic year at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. His experience abroad has so far been enriching and stimulating and Angus has been able to dive in his biggest passion: sports. He attended the Varsity Rugby match in Edinburgh, played the world famous St Andrews links, and he is in the St Andrews Water Polo Team. We have asked Angus to tell us more about his experience in Scotland and what makes St. Andrews such a great destination.
As the train barreled across the Scottish countryside towards St Andrews, the weight of my situation started to set in. I would be studying here for an entire year, not returning to California until autumn of the next year. The range of emotions I was feeling, from apprehension to doubt slowly faded away as a smile cracked on my face. I was off on a new adventure that would no doubt be exciting, challenging and life-changing.
My decision to study at the University of St Andrews for the entire academic year was originally based off the fact that when I was a senior in high school, I was choosing between going to St Andrews and UCSB. I had visited St Andrews with my family during the spring of 2013, and while I really enjoyed it, I thought doing the majority of my education in the States was best for me. I wasn’t ready to move to a different continent at the time, and it was the right choice; I have no doubt enjoyed my first two years at UCSB more than I could have even imagined. But it was time to take that leap and see what an international life would be like.
And honestly, it has been such an incredible time so far. Since I’ve been here at the University of St Andrews, I’ve had some truly awesome experiences. I went to Edinburgh to watch the annual Scottish Varsity Rugby match between the University of St Andrews and the University of Edinburgh at the national stadium, Murrayfield. I’ve played countless rounds at the Home of Golf, the world famous St Andrews Links. Additionally, I’ve had a chance to travel all around the country with the St Andrews Water Polo team, which I joined as soon as I got here.
I played water polo for four years in high school, but hadn’t played in two years since going to UCSB. Getting back in the pool has been the single best thing I’ve done since coming here. Firstly, I love the team dynamic and all the guys I’ve met. Immediately I had a group of close-knit friends that have helped me tremendously in more ways than one in the past couple of months. Between practice, games, socials, or just hanging out with the guys watching sports, the friends I’ve made through water polo has been one of the best aspects of studying here.
I would recommend St Andrews to anyone. Obviously, the weather shock is tremendous; more days than not it is windy and gray, but it masks the landscapes around the city in striking long shadows that stretch across the farms. But sometimes, like today’s crisp, November afternoon, you get days of such an incredible blue sky that stretches from the North Sea in the East to the Kingdom of Fife in the West. But if you can get past the weather, people are friendly, classes are interesting, the architecture stunning, and the experience more than well worth it.