Learning a Classic Scottish Sport: Shinty

Today some students received a lesson in a classic Scottish sport, shinty, given by a University of St Andrews Men’s Shinty Captain and a Men’s Shinty team player of five years. Shinty, as the instructors described, is a mixture between field hockey, ice hockey, golf, and lacrosse. The students learned the basic techniques and worked well as a team. Some of them even scored penalty shots!

Major Classes Today

Today in major classes students learned some new and exciting things. In Philosophy and Ethics students learned about freedom and determinism. Terrorism students learned about the four waves of terrorism. Over in British History, students learned a bit about witchcraft and heresy.  Creative writing students worked on descriptions of characters based on real observations of people. Medicine students learned how to measure vital signs: pulse and respiration rate, blood pressure and oxygen saturation.


Letter from the Director – June 26, 2017

June 26, 2017

Dear Parents of Oxbridge St Andrews Students,

What a thrilling, exciting, and historic first week we have had here at Oxbridge St Andrews. Not only have your students been most engaged in their classes and excited about the plethora of activities, speakers, and programs on offer, it seems their infectious enthusiasm and relentless positivity can even turn the rainy Scottish weather (mostly) to sunshine and temperate days. We are off to an amazing start, and the administrative team and faculty alike feel lucky to be working with your children this summer. They are a truly wonderful group of kids.

As I announced to the students at our Opening Ceremonies last Wednesday, we are a group that is not short on frequent flier miles. With 54 students hailing from eight countries and five continents, we are well represented around the globe. Yet, despite the distances they have travelled, students have quickly settled into university life. From the academic work of engaging in their classes and asking thoughtful questions of their teachers and visiting speakers to the domestic tasks of doing their laundry or ordering a late-night pizza, your children truly are getting a taste of what it is like to be a college student.

I had the pleasure of seeing your students in class this week. Whether learning how to perform CPR in their medicine class, building models in Molecular Biology, discussing character development in Creative Writing, questioning the nature of authority in Philosophy, or engaging in a host of other debates, simulations, and local field trips, they have been fully immersed in their subjects and excited about what lies ahead. Our town has become their classroom.

Outside of class, students have jumped right into making St Andrews their own. Late night soccer games, pier walks, trivia events, and putting on the Himalayas golf course have provided outlets for students to get to know their classmates from around the world. Just yesterday evening, I ran into a cadre of them taking in the beautiful evening sunset on West Sands beach.

Our series of fantastic evening speakers has kicked off as well. Dr. James Basker, founder of Oxbridge Academic Programs and Professor of Literary History at Barnard College and Columbia University, discussed the lawsuit that prompted Scotland to be the first country to abolish slavery. Dr. Basker loves St Andrews dearly, and we were fortunate to have him spend the predominance of the week with us here in Scotland. After his talk, students peppered him with his questions for nearly an hour after his remarks had concluded. We also heard from Hamish Ballantyne, a local St Andrews resident who has immense talent as a bagpiper. He gave the students a sampling of traditional Scottish sound.

In less academic pursuits, our Clan Cup is off to a fantastic start. Students kicked off the program by creating crests, mottos, and chants to represent Swilcan, Buchanan, and McHamish. Last year’s winners, McHamish, have jumped out to an early lead, but there is still lots of time left for Swilcan and Buchanan to make up the gap!

Maybe most indicative of the strength of our group is how quickly they have embraced being with each other. On Saturday, we attended the Ceres Highland Games, a traditional Scottish Games that has been held in Ceres since the year 1314! Groups of friends could be seen bonding throughout the event and enjoying each other’s company. While your child may not have gotten quite as much sleep as they’re used to this past week, it’s only because they are taking full advantage of every minute of the nearly 18 hours of daylight that we have.

If you have not already, please do check out our blog at https://oxbridgeacademicprograms.wordpress.com/category/oxbridge-st-andrews/. Pictures and descriptions of classes and activities can be found there, and it’s a great way to keep tabs on your son and daughter while also giving them the opportunity to be independent.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are so grateful you have shared your children with us for this summer, and we are looking forward to another wonderful week here in St Andrews. Thanks for all your support!

All the best,

Greg Chalfin

Director, Oxbridge St Andrews

Stage Fight Workshop

Today the students learned the art of stage combat! Split into four groups with different time slots, students were led by Janet Lawson who is a member of the British Academy of Stage and Screen Combat and who founded Stage Fight Scotland. Armed with pool noodles as swords and boogie boards as their shields, the students had an exciting time learning how to produce a believable combat scene on stage.