Olivia - University of Edinburgh

B Laws (Hons)/ B Economics
Semester 1, 2017

Academic Experience

I studied three economics honours courses (these are third and fourth year elective courses):

  1. Economics of Transition
  2. Economics of Sport
  3. Behavioural Economics

This constitutes a full time load, and I received Group 3 elective credit for my economics degree. The courses were structured similarly to UQ, but with less contact hours. Study was far more self-directed. Most weeks I would have only six hours at uni, a two hour lecture for each course. It was important to keep on top of work, but this was quite manageable as I had a lot of time during the week. The University provided a lot of extra-curricular opportunities and events that I would definitely recommend.

Personal Experience

I have come away from exchange with new friends for life, who I am planning to visit in the near future. I travelled to incredible places, including throughout Scotland - to the highlands, the Isle of Skye, Western Isles, Cairngorms, the list goes on... - and England, to Morocco (only a three hour flight from Edinburgh to Africa!), Copenhagen, Dublin, Prague, Budapest, Vienna, throughout Croatia and Italy. As much as I have loved travelling, living in Edinburgh is an incredible experience in and of itself. The people, the atmosphere, everything is just incredible. I had never visited the UK before, and arriving in Edinburgh was magical. Scottish culture is incredible and unlike anything I'd ever experienced before. Scotland is officially one of my favourite places in the world now.

Accommodation

I lived in Baird House, which is catered university accommodation. It is about a 20 minute walk to the main university campus, and about a similar walk to the Kings Buildings campus. All of the catered accommodation is together in a complex called Pollock Halls, which shares a common dining hall. I appreciated having catered accommodation as the convenience was worth the extra money, and I made some of my closest friends at Pollock. It was easy to meet people as there were plenty of other exchange students around, although the full-time residents there are mostly first years. There was always something going on, and the complex is right below Arthur's Seat and next to Holyrood Park.

Budget 

I spent approximately $5000 on accommodation, plus another $10,000 on flights, travel and other expenses. As my accommodation included food, I didn't need too much extra money day-to-day. I would recommend budgeting at least $15,000. Living in Edinburgh is similar in cost to Brisbane, but far cheaper than cities such as London.

Professional Development & Employability

I have learnt to solve problems and find solutions on my own in new and unfamiliar situations. I have learnt resilience and to overcome any homesickness by throwing myself into a new experience. I have learnt to adapt to new learning styles and I have challenged myself to expand my knowledge significantly.

Highlights 

It's impossible to choose just one experience - visiting the North-West Highlands of Scotland and standing on top of a mountain in the pouring rain looking out over the most spectacular scenery was breathtaking. Riding a camel and spending a night in the Sahara desert in Morocco is something I will remember for the rest of my life. But making lifelong friends was my absolute highlight.

Top Tips

I cannot stress enough how much exchange is worth it! This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The people you will meet, the places you will go and the experiences you will have will last forever. Moving overseas is an experience like no other. Financially, it is a large commitment, but at the end of the day, what you put in you will get back tenfold in terms of new skills, new friends and incredible memories. And don't forget to explore your host city!