‘A university experience like no other’: What it’s like to study at St Andrews

Are you hoping to study in Scotland one day? We sat down with Chevening Scholar Ya-Ling Chiu to find out what it’s like to study at Scotland’s oldest university!

""Tell us a bit about yourself

‘My name is Ya-Ling Chiu. My home country is Taiwan, but I am currently pursuing a degree in computer science at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

After graduation, I aspire to apply artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques in the environmental field. My dream is to make a positive contribution to environmental conservation efforts.’

What made you decide to study at St Andrews?

‘My decision to apply for a Chevening Scholarship was driven by my desire to use my computer science knowledge to make a positive impact on the environment. I was drawn to St Andrews in particular because I discovered that the professors there were involved in research that aligned with my interests. Furthermore with its excellent reputation and facilities, I felt it would be the best place for me to learn.’

What do you love most about studying at St Andrews?

‘One of the things I love most about studying at St Andrews is its unique location. While it may not share the same hustle and bustle as London, the town’s picturesque costal setting provides a conducive environment not only for studying, but also for settling into the community.

Once a fishing village, St Andrews has beautiful beaches near the school and student accommodation hall. Whenever I feel stressed due to academic challenges, I find solace in visiting the nearby beach, where I can relax and unwind by watching the sea.

The university also has lots of unique traditions, like the May Day Dip, where flocks of students run into the sea at sunrise to bring good luck for exams! Events like this really bring the student community together and remind you of the rich history you’re a part of.’

Have you done any exploring in Scotland?

‘I have had the opportunity to visit many beautiful places, including Edinburgh, a city that seamlessly blends modern architecture with historic landmarks. I also took a trip to the highlands during my summer vacation, and I must say it’s my favourite spot in the UK. The highlands still preserve awe-inspiring mountainous vistas and vast lochs, making them a truly breathtaking sight.’

What’s been the highlight of your Chevening experience?

‘The highlight for me has been the opportunity to connect with diverse and talented individuals from different parts of the world. The cultural exchange and networking opportunities have been invaluable, broadening my horizons and enriching my overall experience.

Chevening not only provided me with financial support but also allowed me to forge meaningful connections with other scholars, which I hope I’ll be able to draw on for many years to come.’



Could you see yourself following in Ya-Ling’s footsteps and becoming a Chevening Scholar in Scotland?

This year, the University of St Andrews will generously sponsor up to ten awards for applicants from the following countries:

  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Malawi
  • Rwanda
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Zambia

The partnership supports scholars studying all Chevening eligible programmes at the University of St Andrews.

Applications for Chevening Scholarships will open in September 2023. Subscribe to the Alphagram to receive the latest updates.

Related news

Chevening UK Bucket List 2023

Ever wondered how to make the most of a year spent studying in the UK? Well, you're in luck! Chevening has put together our top 8 must-do activities for any scholar looking to make the most of their study breaks.