In this student real life story, Luis tells us all about the different student societies and clubs that you can be a part of during your studies.

Luis (2nd left) with friends from the Environmental Subcommittee

Coming to study at the University of St. Andrews in 2017, I had a few worries...

Would the weather be too cold..?
Would the work be too difficult..?
Would the town of St. Andrews be too small..?

As if that wasn't bad enough, people were telling me that students at St. Andrews were snobs and that it could be difficult to find good friends. However, I'm pleased to say that I do not think I could have been happier anywhere else - I really mean it!

I think it’s fair to say that St. Andrews offers one of the most uniquely rewarding student experiences you could have. One of the reasons for this is that the university is, quite literally, ancient – it was founded all the way back in 1413. A university this old was bound to come with some bizarre traditions and I wasn’t disappointed; Academic gowns, foam fights, and May Dip to name but a few.

However, of all these traditions, my favourite is the academic family. In St. Andrews, third year students will try to adopt first year students into their families. Most families are close; they will meet for picnics, dinners, drinks, and more. In October, on Raisin Weekend, the parents will dress up their children in the most ridiculous costumes and send them to a massive foam fight. Unlike other universities, your academic family in St. Andrews is just that; a family.

Luis and some of his friends after the university's famed annual 'foam fight'

That brings me to the next best thing about St. Andrews; it’s size! Because it’s a small university in a small town, students, staff, and even locals are forced to interact so much so that it almost feels like the entire town is your family. Living here, you will often meet your professors at the pub and your tutors in the gym. On the way to the supermarket, you will be stopped at least three times by your friends walking around town. When you live here long enough, you start to recognise people everywhere!

If hearing this makes you worry about keeping busy here; don’t. I have yet to see a student population that is more active than our own. In my time here, I have sat on the committees for the Vegetarian and Vegan Society, the Creative Writing Society, the Environmental Subcommittee, and the LGBT+ Society.

Open mics, poetry slams, live music performances, life drawing, comedy acts...and so much more

Every week you'll find a plethora of events to attend, and most of them are free!

Every Sunday night, for example, VegSoc members meet in town to cook a large vegan buffet dinner together. For one pound, you can sit, chat, and eat to your heart’s content… a bargain if ever I’ve seen one!

Through the Environmental Subcommittee, I’ve hosted beach cleans, tree planting activities, and various speaker events. Some of the most rewarding work I did was through Saints LGBT+. I helped organize Queerfest and Transfest, which aimed to promote the cultural contributions of LGBT+ individuals in and around Scotland. I also helped organize Glitterball; Scotland’s first LGBT+ ball. We even got Vivacious from Rupaul’s Drag Race to perform!

Luis and some friends with Vivacious from 'Ru Paul's Drag Race'

More important than all of these events is the fact that I've made so many lasting friendships in all of these different societies.

I cannot possibly put into words how happy St. Andrews has made me. It has allowed me to grow personally and academically in ways I would not have guessed. The university, the town, and the people have made these past years the most exceptional of my life.