Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Scottish scholarship sends students to St. Andrews

Emma Sawatzky (Artsci’15) had always wanted to study at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She was drawn to the school’s strong reputation for international relations and her Scottish grandparents had always told her about the country they’d emigrated from.

Emma Sawatzky hopes to pursue a graduate degree in international relations. 

“I grew up hearing their stories, their histories and all about their love of Scotland,” Ms. Sawatzky says. When she heard about the Canadian Robert Tyre Jones, Jr. Scholarship, she jumped at the chance to apply and, after being accepted with three other Queen’s students, went on exchange to St. Andrews for the 2013-14 academic year.

Named for the 20th century American golf pro, the scholarship supports students from select Canadian universities to go on exchange to St. Andrews, offering them $6,000 to help fund their travel and tuition costs. Queen’s began taking part in the scholarship in 1996, extending offers to students with excellent academic achievement who are strongly committed to the university community. To qualify, students have to write a letter explaining their desire to go to St. Andrews and comparing their life to that of the late Mr. Jones.

Not just a golfing star, Mr. Jones was a man of many talents. He had a wide range of academic interests and held degrees in English literature, mechanical engineering and law. Later in life he combined his skills to found and help design Augusta National Golf Club, the home of the annual Masters Tournament.

“You have to work a little harder to get there, so it makes the exchange that much more special,” says Ms. Sawatzky. “Without the scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to manage going to St. Andrews.”

The exchange was a welcome shift.

“It was a definite jump moving overseas, but I was so excited. It was one of the best decisions I made here at Queen’s,” she says. “People sometimes feel afraid to go on exchange because they’re worried what will happen when they come back, but when I returned, it was like I’d never disconnected.”

Since getting back to Queen’s, Ms. Sawatzky has been putting her international experience to good use. She volunteers at the International Programs Office, helping students decide if and where they should pursue exchange opportunities. She’s also a regular at the International Centre’s English language conversation group, where volunteers help students improve their grammar and pronunciation.

To top it all off, she’s served this year as the director of Queen’s Model United Nations Club, recruiting members and organizing a conference for students from across Canada and the US.

When she graduates this April, Ms. Sawatzky plans to pursue a graduate degree in international relations, specializing in conflict mediation and arbitration.

“Seeing different parts of the world has encouraged me to overcome barriers and find commonalities to solve problems,” she says. “I thrive in that kind of environment.”        

The Canadian Robert T. Jones, Jr. Scholarship Foundation supports student exchanges from Queen’s University and Western University to the University of St. Andrews. The Foundation was established thanks to the support of its founder Roger N. Thompson and others, who admired the timeless sportsmanship and character of Robert Jones.