Katelyn - University of Edinburgh

B Arts/Business Management
Semester 1, 2019

Academic experience

At UQ I study a double degree with a major in Marketing and Art History, while I was in Edinburgh I used my four electives which made up a full course load of three courses. I studied two Art History Courses and one Scottish Ethnology Course called ‘Creating Scotland 1B’. I decided to do a Scottish course quite last minute and despite there being many other interesting classes this was the only one with available space. These classes are also full of other exchange students so it’s easy to make friends with other like minded individuals. So if you want to do a course in Scottish History and Ethnology I’d recommend deciding early because they fill up fast!

It was a very different teaching experience at The University of Edinburgh as for all three of my courses we had rotating lecturers who would give one to three lectures on their topic of expertise before we would move on to the next topic. I did not particularly enjoy this as it does not give you an opportunity to become accustomed to a particular lecturers teaching style or get as in depth as UQ. But the content was still very interesting and you knew you were receiving the information from an expert in their field. Assessment was much more relaxed in my Art History and Ethnology courses as they expected only two pieces of assessment maximum per class, which left me handing in only four assignments and taking one exam all semester. 

The enrolment process was quite long and difficult as a lot of the courses that are listed online aren't actually available by the time you are enrolling, but as soon as I got to Edinburgh the process was simple and the visiting student office is extremely helpful.

Personal experience

Going on exchange to Edinburgh is one of the highlights of my degree and can not recommend it highly enough! I will always cherish the friendships I made and the memories we made together during my six months away. I have made connections with people all over the globe from France to America and was able to travel with them all around Europe during semester breaks. Studying abroad is largely a stress free way to experience living overseas as you will sort out most things before you leave and have plenty of time to spend with friends or explore. Travel through the UK or to other European countries was so easy and affordable due to the fact I had a home base nearby.


I lived in South Clerk street, which was a self catered university accommodation. Non-catered gave me more freedom as I wasn't bound by meal times, could cook my own meals, and you could invite people over for food and drinks. The location was really great as I was just behind the meadows which meant a quick walk to Uni. I was also within walking distance of my friends at Pollock Halls, grocery shops, Princes street (the main shopping street) and many cool uni bars in the area (definitely check out The Dog House). But I found the RA’s to be pretty awful, the events they put on were terrible and it was really hard to meet others and make friends within this accommodation. So definitely read the reviews of each accommodation online there are so many of them and it’ll give you a good idea of the problems of each location.


My accommodation cost $4,500 for the semester and this included all utilities, internet and the apartment being cleaned twice a week. Edinburgh can be quite expensive, mostly due to the poor exchange rate. Financial assistance from UQ and the government was a great aid in this time, so that I didn't have to worry about money while I was away. Groceries are comparable to or cheaper than Australia depending on where you shop, Aldi and Lidl being the least expensive. Flights can be really cheap from Edinburgh but you have to keep an eye out and book pretty far in advance, otherwise the train is really good option if you’re heading to London or somewhere close by. Edinburgh is quite a compact city and so you can get nearly everywhere by foot, but busses only cost around£1.70 a trip on the occasion that its needed. I did a lot of travelling during the semester and then spent six weeks travelling after my exchange was finished, due to this my trip was quite expensive and in total I spent around $16,000. Although it could definitely be done for less, as I was not overly conscious of my spending and did a fair amount of travel.


One of the biggest challenges I faced whilst on exchange was balancing social and work. Self discipline is something I worked on in order to accomplish the things that needed to be done, so that I could enjoy travel and time with my friends.

Professional Development

I definitely gained a lot of valuable experience in managing my own finances and improving my communication abilities. Having an international experience is a great thing to include in your resume as it shows you have intercultural knowledge and interests, independence and ability to manage finances and shows confidence in your self.


A highlight for me was the opportunity to live in Edinburgh and experience a new culture. It’s such a fun and student friendly city, I would go back in a heartbeat. It also gave me the confidence and self assurance that I could potentially live abroad somewhere else in my future. Also the friends I made whilst I was there I know will be friends for life, I can’t imagine what my exchange experience would have been like if i didn’t have such an amazing group of people surrounding me.

Top tips

Don’t bring too much stuff! If you’re coming over in their second semester (from January to June) make sure to come over with a few trusty winter woolies but just remember if you’re travelling in the European summer after the semester ends you’ll have to lug all you winter stuff with you. There are some great op shops on Nicolson Street and South Clerk Street where you can get plenty of winter wear for a really cheap price. So I bought a majority of my bulky winter clothes from op shops and then donated them back at the end of the semester to save myself from bringing it all around Europe with me.