27 October 2013
In this edition, we are “putting the spotlight on” At Home and Abroad Society and more specifically their President, Sarah Quinn. Between her active role in Dance Society and her French and Spanish studies, Sarah is dedicating this year to spearheading the campaign to put the society on the St Andrews map. With a number of exciting events coming up later in the semester for international students, exchange students and home students alike, including a Thanksgiving Ceilidh, we caught up with her to find out more.
The Interpreter Magazine: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your role in the society. How and why did you decide to become involved with AHA Soc?
Sarah: I am in my fifth year, I study languages, I study French and Spanish, and I did my year abroad in Granada. I cannot believe it has been over two years since I went to Granada! I was an English language assistant there. I really had a great time when I was abroad and I wanted to help more people to have such an enjoyable time as well and help people prepare for that, so I decided when I came back that I wanted to get involved in At Home and Abroad Society. Last year I was their Spanish representative and this year I am the President, which I did not expect to happen but I am really enjoying it and having a good time.
T.I.M.: Talk us through what the society does.
S: At the moment we are running events fortnightly. We have events to give people information about the different year abroad programmes. We have just had a study abroad event. We are going to be having an event in two weeks’ time (on Thursday 7th November in week 8) for languages students who are interested in going abroad. We are organising some trips and we’ve got some special events lined up as well.
T.I.M.: Can you give us any details about these exciting events you have coming up?
S: At the end of November is St Andrews day, and that is also when American Thanksgiving happens, so we decided we wanted to have an event to bring different people from different backgrounds together from St Andrews, so we are holding a Thanksgiving Ceilidh on Thursday 28th November from 7pm in the Scores Hotel. It is towards the end of the semester, so we wanted to give any students who are only here for one semester on their semester abroad a nice big Scottish send-off, but then we also wanted to celebrate all the different cultures we have here in St Andrews. The following weekend at some point (we’ve not quite specified the dates yet) we are going to be running a trip to Stirling in conjunction with the History Society.
T.I.M.: That all sounds very exciting! Apart from all these amazing events you have going on, can you give me three reasons why you think a student here should become a member of the society?
S: I think students should become a member of the society if they have spent time abroad and they would like to share their experience with other people so that everyone else can keep the tradition going and have an enjoyable time as well. If students are studying abroad here in St Andrews for a semester or a year and are looking to make the most of it and meet new people, I would like to think we are pretty nice and friendly people! And also if students are going to be going abroad in the future and are looking for advice, then I would like to think that coming to us would be very useful and beneficial to them.
T.I.M.: Sounds pretty convincing. Have you come across any big challenges since taking on the position of President? It is quite a lot of responsibility for one person!
S: I love to be involved in everything so my issue has been delegating to other people. But I am getting really good at it now! I just send off e-mails: you do this, you do this and you do this! Also just making sure that everybody’s happy. The committee members need to be happy with their roles and enjoying themselves, because it’s supposed to be fun as well, sometimes I feel it can be too much like work which I don’t want it to be.
T.I.M.: Finally, if someone were interested in getting involved with the society, how would you recommend they do that?
S: We’re on Facebook, our page can be found if you just type in University of St Andrews At Home and Abroad Society. We also have a society e-mail account which is firstname.lastname@example.org