The Baylor in Saint Andrews program is only one of the many study abroad opportunities offered by the university, but this unique program is especially designed for “Baylor students who are interested in philosophy and religion and the intersection and manifestations in culture and history”, according to the Baylor study abroad website.
Twice a year, Baylor faculty accompany students to Saint Andrews, Scotland to study within a small community, taking European-style courses and working alongside both Baylor and local students. The elite program accepts only 20 students per semester and requires a 3.2 minimum GPA.
Ausitn junior Sarah Howard recently transferred from the University of Oklahoma, and said the Saint Andrews program was one of the leading reasons she came to Baylor.
“I knew that I wanted to focus on early and modern British history,” Howard said. “It’s harder to be a British history student [in America] than over there, so I knew I wanted to do it over there where the sources and the history is.”
Howard, as well as the other students on the Fall 2015 trip, took one Baylor required course, and then was able to choose her other courses. Howard said she took a course over Tudor history, because that’s what she wants to pursue after school. She said the program allowed her to study Tudor history, as well as other types of British history, at a deeper level, and she was able to draw connections between what she was studying and what she saw in her day-to-day life in Scotland.
Howard said one of the best things she gained from the trip were friendships that have lasted even after she returned home to Baylor. She noted that the British culture is typically less social, but found friendship in the British students she was studying alongside. She said her favorite story to tell is of one of her best friends from the trip, a Welsh student named Harrison and the importance he placed on cueing.
“Harrison told me on the move-in day, ‘If you’re going to be British you have to learn the art of cueing’,” Howard said. She laughed as she remembered the good times she had with Harrison and her other friends in Scotland.
Gabriel Pederson, a junior studying Classics at Baylor said he started considering the program last spring when he found out his advisor was going. He was encouraged to try the program out and think about Saint Andrews for graduate school as well.
“You only take three classes there over the semester, so I think most of all I learned to think more deeply about things,” Pederson said. “It was nice to be able to think more deeply about only two classes.”
Pederson noted that, because of the fewer classes, he spent a lot less time in class and a lot more time working on his own outside of class. He said the program was a lot more hands-on than Baylor classes tend to be. But the largest difference he noted was that, while at Baylor you get to know your professors on a more intimate level, in Saint Andrews the teachers were far more distant. Pederson said students typically wouldn’t go into office hours or spend time with their professors outside of class.
The Baylor in Saint Andrews program takes students to Scotland once a semester. Both Howard and Pederson said the experience is one they won’t soon forget, and they were lucky to have studied in such a beautiful and cultured place.