Bridgette Dagher '18

Hello loyal followers of the blog. This is officially my last post for my year abroad. My finals have been taken, my mom has crossed the pond, we have packed up, and I am back in the comfort of my home. Reflecting on all my blog posts I am overwhelmed by feelings of nostalgia and fervent pride. I am so proud that I was given the opportunity to to take part in this amazing experience – an experience I will be for ever grateful that my parents and Holy Cross made available to me. While I will miss Scotland with all my heart, I can’t wait for life to resume back on Long Island and my summer internship at Birchbox in New York City to start. A little part of me was left in St Andrews, and I look forward to the day I touch back down on the soft shore of the East Sands.

I thought it would be fun to reflect on my year not with words, but with numbers. I feel I have used my wordy prose enough over the past blogs. Here are the concrete facts of my year abroad, enjoy!

flights taken: 27 (including the infamous Oslo to Edinburgh cancellation mid-flight)

missed flights: 0 (the statistic I am the most proud of)

finals taken: 5 (3 first semester, 2 second semester)

dervish “chips and cheese” orders: 10 (it could be more but I could only find photographic evidence for 10)

postcards bought/sent: 65/22 (Casey makes fun of me for buying 3 in every city but only sending one… apparently she never has heard of collecting!)

facetimes home: 194 (my phone records only went from March 28th to May 22nd, so just imagine how many it’s been since September :D)

new instagram posts: 27

countries I’ve visited: 11

days that it’s rained: ~175

number of times I was locked out of my room: (all five times being only in the first week!)

slang/british sayings I’ve integrated into my everyday vocab: 3-5 (favorites being: lad(s), proper, and cheers)

shards of seaglass picked up on the East Sands: ~300 (1 large Nutella jar and 2 smaller Nutella jars filled)

hours it took Casey, Taylor and I to hike 7 miles of the Fife Coastal Path: (in our defense, it was the hardest section of the path and it was getting dark…)

10+ hour marathons in the library: 7 

hours on the dance floor at the B2D marathon: 10

trips into Edinburgh: 6

Brunches at Golf Cafe after Sunday mass: 8

balls attended: (Opening Ball, Nobel Ball, SnowBall & Psych Ball)

cleaning inspections passed: (all of them!)

photos in my camera roll from August 31st: 1,228 (60 videos as well!)

days since I left: 2

memories made in my 9 months here: countless!

What a year! Thanks to everyone who made it special and memorable, you know who you are. Special thanks to Mom & Dad, without you I would be nothing! Finally, thanks to the anonymous readers for following this grand adventure. Talk to you soon.



Pics or it didn’t happen

Ireland saying goodbye in Irish fashion. After a short trip to Dublin, Mom and I were greeted with a rainbow as we boarded our Ryanair flight to Edinburgh

Doing a final pier walk in the traditional St Andrews red gowns.

Goodbye lunch at Forgans with Alicia, Lorna, and Alexa. Alicia and Alexa will be 4th years next semester and Lorna is graduating this year (insert tears). Love these girls!!

I needed a picture on Swilken Bridge with the red gown. Iconic St Andrews stuff

My favorite souvenir from my time at St Andrews, a half zip sweatershirt with my course on it. PsychNeuro forever

Group shot from Lorna’s soaking, a tradition where 4th years are soaked with water and glitter when they exit their last exam.

Another prized pick up before I left: A StABCo tee shirt. Although I never drank the Wee Blond, I did enjoy many Thistly Crosses in the little pub.

My brother John decorated my room before I landed. He’s a great kid. Good to be back!

Hi! Here’s a bit of an overdue recap of the lovely month of April. As I am writing this, I have just finished my last final at St Andrews, meaning my junior year is officially over. But I still have 10 days until my flight on the 22nd. 10 days left in this town, and there are still so many things I want to do!! Wish me luck that I do them 🙁 In the meantime, enjoy this post. April was a fun month.

Cork Kids meet St Andrews

The first weekend of April we were lucky to welcome some long overdue guests to Blackfriars 12. Jack, Maggie and Meg arrived on Thursday looking forward to a weekend of non-stop Scottish antics. What they got was a night of karaoke, afternoons spent watercoloring, misguided Fife Coastal hikes, a tour of the Highlands, and daily gelato (sometimes twice in one day, the scandal!). We went tanning Scottish style- when the weather is slightly over 55 and sunny, so you lay on the beach in your jeans and jumpers taking in the rays. We caught up on all things HC and abroad while sitting on St Mary’s Quad, how very college of us. Although they were here for 5 days, it was still too short. Miss you guys!

Born to Dance!

On April 21st, months of hard work finally came to fruition. I mentioned before that I was a part of the Born to Dance Marathon subcommittee which puts on a dance marathon benefiting the amazing charity Save the Children. My job on the Publicity team was to get the word out through social media, traditional media (posters and email), and sponsored events. The dance marathon itself was 12 hours of non-stop fun and dancing with prizes, photo ops, and other things sprinkled in. I wrote my ICIP (intercultural immersion project) for Holy Cross on our weekly meetings, going behind the scenes of what goes into planning and executing a charity event. As the Four Seasons said, “Oh what a night!”


April showers bring sadness to April babies. But, being an April baby myself, Scotland’s gift to me was some really nice days to counteract the habitual gloom (except April 24th when it actually SNOWED. Not just flurries but massive globs of snow falling from the sky. Scotland is crazy). Casey’s 21st was on April Fool’s Day but I didn’t prank her because I’m a great friend. I decorated the flat with some balloons and streamers. A champagne flavored cake was made by myself and Taylor. It was a fun time. The celebrations didn’t end, luckily, because my 21st falls right at the tail end of the month… a little more on that later.

St Andrews Polo Match

I finally was able to go to an event I was looking forward to for months. I think I bought my tickets in January. The creme de la creme of St Andrews events. The St Andrews Charity Polo match was one for the books. I never have been to a polo match before so I was ready to see what it was like, if it lived up to the hype. I can report it did not disappoint. Buses transported passengers to a remote field in Perth. Lush, spacious and wickedly cold – the grounds were decked out in a large white tent separating general admission from VIP and VVIP. A Tesla Model X was parked on the lawn for curious people to hop in and out, taking pictures with their champagne bottles. Food trucks selling trendy takes on classic foods (truffle grilled cheeses, crab on fries, and halloumi sticks – to name a few offerings) snaked around the back area. A helicopter landed on the field during intermission to promote a veteran charity and everyone tried to convince their friends on social media that Prince William made a quick stop to watch his alma mater play his favorite sport (a lie, sadly). Everyone was dressed for the event but definitely not for the weather. Still the match, the little I got to actually watch, was really interesting. Maybe this will be my new hobby when I return home (probably not – but hey, a girl can dream!)

Greece is the word

Back to the birthday celebrations. I was lucky that my birthday fell right at the beginning of our 2 week revision period before finals. Casey and I discussed that we wanted to go somewhere warm for our last “hoorah!” abroad. I tried to sell her on Greece and after some diligent persuasion, we agreed to spend a week and change in Greece. On the 25th, only a few hours after presenting my ICIP project, we flew to London to spend the night. So I spent my 21st birthday in an airport hotel. Casey bought me little bottles of rose at the duty free shop so it wasn’t all bad. Plus in the morning we were flying to Santorini to spend a week in the Grecian sun – so I’ll call it a pretty great way to spend a birthday 🙂 Santorini was nothing less than amazing. It is so hard to put it into words, so I’ll let the pictures attached below do the talking (although some of the pictures still can’t do it justice). After Santorini we spent a few days getting cultured in Athens and then flew back to London. We we’re in London for only a few hours before we got the Caledonian Sleeper train back to St Andrews, pulling in at 5:45am. It was an amazing recharge before finals.

I think this will be my last recap for the blog. Before I leave to go home (10 days!!!) I will update on finals and saying goodbye. Ugh, I hate that word. Talk to you soon.



Pics or it didn’t happen

Jack, Maggie, and Meg enjoying their 1st (and certainly not last) Jannetta’s gelato


Our tour company thought they were punny – big fans of the Hairy Coo


A real life hairy coo!


The balloons from our Born to Dance marathon


St Andrews Charity Polo Match – it’s an (academic) family affair 🙂

Ringing my 21st year with some sticky toffee pudding at Mitchells


Sunset views of Fira, Santorini


Pork souvlaki, my kind of lunch


I have the sunset at my fingertips


Sunset catamaran cruise around Santorini with Casey. I made sure to filter out my insane sunburn that is still peeling 2 weeks later 🙂 (sorry- TMI)


Temple of Athena Nike in the Akropolis.


Views over (one side of) Athens. The population is roughly 4 million people, not 600k like Siri told me. Never trust technology these days.

Studying abroad is a daunting concept for most people. How is it possible to leave my friends, family, professors, and all my activities for a semester? How about leaving everything you find comforting and entering a whole new culture… for a whole year??? This was the dilemma I struggled with when I was applying to study abroad. As much as I wanted to leave my comfort zone, passport in hand, there was a lot of things that could have prevented me from taking the leap. I wanted to write this post for anyone debating on staying for the year and show why I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. (Disclaimer: some of these tidbits are St Andrews-specific, some are more general. They are all based on my experience studying abroad and does not reflect anyone else’s thoughts unless explicitly stated.)

1. More time, in general

A familiar scenario: Your friends who are studying for a semester are gone every weekend, trying to cram in every ounce of European travel as they can. Their lives in their host city are Monday to Friday, or sometimes even Tuesday to Thursday. They complain about discovering things right before they leave to go home for break and wish they spent more time in their host city in hindsight. If you’re studying for the year, there is no pressure to jet off as soon as your last class ends. You have more time to plan out trips, enjoy where you are, and explore in a relaxed way. You have the ability to experience all 4 seasons (location permitting), and how many people can say they’ve seen Scotland during Christmas time? Or in the spring, when the daffodils are in bloom?

2. Making friends outside your program

Especially at St Andrews, you are encouraged (nay – required!!) to expand out of your HC friend circle. This sounds like freshman year all over again, rapidly meeting and getting to know people, which it kind of is. But it is a lot easier than you think. St Andrews is unique in that it facilitates bonding throughout the class years. Academic families and Raisin weekend is a great way to meet people in a relaxed way. Most HC students are not put together in the same flats (Casey and I are the only exception) and most flats have up to 5 other people sharing a kitchen with you! You are bound to hit it off with some of them, if not all. Shared lectures, practicals, social events, friends of friends, societies – these are some of the ways that you can expand your network internationally. You won’t regret trying to strike up conversation in the long run! (Special shoutout to the best academic mums a girl could ask for, Alexa and Alicia, couldn’t have survived this year with out you guys!)

3. Saying you lived abroad for a significant amount of time

Let’s be honest, the world is becoming more and more competitive. In some areas, getting into PRESCHOOL is all based on who you know. Sometimes we need something that sets us apart from other U.S. college students. St Andrews has one of the most revered International Relations departments in Europe, if not the world. I implore students who are interested in anything foreign (markets, policy, tourism, etc) to consider studying here- my IR friends say many of their professors are the authors of all the major texts and articles they learn about… but I digress. From my experience talking with students from Europe, a lot of them take gap-years where they travel or work before they go to university. Not only are they more mature when they start college, but they have added experiences that are hard to come by once they graduate. Consider this your gap-year just with more studying!

4. Makes you really appreciate home

Distance makes the heart grow fonder. I’m not going to sugar coat this, it can be really hard to miss holidays, birthdays, and important events back home (I just had to spend Easter in the library – how fun!).  I was never so excited to spend a month at home at Holy Cross as I was when I boarded my plane en route to JFK. A whole month! Being home! With my family! And friends!!! It sounded like a dream. I realized that although I went to school in another state, I never was truly away. At HC, my clothes aren’t even fully unpacked by the time I am repacking for October break. Every time I walk through the door when a break begins, my dad jokes, “You’re home all the time! What am I paying for??” (A joke – obviously. He loves when I’m home and sometimes begs me to visit on weekends :-] ). Thanksgiving break. Christmas break. Spring Break. Easter Break. I WAS ALWAYS HOME! Now we are an ocean away and our time together is virtual. And that’s ok! I’ve learned to adjust instead of feeling melancholy, because in a few months I’ll see photos of the new crop of juniors studying here and I’ll feel that FOMO all over again. Only this FOMO will be harder to cure.

5. Becoming engrained into the community

As I said in one of my first posts, I felt like I finally “made it” when someone asked me for directions. This person thought I looked like I knew my way around well enough that I could help her, which is a huge compliment. That was October. Now it’s May. I know most of the shortcuts to class, what time to avoid the Pret lunch rush, and the best section of the library to sit in when you don’t want to be seen (third floor silent section bar stools facing the ocean). Casey mentioned that after 9 months of being in the U.K. it will be weird to see cars drive on the right side of the road again. After 21 years of living in the States and 4+ of them driving on the roads, this small cultural shift has affected her more than she expected. You need to have a non-study abroad mentality when you’re here longer than a semester. You go here full time, act like it. Make conversation with people who work in your building, get to know them. Habituate a coffee shop you love until they remember your order by heart. Buy a school sweatshirt and wear it proudly.

6. You really ~change~ abroad

I know, I know. The classic study abroad phrase everyone loves to hate. “I found myself abroad!” “I really changed after my time studying abroad!” Many people will respond with a strained smile and feigned enthusiasm. Deep down they’re really thinking, Really? Going out 5 times a week and jetting to some glitzy destination really changed you? There is some merit to that idea, but what a lot of people who study abroad don’t like to indulge in is the less than glamorous side of their time away. Like life in general, your semester or year culminates much deeper than what is shown on the filtered moments of Instagram. No one wants to hear about how frustrating it can be trying to keep up with conversations when you’re still not fluent in the language, or how you needed to keep to a strict budget for the first time in your life. Even the little things like different currency or social customs of the area find a way to become ingrained into the way you behave. The longer you are inundated with these changes, the longer it will take to shake them. So maybe you won’t hop off the plane inspired to be the next Gandhi or Elon Musk, but there are experiences and lessons you can only gain from studying abroad that you will carry with you for the rest of your life.

7. When else in your life can you do this?

Once college is over we are thrust into the abyss of being an adult *dun dun dun*. Not everyone has the luxury of taking a gap between getting a job or starting grad school. You have the opportunity now, what’s stopping you?

8. You won’t regret it.

Point blank. You won’t. I’ve never met anyone or heard second-hand that they wish they didn’t stay for the year and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

I hope this has shined a light on the option of studying abroad for the year. I could have never predicted what this year has done for me in all spheres of my life – emotionally, physically, mentally, socially, spiritually. As I am aware that this option is not for everyone, given the opportunity I feel inclined to express what it can do for people who are curious. If have not convinced you or swayed you a little bit, let me leave you with the words of Kelly Clarkson to inspire you:

“I’ll make a wish, take a chance, make a change, and breakaway”



Hello, hello… is this thing on? Yes, after another 2 month hiatus from the blog I am back with a new post. In the last post, I was just arriving back to St Andrews to start my final semester abroad (Seriously, where does the time go?!?). And wow, what the last 2 months have been! Here are a few headlines from the last post until now to catch you up:


February was a relaxing month with no guests or travels. Highlights:

– Joining a Hot Yoga studio and getting back to doing yoga on a daily basis. The 20 minute walk from Fife Park to the studio cuts through a nature walk, a primary school and a park so it’s enjoyable to say the least.

– Continuing to work on the B2D marathon’s publicity, including filming and editting a promotion video with my team members. Our dance marathon is so close and all the hard work is finally showing results. (Link to our page:

– Honing in my cooking skills by watching hours worth of Tasty videos. I learned how to make gluten free banana muffins and cauliflower pizza crust while refining my kale chip recipe. Thankful I can use my flatmates as my taste testers/guinea pigs.

– Exploring more and more of Edinburgh. I saw my friend Kate from high school. Kate is from Australia and I am from NY. The fact that we happened to be in Edinburgh at the same time is the definition of a small world. (If you’re reading this Kate, g’day mate!!!)


While February was a chill month, March was the complete opposite. Not only did I have a guest (my best friend Olivia from LI), I was travelling for 2 weeks of Spring Break. Highlights:

– Showing Olivia St Andrew’s ‘Ball-Culture’ by bringing her to SnowBall, sponsored by SAS.

– Spotting Nessie on the Highland & Loch Ness tour Olivia and I took (I have pictures to prove it!)

– Spending the whole first week of SB in Galway (The Kings Head, the Galway Street Club, watercolor painting, the doughnut man, silent disco, day trips galore, St Pats in Ireland, and LADS! LADS! LADS! / Shoutout to Kassy for not only being an amazing hostess but for always being up for playing Ed Sheeran’s new album on repeat)

– Spending the 2nd week of SB on The Scandinavian World Tour – stops including Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo and Bergen (Casey teaching Taylor and I how to play Michigan Rummy, trying and failing to use public hammocks, finding out Scandinavian mothers leave their babies outside in strollers when they go to coffee shops???, overpriced ice bars, the most beautiful malls in the world, Emilie hosting us at her magnificent home, hanging out in a literal cloud, our plane back to St Andrews being delayed/turned around mid flight/cancelled)


For the sake of brevity, I hope these quick tidbits are enough to hold you over until the next post which I promise will be very soon! Check out my pictures to see more photographic evidence of all the fun I had. Normally scheduled programming next time. Ok, I am off to write 2 papers while Harry Styles’ new song loops in the background. Talk to you soon.



Pics or it didn’t happen

An ominous instalment outside the National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh

Grabbing a quick pic in front of Bidean nam Bian, the tallest mountain range in Scotland. Behind me is the Three Sisters of Glen Coe, which are complex snowcapped mountain ridges

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Meghan, Kassy and I with the Cliffs. Although you can by my hair that the wind was whipping that day, we lucked out with spectacular weather for landscape pics

Hanging out with Danish Royal Horses, the closest I’ll ever be to royalty probably :/

Nyhavn harbor in Copenhagen, Denmark

Views from the top of a church in Copenhagen. Those with a fear of heights, beware

Bergen harbor (Bryggen). Reminiscent of Nyhavn, but rainier and more mountainous

Taylor and I enjoy the view of a cloud where Bergen should be. Majestic

Enjoying a cappuccino at the British Golf Museum Cafe, my go-to brunch spot after Sunday morning mass. This was a routine in February

Olivia and I enjoying SnowBall. We enjoyed the fire pits and the DJ’s shared love of ABBA

Olivia and I taking in the beauty that is the Highlands

Galway getting ready for St Patrick’s Day

Taylor, Casey, Olivia and I at SnowBall

This man here makes the best doughnuts I have ever tasted. He told us a woman from Kenya is trying to make him come to Africa to sell his doughnuts. THEY ARE THAT GOOD. Kassy and I went every day he was at the farmer’s market. He is a lad

What’s more Irish than a pint of Guinness and a view of Dublin?

All the Galway lads, including some random Irish people who laughed at our dancing. Lads Night Out #LNO

Taking in the lights of Stockholm’s equivalent to Times Square

Setting for breakfast at Emilie’s gorgeous home in Oslo. Situated in the mountains, there was a fantastic view of Oslo below. Taylor, Casey and I were just happy to eat a home cooked meal after a few days of Airbnb surfing

Norwegian sunsets

Just hanging on the stoop of the Norwegian Royal Palace, getting photobombed by other random tourists

Posing inside a cloud in Bergen. This one is for my Norwegian ancestors

Nessie cruising along side the boat on our Loch Ness boat tour.


Hello loyal blog readers! Sorry for the long hiatus, the past month and change has been well spent with family and friends back home in New York. Although leaving the bubble that is St Andrews, Scotland was a bummer, my excitement to see all my loved ones in person totally outweighed that.

The last post was me talking about my final trip of the first semester. Since then I studied for and took three final exams, visited the Edinburgh Christmas Market, watched all 8 Harry Potter movies within 72 hours, and went on an Eden Mill gin tour! As I write this post, I am travelling on a train from King’s Cross, London to Leuchars (St Andrews). I have just spent the past 5 days with my brother John exploring the amazing city of London and doing some unforgettable things. Now I have a 5 hour train ride to reflect and catch up on the highlights of the past 60 days in this long over due post.


HC doesn’t have a whole week for final preparation. Other than that, though, there isn’t much of a difference between finals week between the two schools. It is equally as stressful and tiring. My history final had so many people in it (I think 150+) that we filled the whole gymnasium snuggly. That was crazy since my largest final was Intro to Psych freshman year with way less than half the people. My finals schedule was nice because they were spaced decently and ended a week before I booked my trip home, giving me a nice chunk of time to decompress, pack, and hang with Taylor and Casey before we went our separate ways.

Home for the holidays

When I got off the plane at JFK, my lovely/amazing/thoughtful parents were there to pick me up with a bouquet of red roses. I swear everyone thought they were waiting for a soldier coming back from war and were disappointed when a little girl with a huge NYC skyline suitcase and rainbow backpack came out. That aside, it was the best way to start off a great break with people I love so dearly. Christmas was spent with family. My high school friends all got together for our annual Yankee Swap/Secret Santa hybrid and caught up about school and how crazy it is that we’re juniors in college. New Year’s was spent in Massachusetts, my first NYE without my family. Don’t worry, I made sure to call my parents right at midnight! I met up with all my HC pals while we also caught up about being abroad and life in general. The rest of break was spectacularly relaxed. I think one of the highlights was my dentist telling me I didn’t have any cavities after a whole semester of eating Malteasers. I caught up on LOTS AND LOTS of Bravo with Mom and ran errands with Dad on the weekends. I love being home.

London calling

As part of my brother’s Christmas gift from my parents, they sent us to London for almost a week before our classes began. John is a mellow kid who goes with the flow, but nothing in the world gets him more excited than soccer (European football to be more exact). My gift to him was getting both of us Arsenal FC tickets at the illustrious Emirates Stadium, a his favorite team of all time, for the last day in London. That’s what he was looking forward to. I, on the other hand, was so excited to explore Kensington, the area where we were staying. It was the cutest neighborhood ever, lively with young people in suits but also adorable families with their little dogs (goals). We visited a plethora of museums (The Science, Arsenal, Beefeater Gin, Harry Potter World, just to name a few), took a lot of tubes, ate a surprising amount of burgers (John had kangaroo at Borough Market!), and caught up about college and life. Although we did a lot of touristy things, our collective highlight of the whole trip was watching Arsenal win 2-1 in 98th minute penalties (this highlight video here sums it up nicely).

I can’t believe that my second semester at St Andrews is just beginning, it honestly feels like my parents were just here sending me off. I have so many things I want to do and experience in the next 4 months, let’s hope there’s time to do them all!! Talk to you soon.



Pics or it didn’t happen:


Festive Christmas PJ party with my favorite girls and guys (not pictured).


NYE spent in Massachusetts with some familiar HC faces <3 <3 <3


Harry Potter World in North London. After just watching the whole series a month before, I was extra into all the behind the scenes ~magic~. John wanted the Butterbeer, typical. 😉


Behind the scenes tour of Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal FC. This artsy shot should be an ad for Vineyard Vines. VV, call us!


Siblings take Buckingham Palace.


Ben and I having a grand ol’ time taking selfies in the middle of traffic


JD visits JD Sports – the King of Trainers. He felt very cool and important, I took a picture to show his kids one day.


Emirates Stadium holds over 60k people and every seat was filled. Electrifying. #COYG


Celebrating a CRAZY game and the last day in Londontown. 🙁

Hello, hello! Another monthly recap for you, and what a month it has been! Every weekend has had an exciting event, sandwiched by endless hours in the Library (this month I achieved my first 12+ library marathon since HC, how nostalgic). November flew by even quicker than October did, which is scary. Now as I write this I’m blasting Michael Buble’s Christmas album and researching where to get a Christmas tree in St Andrews. I am in the holiday spirit FOR SURE. But that’s today, let’s go back in time, shall we?

Becoming a tour guide in St As

At the end of October, my cousin Caroline and her friends studying in Parma, Italy visited me for the weekend. It was such a funny feeling showing people around a place that I’m still trying to figure out myself. Crazy. Even after they left, my hostess duties we’re not done because my best friend Amber booked a last minute flight to Edinburgh to visit me! This was her first time ever travelling internationally by herself, so props to her for making it here and back in one piece. It was so nice to see yet another familiar face around here when I’m so used to not recognizing a soul on a daily basis. The night she came I took her to one of my favorite places, BrewCo (St Andrews Brewing Company or also StABCo I’ve seen it be called). This place is amazing because it’s so low-key, you can order a Thistly Cross cider and sit by the heater for hours. Sometimes the owner’s adorable dog will come in and that makes the night 600x better. We caught up on our lives abroad for the next few hours. The rest of the weekend was the traditional tour I’ve given before (strolling down the three main streets, walking through the Cathedral ruins, down to the East Sands, across the Scores and the Old Course). We experienced afternoon tea at sunset which is one of my favorite things in the world at the moment. We were lucky that Amber’s visit and a U.K. holiday coincided so I could show her how the British celebrate. Guy Fawkes’ Night is an interesting holiday (here’s more info on it to Americans like me who had zero clue what it is) which entails lots of bonfires and fireworks. My academic aunt invited me to celebrate the night with a beach bonfire. So we bundled up, wine bottles in hand (per request of course), and made the freezing trek down to Castle Sands. It was so cool to see the beach in the pitch dark while the fire roared and fireworks went off in the distance. It was a memory I will never forget and I’m so glad Amber was there to experience it with me. But just as quick as she arrived, she left and it was back to reality (and studying).

Election 2016 in Scotland

During sophomore year at Holy Cross, my roommate Caroline and I would always keep the TV on CNN because we felt every second there was a new story breaking that we needed to know about. One thing I thought living in Scotland would bring was a sort of break from the political drama that has been the last 18 months. That was not the case. Due to the massive amounts of Americans attending St As (30% was the last figure I heard but don’t quote me on that), the election was very much salient. The Democrats Abroad society rented out the Student Union for the night so people could watch the results come in at real time. (SIDENOTE: Due to the time difference, the results we’re not supposed to come in until 4 a.m. our time so keep that in mind). I opted out for a more low-key (if you haven’t noticed, low-key is kind of a personality trait I like to adhere to) night, having pizza with Casey and Taylor for a bit then hopping over to my academic mom (also American) Alexa’s flat to watch some pirated CNN. I was there until about 2 a.m. when I started to nod off so I decided to watch the rest on my laptop in my flat. Naturally I fell asleep due to sheer exhaustion of watching this all night and I woke up at 7 a.m. to see my laptop still playing CNN, recapping the results. Politics aside, it was super cool/strange to experience my first election where I could vote in another country. I wonder where I’ll be during the next one…

Visting friends and #FlorenceFriendsgivingAbroad2k16

I was so happy that I was able to travel a good amount this month. Mid-November, I visited my male BFFs Pat and Jeff in Leon, Spain. Like me, they are spending their year abroad. It was so weird/cool/actually so weird hearing them speak Spanish with the natives but it was extremely helpful when trying to buy anything or ask questions. My thesis for the weekend was that I cannot handle living la vida española but it was fun to try it for a few nights. A few weeks later, I was on another flight. This time I got off in Florence, Italy to celebrate my first real holiday away from my family- Thanksgiving. Amber (remember her?) and my other high school BFF Amanda are studying there for the semester and invited me and Samir to come and celebrate. Florence has definitely been one of my favorite cities, if not my favorite (sorry Paris – je t’aime beaucoup!!!). It has a historical feel with modern touches and it seemed like a really young spirited city. That’s not a surprise though because I feel everyone and their mother has studied/studys/will study there but that’s beside the point. Us 4 relatively inexperienced chefs took on the daunting task of cooking a real classic American Thanksgiving. I think we were pretty successful, given there were no whole turkeys or sweet potatoes in Tuscany. We found a little chicken to make our mock turkey and it came out fabulously (RIP Analise – you were a humbling sacrifice for #Friendsgiving2k16). We walked around Florence a ton and even took a day trip to Rome to see the sights in less than 8 hours. Vatican City was my favorite spot because it had such an uplifting feel to it. Most people live their lives never getting there and as a Catholic it was an honor to be in such a holy spot. After a whirlwind 5 days in Italy, I flew over to Madrid to meet up with Casey and Taylor for a few days. Madrid was also a very cool city that had rosary shops next to hipster cafes, which I thought was funny. I even took another day trip to Valencia, famous for their oranges, the largest aquarium in Europe, and paella, to visit Samir (because seeing him less than 48 hours ago is not ok with me). Finally, after 8 days of sleeping on couches, I crashed on my purple bed in my flat and slept for 12 hours straight.

“Work, work, work, work, work” – Rihanna, 2016

(DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT JUST TRAVELLING ALL THE TIME AND HANGING IN PUBS, WHEN I’M NOT TRAVELLING, 80% OF THE TIME I AM IN THE LIBRARY PROBABLY UNTIL MIDNIGHT, MOM AND DAD :-] ).  November was a ton of fun, but it was also a lot of work. My Psychology classes are more paper-based rather than test-based, so I was constantly in the library writing papers. I prefer papers over tests because I feel like I’m a strong writer than test taker (hence this blog ha ha ha). What I’ve learned from talking to my professors has been that American style writing and British style writing is very different. My style is a bit more flowery while they’re looking for simple sentences that are straight to the point. So I’ve been really working to hone in my writing style which has been improving. Also, my time here at St Andrews has actually made me better at time management. I’m not a fan of procrastinating although I have my weak moments. Because I have to juggle travelling and other factors I never dealt with at HC, I’m starting papers 2-3 weeks in advance. This has been an extremely helpful way to relieve the stress of balancing work and leisure. I highly recommend it to anyone who gets really stressed about deadlines very quickly. That being said, even perfect planning still results in marathons in the library. 12 hours is my record and hopefully it won’t be broken anytime soon (actually that is a straight lie because I have 3 finals in the coming weeks so…)

Thanks so much for taking a few minutes to catch up with me. By the time of my next post, I will be free and clear of finals (:-D!!!!!) and packing up to return home for a month! Although I’m so excited to go home, the Christmas lights just got lit up in town and I don’t know how I could ever leave such a pretty place. Moments like this make me super pleased I’m returning in the spring. You can’t get rid of me that easily Scotland!!! Talk to you soon.



Pics or it didn’t happen:


Jeff, Meg, Pat and I doing touristy things together. I seemed to have missed the sunglasses memo.


Amber and I on Guy Fawkes Night. Not pictured: a raging bonfire, fireworks in the distance, and temperatures so cold Amber couldn’t feel her legs.


3/5 of Blackfriars 12 (+ Taylor) going to Nobel Ball, another Scandinavian Society event. They really know how to get dressed up and party.


Florence getting in the Christmas mood at twilight


Views from the Piazza Michelangelo in Florence. This is by far my favorite photo I’ve ever taken.


Samir, Amanda, Amber and I being funny in the Boboli Gardens. You can only take so many smiling selfies until people start to look at you funny.


Amber and I cheering on Fiorentina as they lost 3-2. I feel bad for the man who took this photo who, instead of watching his team play, was asked by Amber to take multiple photos at different angles for 5 minutes. #AmericanGirlsAbroad


Analise – the fake turkey that we cooked on Friendsgiving. Is it weird that we named it?


Samir, Amber and I trying to take a selfie while being photobombed by the Colosseum. So annoying.



The Royal Palace in Madrid, home of the King and Queen of Spain. I could see myself living here.

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down” – Oprah.

What would we do without our friends? They support you, love you, tell you when you’re being stupid or irrational, keep you sane, drive you crazy, and if you’re lucky, they’re like an extension of your family. As I get older, and this could just be in my case, I’ve learned that the theory of “quality over quantity” applies to how I make and maintain friendships. I’m past the stage of spreading my attention meaninglessly and prefer to spend most of my time with a handful of people that I genuinely like to be around. Is this maturity? Or just being lazy? Either way, this blog post is dedicated to my friends. I was inspired after visiting mis chicos favoritos (Jeff and Pat) in Leon, Spain this past weekend. Along with some other HC friends, I had a great weekend reminiscing about our past lives on the Hill (like we’re 60 years old haha), discussing the future, laughing, and just being silly (my favorite). The world can be so serious and divisive, it’s times like these where I’m lucky there are some people in the world that require no effort or pressure to have a good time with. I’ve been so so lucky to have met up with some of my best friends in the world while abroad, which in most cases is preplanned and some cases is luck. And the semester isn’t even over yet!! Crazy how things just seem to work out sometimes.

Sorry for the short and sappy post, maybe I’m emotional about these 2 papers I need to write or that I’m not going to be home for Thanksgiving next week (don’t worry though… the third annual LuHi Friendsgiving is in full swing, live from… You’ll have to check back next time to see where 🙂 ) My next post will be more fun with a November recap, travel updates, and funny stories, I promise. As for right now, this Britain, Scotland and Empire paper won’t write itself (really putting the STUDY in study abroad). Talk to you soon.





Amber and I celebrating Guy Fawkes Night with a bonfire on the Castle Sands. Not only did she make the trek from Florence to St Andrews, but we saw each other at Oktoberfest and Paris (by chance too). And I’ll be seeing her at Friendsgiving2k16. #BFFGOALS


Meg, Jeff, Pat, and I just hanging in Leon, Spain. Sitting on some rainbow steps. Confusing locals and tourists alike.


My lovely cousin Caroline and her equally lovely BC friends Katie and Sarah, who are studying in Parma, Italy, joined us Saints (Casey and Taylor) in doing a very St Andrews thing (i.e. afternoon tea overlooking the Old Course).


A little Oktoberfest throwback with some familiar faces (Kassy, Jeff, Pat, a Stein of beer…)


Views of Paris from the Eiffel Tower with Samir. Started from senior prom and now we’re here!


Candid game strong with these ladies. Bringing the laughs from Ireland and beyond. 

Hello readers! Today marks the (almost) 2 month anniversary of living in the land of Scots! It feels like I’ve been here for a lifetime. All the things that plagued my first month (learning how to get around, locating where everything is, and learning how to kick my Nutella addiction) have become child’s play, except the Nutella addiction because that is still something I’m working on. Here’s another monthly update of how my October went, I hope you enjoy!

Traveling Around (Cork, Ireland and Paris, France)

I was lucky enough to bop around a little this month, visiting and travelling with some of my best friends. In mid-October, my friend Casey (who also happens to be my flatmate and fellow ‘Sader) visited the beautiful country of Ireland, a first time for both of us! Even though our Ryanair flight was delayed an hour and we almost missed our 3 hour bus to Cork, the Irish gods were smiling on us that night when we pulled into Cork city centre at 2 am. The occasion was to celebrate our mutual friend Megan’s 21st birthday. Thanks to the Cork kids’ hospitality and adventurous spirit, we had one of the best weekends abroad! Highlights include experiencing an Irish gaol (jail), falling in love with the lead singer of an Irish cover band, attending the Leits version of Oktoberfest, exploring the beautiful campus of UCC, and catching up with some of our favorite ‘Saders. Miss those guys already, but we know we will be reuniting soon 😉

Just as I was unpacking my backpack from Ireland, I was booking my next flight. The jetset life is so hard! (haha I’m just kidding, if anything it would be the cheap-commercial-airline-that-seats-me-next-to-wailing-newborn-infants life). A couple of weekends later I joined my one of my best friends from high school, Samir, and some of his friends in Paris!! Samir is studying in Valencia, Spain and graciously extended an invite to join him in the city of love and lights. We spent 3 full days exploring one of the most BEAUTIFUL cities I’ve ever laid eyes on. It was a mad dash to try to hit every major point (i.e Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre, etc etc), but we did it! Samir, being the great planner that he is, got us discounted tickets to the top of the Eiffel Tower, a boat cruise on the Seine, and the Louvre – he is a true MVP. Highlights included everything I mentioned before, midnight fondue in Montmartre, drinking French wine out of baby bottles (yes, this happened), and fulfilling a childhood dream of eating a crepe at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Also, I tried to use 7 years worth of my rusty French, which actually came in handy when I got stranded a few hours before my flight home in a little town in the suburbs of Paris where no one spoke English (merci Madame Zuclich!)

Raisin Weekend

For those who read my first post (aka Mom and Dad), I talked about being adopted into my academic family and how the pinnacle of our family bonding culminates to Raisin Sunday. Well, it definitely met the hype. At 8 am Sunday morning (2 hours before I was supposed to go to my dad’s house, might I add), I had a surprise visit to my flat by my moms (yes, I have 2… it’s 2016 people!), my dad, my uncle, and a nice glass of Guinness and milk which I had to finish in 20 seconds. Great start to the day. At 10, I finally made it to my dad’s house for an afternoon of fun and games. My siblings, cousins, and I all took part egg races, eating donuts off a string, and a scavenger hunt across town. It was a long day, but it was the most fun I’ve had at St Andrews so far. My family is super cool and really fun to hang out with, so I lucked out in that department. Luckily, the fun didn’t end when Sunday turned into Monday. Monday marked the end of Raisin with a classic foam fight, a tradition that has been going on for over 600 years. (Don’t quote me on that). Our parents dressed us up in funny costumes (my family’s theme was Emojis) and we ran onto Lower College Lawn with foam (shaving cream to Americans) in hand. It was soapy, sloppy utter chaos. To get a true feel for what Raisin Weekend is like here, this video does a pretty good job, even though it was taken 6 years ago. I love that St Andrews students have such reverence for tradition, it’s definitely an aspect that drew me to studying here.

Getting #cultural at Crayfish

How does it feel to be Swedish for a night? Jättebra! (This supposedly means “Awesome!” in Swedish. Apparently Norwegian and Swedish are very similar, so I just asked my Norwegian flatmate Emilie how to say that, it’s legit everyone!) My super cool and super Norwegian aforementioned flatmate Emilie tipped me and Casey off to a cool event the Scandinavian Society holds called “Crayfish Party” and said we should go. Naturally, being a 1/6 Norwegian, I felt it was my duty to attend and represent my heritage!! (Another side note: Em laughs when I mention I’m a 1/6 Norwegian like it doesn’t count!!! Bye!!!) The ladies of Blackfriars 12 got all dolled up and were ready to show these crayfish who was boss. Highlights of the night included learning that crayfish are literally BABY LOBSTERS, trying Swedish vodka and an Edinburgh fizz for the first time (one was amazing, one was not very pleasant, your guess), and getting behind the DJ booth to help DJ do his thang. It was a great night and definitely worth the 55 pounds.

Crashing computers and deadlines

Life isn’t just sunsets on the East Sands and Malteasers. I want to keep this blog as real as possible, so that means not only sharing the amazing/fun/exciting things that happen but also the stuff that isn’t as amazing/fun/exciting. So, a large part of study abroad is the study part 🙂 and I take my studies very seriously, both at HC and St Andrews. A little bit of pressure is good, but I prefer to write my papers and do assignments in little chunks over a large period of time rather than the night before. That’s how I work best. When I found out I had 2 very important papers due within 24 hours of each other, I was very adamant to start them as early as possible. This meant my first 12 hour marathon in the library, which was quite productive given that I eventually finished both before the night bus came to pick me up. I wanted to do some final superficial changes like adding a cover page and the like right before I submitted it, so I waited until the day of to submit my paper. As a little break between editing, I decided to upload my Paris photos to my computer. I guess the photos were too spectacular and my computer could not handle the sunset over the Eiffel Tower because it decided to crash and not turn on. Let the freak out commence. Of course, 2 papers, one worth 100% of my final course grade was stuck inside a hunking piece of metal that had no use to me if it could not turn on. Luckily, this story has a happy ending. By the grace of god, for some reason I saved my essays to Google Docs, fully edited and formatted. I submitted both papers without a problem, but did have to pay 80 pounds ($110) to get a new hardware installed. Students reading this (if any), if you get anything from this silly story of heartbreak is always upload your papers to Google Docs or some random cloud so you can access them anywhere. You’re an independent student who shouldn’t depend on one computer for the rest of your life.

Wow, this has been a long post. I honestly can’t believe that a whole 60 days has passed already. I’m trying to keep a “one day at a time” mantra going, but it’s hard when you have to plan trips, juggle papers, do club work, and integrate as much as possible into the fabrics of St Andrews. It’s not a bad problem to have. Looking forward to November, where I have some fun things I’m really looking forward to. Curious? I’ll update you in 2 weeks 🙂 Talk to you soon.



PS: The national animal of Scotland is the unicorn, so that says a lot about where I live. A smart guy explains why here.



Having fun at the Cork Oktoberfest, which included black lights and 80’s hits playing all night long. The only similarity it shared to Munich Oktoberfest was the 10 euro beers and people screaming PROST every 10 minutes.



This was taken around 11 am on Raisin Sunday, right before I dominate the egg race. If you’re wondering why my name is written on my forehead, ask someone else because I still don’t know.



The 3/5 of Blackfriars 12 enjoying that Swedish lifestyle at Crayfish. Photo credits to Lightbox St Andrews.



The lovely ladies of Cork (Kate, Meghan, Maggie and Megan) sandwiched by the ladies of St Andrews (Casey on the left and me on the right)



Samir and I enjoying the view from the Champ de Mars. We like to be the center of attention usually, but we let the background take over for this picture.



University College Cork is almost as pretty as St Andrews 😉


My costume for the foam fight on Raisin Monday, including cans of 70p shaving cream (foam).


Baby bottle white wine from Le Refuge des Fondus in Montmartre. Not safe for children under the age of 18.

Hello readers! Welcome to my blog! My name is Bridgette and I am studying at University of St Andrews in the lovely country of Scotland (on the coast too, beach views for days!). Because this first post is a little late and I have been here for over a month now (!!!!), I wanted to share highlights/novel things/milestones I’ve experienced in my first 30 days:

Getting oriented to St Andrews

The town itself is three main streets, so that shouldn’t be so hard to navigate right?! (Spoiler: I was lost more times than I would love to admit.) And matching your class locations to places in town? Forget about it. Buildings tucked behind other buildings are cute, but not on the first day of classes when you’re already 10 minutes late. But do not fear perspective St Andrews students reading this post, by the second to third week you’re already a pro of the landscape that locals are asking you for directions (Yes this happened to me and yes I texted my friends about it.)


Registration here is a process. It’s not better or worse than Holy Cross’ registration process, it’s just different and something you need to get used to. Instead of waking up at 7am and refreshing STAR until 8am, hoping (& praying) you go 4/4, registration here is an in-person ordeal which means waiting and talking to advisors in your major until you fill all 60 credits. I was lucky in the fact that my advisors were really helpful in choosing and making sure my Holy Cross requirements would be fulfilled. My advice would also to check the times of the classes you’re taking before you leave because they don’t show red flags if you’re double booked… and there is nothing worse than thinking one class is at this time while sitting in an advanced lecture for 20 minutes before you realize advanced neuroscience is not what you signed up for, followed by not-so-gracefully fumbling out of the lecture. (Yes, again, I’m speaking from experience… do not end up like me!!!)

Fresher’s Flu

Since freshman year at HC, this is the most people I’ve met in a span of a month. Meeting people leads to shaking hands, close chatting, and the classic European double cheek kisses (still not used to these). If orienting myself to a new culture and education system wasn’t enough, one of my new acquaintances gave me the flu and a cold all on the first day of classes. Back home, I have a really great immune system, not to brag, and rarely get sick beyond a sore throat or stuffy nose. But this Fresher’s Flu was the worst. My mom trying to coach me on what to do/what to take to help my symptoms while I was stuck in the fetal position in bed was the worst feeling ever. It gives a new meaning to the word homesick. Also, there is no Advil or Tylenol here, so make sure you can find the UK equivalents before you get sick, because it’s bound to happen. I was lucky my worst symptoms lasted a few days, and I was back to class in no time. Hand sanitizer is my new best friend.

Being adopted

I met my mom in one of my Psychology tutorials, but I still haven’t met my dad or my siblings. If this sounds weird to you, you’re not alone because it sounded weird to me at first too. Here at St Andrews, one of the coolest traditions they have are academic families. 3rd year students meet “freshers”, i.e. – first year students, and take them under their wing, so to speak. They plan dinners and go out together as a family. Families can be small with just a mom, dad and a few siblings but can also get as extended as having aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, stepparents, anything you could think of. All these events culminate to Raisin Weekend in mid-October where your parents plan some craaaazy activities for their children to do. Not sure what to expect, updates to come!

My first travel experience – Munich, Germany

I felt like once I finally unpacked, I was packing again! My first trip I took while studying here was to Oktoberfest in Munich and it was soooo much fun. It was a super short trip (we only spent a day and a half without all the travel time) but Oktoberfest was definitely something to experience once in your life. It’s like an extreme Disneyland Epcot on steroids. And because I’m legal in Europe 🙂 , the beer is flowing at 10 euros a pop so it can get pricey for a college student balling on a budget. Besides that, it was amazing to see all my HC and high school friends studying abroad under one rainbow ribboned tent.

Opening Ball

St Andrews does not skimp on its parties, and Opening Ball was not an exception. Typically, Opening Ball is for freshers or, in my case, third years who want to get really dressed up for a night. We were greeted by flutes of champagne and led to a large white tent with EDM and smoke from the smoke machines billowing out. The main tent had a bar, free snack food, a burger food truck, FREE JEANETTA’S GELATO (a deliciously famous St Andrews staple), and a massive dance floor with student DJs playing until the wee hours of the morning. Safe to say this ball is mostly likely going to be nicer than my wedding, a fact that I repeated throughout the night. The closest thing I could compare it to would probably be an Outdoor Edge (for all you HC Edge fans out there), only way colder, way bigger, and way posherFrom what I’ve been told, this is only the beginning and there are many, many more balls to look forward to (YAY).

I’m so excited to be blogging for Holy Cross this year and look forward to where this amazing experience will take me! Thanks for being along for the ride. Talk to you soon.



PS: I dedicate my first post to Mom, Dad and JD – thanks for all your support, love, and confidence in me. See you at Christmas time!

PSS: What is a blog post without pictures?? Here are some of my favorites so far 🙂

The Scores, another one of my happy places

The Scores, one of my happy places. Also a rare shot of St Andrews when it’s not cloudy/raining/overcast! 

Some HC friends celebrating Oktoberfest at 8:30 in the morning

Some HC friends celebrating Oktoberfest at 8:30 in the morning

Views of St Andrews Cathedral from the pier

Views of St Andrews Cathedral from the pier

East Sands... One of my happy places

East Sands… One of my other happy places

A double rainbow over Haymarket in Edinburgh, showing me Scotland is quite the magical place

A double rainbow over Haymarket in Edinburgh, showing me Scotland is quite the magical place