Ian MacDougal ’14 – What comes to mind when someone says St. Andrews? The Old Course and R&A or the place where William met Kate. To me, St. Andrews represents a home away from home. I have been in Scotland for about two months now, and I can honestly say it has been an experience of a lifetime. St. Andrews is a beautiful little coastal town void of any big name superstores or any fast food restaurants. Add the fact that it is a college town with a lively atmosphere of old and new, St. Andrews is my kind of place. When I started my classes, I had no idea what to expect going to the 3rd oldest English speaking university, let alone it being co-ed. Classes here offer a lot more freedom to study a particular aspect of a topic, but discussion lacks in comparison to Wabash.
Outside of classes, I have ducked away from the other 30 Americans in my study abroad program to spend time with British students. One opportunity that this experience has afforded me was a chance to play football (soccer) again. The athletics system here is less structured compared to the NCAA. I train Mondays and Thursdays with the ones, Monday morning and Thursday afternoons with the twos, Tuesday afternoon with the threes, and goalkeeper training on Tuesday night. We play Wednesdays against other universities in Scotland, while Saturdays are reserved for Fife Amateur League games. I have had the pleasure of playing for all four teams within a two-week span. I have had so much fun playing soccer again, especially with people from all over Europe. It has taught me a lot about the game. I was named Man of the Match in four out of ten games thus far. In my time here, I helped the ones to their first league title in ten years and guided the twos to a league cup finals appearance.
St. Andrews also offers a two-week spring vacation. After my classes on Friday, I took a bus to Glasgow then a train to Manchester for a United game. After spending the morning exploring the Museum of Science and Industry, I headed over the Old Trafford four hours before the game. The stadium was amazing and the atmosphere was indescribable. I spent about two hours in the store alone buying souvenirs for my family and girlfriend. Once the gates opened, I went to my seat and watched United warm up and then play Reading to a 1-0 win. I was able to sing the songs of the United faithful at Old Trafford, a dream come true.
I then traveled to Oban on the west coast. I was able to explore the castle Dunollie where the MacDougall clan has resided since the times of William Wallace. It was so interesting to be able to walk in the same ground as my ancestors and see the MacDougall museum. I learned so much about my family’s history. After climbing Ben Cruachan and discovering another family castle, I headed back to St. Andrews only to hit a snag in housing for an evening. Fortunately, Bash Bunks and Mark Osnowitz ’12 gave me a place to stay for the evening.
Once back in St. Andrews, I played 18 rounds of golf in 8 days. The Links offers a student ticket of 180 pounds to play unlimited golf for the year. Sadly, I have not had the opportunity to play the Old Course yet, but I know I will get a few rounds in before the end of my time here. The 7 courses are unbelievable. They are challenging but fun at the same time. You have to be on your A-game to play well.
I am only halfway through, but I know this has been an experience of a lifetime. I have crossed so many things off my bucket list in the past two months alone. My advice to future Wabash students is take advantage of these opportunities that Wabash affords you. While I do love it here, I am looking forward to whistling Back Home Again in Indiana when I step off that plane and back into my loved ones arms.
Taking the WAF spirit around the world.
Cheers from Bonnie Old Scotland