Havana Frakes in Scotland

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Havana Frakes at the beach in Saint Andrews. The beach is about a ten minute walk from her dormitory.
Photo Credit: Bill Frakes (Havana’s father)

Shortly before a new school year and new adventure 4,084 miles away, Havana Frakes (‘19) recalls “frantically trying to pack about sixty pairs of socks for no apparent reason. Packing kind of came down to the last minute, and I had somehow convinced myself I was going to desperately need every sock I owned to survive the winter.”

It wasn’t until November of her senior year that she decided on attending the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

With a family completely supporting her decision to study abroad, she is now doing joint honors in international relations and philosophy. Additionally, she is taking sustainable development as an additional course at her dream school. Frakes acknowledges, “There’s definitely more work than high school, but infinitely more freedom. The vast majority of the day is yours, so you get to decide how to spend it. Most of the work here is expected to be done independently, so you have to budget your time on when to do what.”

On most mornings, she has classes at 9:00 or 10:00, and an evening class at 5:00pm; other lessons are usually spread throughout the day.

“Go for it. There’s a lot of extra steps involved going abroad, like registering with a doctor overseas and setting up a phone plan and all of that, but it’s definitely worth the extra effort.”

In comparison to Bolles, St. Andrews has “definitely more work than high school, but infinitely more freedom. The vast majority of the day is yours, so you get to decide how to spend it.”

Frakes emphasizes the need for self-reliance and time management. “Most of the work here is expected to be done independently, so you have to budget your time on when to do what,” Frakes said.

Fun evening activities in the small town of St. Andrews sometimes include “going to pubs or a club since the legal drinking age here is 18. We have a movie theatre, but the options are limited in terms of both movies and timing. Honestly, a lot of fun nights are spent just watching movies with my friends in one of our rooms.”

Frakes emphasized a main difference between the United States and Scotland is the food. She mentioned, “If you order a lemonade you’ll get a Sprite. When I described what American lemonade is (sugar, water, and lemons) to an English boy, he was appalled.”

For any students yearning to study abroad, Frakes recommends, “Go for it. There’s a lot of extra steps involved going abroad, like registering with a doctor overseas and setting up a phone plan and all of that, but it’s definitely worth the extra effort.”

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