Hello, readers! My name is Jessi and I’m studying abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland for the semester. Today is my 2 week mark here in Edinburgh, and I am LOVING every minute of it. I’ve been preparing for my semester abroad since last March, and when I used to tell people I was going abroad, I would always get the same question:
When researching places to study abroad, I took a lot of things into consideration, such as the program dates, accommodations, language barriers, coursework, and other factors. I originally thought I wanted to study in Spain or France, but the more I read about Edinburgh, the more the city jumped off the page to me. I loved how international the campus of The University Edinburgh is, how accommodating housing is at UofE (I’m living in a flat in a complex run by the university, which made preparations for going abroad a lot easier), and most of all, how GORGEOUS and lively the city truly is. The city is a mix of old and new – Edinburgh had a huge role in the Enlightenment in the 1800s and is filled with old, historic castles, but at the same time the city is also very young, youthful, and modern. I wanted to study abroad in a city that seemed welcoming and friendly compared to big and intimidating, which is why I think Edinburgh is the perfect fit for me.
My advice to students who are planning to study abroad but are still looking into locations: do your research! The more research you do about prospective countries to study abroad in, the better chance you’ll have of finding a place that fits what you are looking for from a study abroad program.
Since being in Edinburgh, I have had the opportunity to explore a good amount of landmarks that are nearby. On our first weekend here, me and the 4 other students from UT decided to take a hike up Arthur’s Seat, a famous group of hills that overlook the city. We all thought that the path up was going to be a simple walk up a hill (which is why I chose to wear boots instead of sneakers), but we were in for a treat. Our quick hike turned out to be a bit of a challenging climb that I DEFINITELY wore the wrong footwear to. While the climb up was a little bit rocky and slippery, the view of the city while climbing absolutely made up for it.
Once we made it to the top, I knew something was up because I saw little kids running around – turns out we took the hard path up to the top of Arthur’s Seat. Oops. Lesson learned for next time….
Overall it’s been an incredible 2 weeks in Edinburgh. I was pleasantly surprised at how short of a time it took me to settle in and feel comfortable here. There are, however, been a few things I’ve been having trouble with:
1. Cars drive on the other side of the road here. While I am not driving anywhere in Edinburgh, I do a good amount of walking, and I have a habit of looking the wrong way whenever I cross a street. It’s been a miracle so far that I haven’t had any run-ins with cars yet!
2. The lack of Mexican food in my diet! Seriously Austinites- don’t take all that Mexican food back home for granted, because once you go abroad you’re going to crave it like none other. On the plus side, Edinburgh is known for their great Indian food (fun fact: many claim that chicken tikka masala was actually invented in Scotland!) so I’ve been exploring a lot of different cuisines here.
3. It’s a liiiiiitle cold compared to Texas (highs in the 30s/40s), but I guess most places in the world are cold compared to Texas….
Other than that, I’ve been having the time of my life here. Edinburgh that is a very welcoming city that has a lot to offer, and I’ve already gotten to meet so many students from across the globe. Stay tuned for more adventures in Scotland!