Ready for a new term at St Andrews? Looking forward to new experiences and making new friends? There are so many different societies and clubs to get involved in. So many choices. Sometimes it can feel kind of overwhelming. However, there is something for everyone.
Why not enrich your university experience with a new hobby or build on old interests? Although cultural societies might not initially spring to your mind, they are a great way of picking up a new language and discovering another culture. From film nights to gastronomically themed events, as well as conversational classes, you can learn a lot and improve your CV. Or you can even plan a holiday to the countries where that language is spoken and impress all the locals there.
I have been actively involved in the French Society, as I wanted to practice and improve my French. The people were really friendly and welcoming. My favourite events were when we all got together and ate crepes with Nutella and pain au chocolat. French patisserie is delicious. You must give it a try. The conversational classes known as the bavardages were fun and catered to all levels. The French Society even did a play which I went to with a friend; it was an enjoyable evening of French theatre followed by wine, brie, and bread. Bliss.
There are many cultural societies ranging across several different continents. So why not join one?
Another society that I tried was the Ents Crew. Among other things, the union provides free DJ lessons that last for an hour. I love listening to music and I thought it would be cool to learn how to properly DJ. Having signed up to DJ at The Vic one time with no prior knowledge, I thought I should take classes at least. These classes were held in 601. There are beginner and intermediate classes. I learned that I was not the most technologically minded person and – although I loved playing Reggaeton – this was not quite for me, but I am glad I gave it a go. The thing that surprised me the most was how precise you had to be as a DJ. For example, when transitioning from one song into another you had to be very speedy when crossfading. It was interesting but quite different from what I expected.
In terms of sports clubs, a friend and I decided to take up horse riding. We took the bus out of the bubble to the stable down the road. It was only about 20 minutes away. This was kind of new to me. It was fun getting all geared up. The horses were adorable. The lessons were enjoyable and we got some cute selfies with our helmets on. I liked trotting and cantering the most, however I found jumping pretty scary. The classes moved very fast even though my friend and I were beginners. I did enjoy it, however after breaking my finger I was not as keen on horse-riding. Yet I would say it can be fun and worth trying.
When looking at more physically active societies I tried the Capoeira Society. Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that combines acrobatic dance. This sport has a colonial past as it was invented by slaves who wanted to hide the true nature of the movements through dance. It developed physical strength and provided an intense workout. It is acrobatic with many handstands and flips as well as kicks, although the aim is not to hurt your opponent. It is performed in a circle. In the beginning, you crouch down on all fours and clasp your opponent’s hands. I really enjoyed it as it felt like something completely different to do. I liked the music we moved to and it was a great work out.
One of my favorite university experiences so far has been going on the Creative Art Retreat with the Art Society. The people were really kind and encouraging. It was fun meeting other creative kindred spirits. The trip is for a long weekend somewhere in Scotland and the location changes every year to keep things interesting. It can be a really relaxing experience and it is a great way of seeing more of Scotland. What most impressed me was that there were so many different workshops going on from printing to watercolour. I thought it was a cool idea to have such a variety as it was fun experimenting and seeing what kind of art appealed to me the most. I think the best workshop was printing. You could also go for a stroll and be inspired by the beautiful countryside or just curl up with a book! It was a super enjoyable trip and a fun society to get involved with.
Although technically not a society or club I thought I would mention the gym. If you are feeling sporty then the gym can be a good workout as well. It is a short walk from most places in town however the membership can be more expensive compared to most university gyms. They have treadmills, cross trainers, and a weights room as well as rowing machines. Everything you would expect. Surprise, surprise. I like to keep fit so I enjoyed it.
As you can see you are spoiled for choice! Whether you are more creatively minded, techy or sporty you will be able to find your perfect society. Try something new. Find a fresh passion. Build on an old one. Meet new people and make new friends. Why not? And have fun!