Phoebe - University of Edinburgh

B Science
Semester 2, 2017

Academic Experience

I studied 3 science subjects: BILG08016 (equivalent to BIOL2203), BIME08010 (equivalent to BIOL2011) and BIME08011. The comparative lack of timetabling options was challenging as I had to change subjects multiple times because of clashes. There wasn't consistent lecture recordings for my subjects but I expected this and was prepared to attend all my classes in person. It was enjoyable to participate in labs and tutorials as the style of teaching is different to UQ. I found that the University of Edinburgh relied more on older methods for obtaining lab results which was slower than modern equipment used in UQ labs.

Personal Experience

I managed to make a group of friends in the first week or so. Four American exchange students and another Australian who were all interested in traveling but were also doing time consuming subjects. It was good to make friends who understood the exchange experience before branching out in my classes to make local friends. We did a lot of travel together including trips to Amsterdam and Paris as well as lots of weekend trips into the highlands and other Scottish towns. I also joined the Sign Language Society which was really fun (although they taught British sign language which is different to Australian sign language) and participated in weekly pub quizzes organised by the accommodation.

Accommodation 

I stayed at the Pollock Halls Residence in Ewing House. It was catered for breakfast and dinner which I found really helpful. It had a nice common room and lots of organised activities. I also met quite a few exchange students who were in non-catered living and enjoyed that. I enjoyed the Pollock location because it backs onto Holyrood Park and Arthurs Seat which is beautiful to walk. It's about a 20 minute walk to George campus and a 30 minute walk to Kings campus which I liked. The city is beautiful and I found lots of cafes and nice places that I wouldn't have found otherwise.

Budget

My flights cost $2500 and my accommodation a total of $5000 (including internet, a furnished room, breakfast and dinner). I had about $1500 general spending money during semester. I spent about $2000 on travel, which was enough for tours to The Isle of Skye and Aberdeen, and weekend trips to Glasgow, North Berwick, Amsterdam and Paris. I also travelled for a month with family after the exchange ended which isn't budgeted for here. I found that my day-to-day budgeting was very similar to Australia (alcohol was cheaper in Scotland, but fruit was more expensive).

Professional Development & Employability 

A huge boost in confidence in myself and my abilities. I also learnt how to build new support networks and ask for help. 

Highlights 

Making good friends that I can visit around the world. Visiting the highlands, they are breathtakingly beautiful. The whole experience also made me appreciate home a lot, I missed my friends and family which made me closer to them.

Top Tips 

Do it! Don't get scared away by the money or change of environment. If you're really unsure go for one semester, it's only 4-5 months away from home which means that it goes fast but still gives you time to pack in heaps of great experiences.