Maya, Level 3 Astrophysics, 2011

Maya studying for exams in the St Andrews sunshine

I came from my home in Bulgaria to St Andrews three years ago without knowing what to expect. It was my first time in the UK and I was just hoping that I would get used to the completely new environment easily. I was really pleasantly surprised when I found out that everybody around me was extremely friendly and helpful. I am a slightly shy person but during my first few weeks at university I managed to make a few new friends. St Andrews has a very international atmosphere, which makes it easy for the new students from outside the UK to feel more at home.

I chose this university simply because I wanted a good education in physics and astronomy. The approach to teaching here is a bit different from what I have seen back in my country. I love the fact that everybody makes sure that you understand the things that they are teaching you. There are always people you can ask for help and staff members are very approachable. The challenges in studying are also of a different nature. It took me quite a while to get used to the lab exercises for example because I had never done any of these before. We also had a few group projects which put us in more or less real research situations. I personally found these very useful and satisfying, since I am hoping to do research after I finish studying.

As I said, I came to St Andrews just because it was a good university but it turned out that there was so much more to it. There are various clubs and societies for example, which are an ideal place for meeting people with similar interests. I personally joined the Aikido Club and it turned out to be an amazing experience for me, and I made a lot of friends there. To all the students who are coming to study here I can only recommend to get involved in as many things as possible. It is a unique experience.


First published 23.8.11