St Andrews to Austria on £0 a day

By Rhiann Ferguson, second year Chemistry student

My acceptance letter to St Andrews was, in all ways, a complete shock. I didn’t think it would happen, and secretly I don’t think my parents did too. It was one of my proudest moments so far, so when I considered applying for the Chemistry Scholarship never did I think I would also get that.

The brief was to write about who you thought made the greatest contribution to Chemistry within the decade, so after careful consideration I wrote my essay and sent it off, not giving it a second thought. Coming home from work a few weeks later and having a letter to say I was to receive the Chemistry Wardlaw Scholarship created a feeling that I don’t think I’ll match again; I was happy, excited and relived all at the same time. St Andrews isn’t a cheap place to live, and coming from a working-class background, the scholarship fund has helped me buy the books and things needed to allow me to be at the university I love.

Without a doubt the experiences I have had at St Andrews have changed my life. I’ve met lifelong friends, been involved with societies I didn’t know existed, and I hitch-hiked to Austria without spending a penny. Yes, you read that right. Given 36 hours to hitch-hike as far as we could for charity, my flat-mate and I set off expecting to make it to England, but after a few lucky breaks, we found ourselves looking out over the snow-covered Alps in the sunshine. It was like something from a movie.

If I could speak to the people that provide the Scholarship I would tell them how grateful I am that there are people out there willing to help others achieve their potential. These generous people have allowed me the chance to change my life for the better and do things I couldn’t normally do, and for them, and their acts, I will always be grateful.

Rhiann and hundreds of her classmates have had their lives changed by the Wardlaw Scholarship Scheme, which was established in 2004 to provide financial assistance for academically gifted students who would otherwise struggle with the cost of studying at St Andrews.   Each year, thousands of alumni and parents support the scheme with their gifts.  Meet other students the  Wardlaw Scholarship Scheme has supported, or apply for a scholarship.  

Keen to help students like Rhiann?  Make a gift today.

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