Scotland

Exploring Scottish culture and history in Edinburgh

Ashleigh – Edinburgh Napier University

Semester 2, 2019
​Bachelor of Design (Honours)

I was very fortunate to have studied at Edinburgh Napier University for a one-semester exchange at the end of 2019. I chose to study in Edinburgh because Scottish culture and history has always fascinated me, and I can confirm that Edinburgh did not disappoint.

Arriving in Scotland

I arrived in Edinburgh a week before classes started and moved into the Napier student accommodation at Orwell Terrace. I was originally waitlisted for the student halls but was very lucky to get a last-minute room to myself in a flat in Orwell Terrace with seven other students. This was also through the student accommodation services of the university.  The eight of us shared the kitchen/living space, which was a substantial size, in addition to using it as a great place to hang out.

I ended up becoming great friends with all my flatmates, most of whom were other international students, so they were also perfect to go and explore the city with. Edinburgh has endless history and many incredible attractions around such history, so this meant that there was always something to see and explore on our days off.  I even arranged a tour around the highlands with some of my flatmates. We used the Haggis Adventures Company who was incredible and took us to some of the most scenic and historic sites in the Highlands. I highly recommend it!

Academic and student life in Edinburgh

The first week of the semester is “Freshers Week”, which is very similar to “O-Week” for QUT. There are no classes but there are events on all day every day, such as the Freshers Activity Fair, pub crawls, and club events like the Foam Party. I recommend going to as many events as possible because they are so much fun, and a great way to meet new people. The Freshers Activity Fair is also a great way to find clubs or societies you might want to join during your time there. I joined the Napier Yoga and Wellbeing Society which held group yoga classes every week which was a nice relaxing break after a day of classes at uni. It was also during Freshers week that I really got the hang of public transport and finding my way around Edinburgh because the events were spread out across the city.

I chose to complete all four of the elective subjects for my course on exchange (which is equivalent to only three units at Edinburgh Napier), meaning I could choose the approved units that most interested me. I ended up choosing German 1, Starting a New Business, and Creativity, Innovation & Enterprise which I found had quite a small workload in comparison to what I am used to in my Industrial Design units at QUT. With only 3 units to complete, this gave me much fewer contact hours than I was used to (8 hours over 3 days) and gave me a lot of free time.

Edinburgh’s excellent public transport system made getting to campus and into town from my student accommodation very simple. It was also quite easy to walk or cycle places for those who had bikes. The railway systems are also great for weekend trips to new places across the UK! I caught the train to London and Yorkshire from Edinburgh to visit relatives while I was there, both of which were very easy and scenic train journeys.

The cost of everyday living in Edinburgh was more than I expected, but it was manageable. Eating out in Edinburgh can be quite pricey, so I limited myself to one dinner out each week in order to stay within my weekly budget. Cooking small meals for myself or cooking group meals with friends and flatmates was an easy and enjoyable solution.

Overall, my exchange experience in Edinburgh was one I will never forget. I made lifelong friends from Scotland and all over the world who I already have future travel plans in place to visit!

I truly fell in love with beautiful Scotland and will miss it.  I will always remember it not only as a great learning experience, but as an incredible growth opportunity for me personally.

I would like to sincerely thank those at QUT who put the connections in place to enable valuable programs like this to exist. From my perspective, they are resulting in many positive outcomes, both present, and future.

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