Kadia - University of Edinburgh

Bachelor of Economics/Commerce
Semester 1, 2018
I have had the opportunity to visit so many incredible places, met some of my best friends and developed immensely as a person.

Academic experience

On exchange I studied three subjects, which is a full-time study load for a student of Arts and Humanities. I took Applications of Econometrics (credit for ECON2300), Economics of Sport and Scottish Studies 1B as an elective. 

The academic system in Edinburgh is fairly similar to that at UQ, however it is much more self-directed. Lecture recordings were not consistent and only one of my classes had a tutorial every week. The marking system in Edinburgh meant that 40% equated to a pass and 70% was approximately a UQ 7. It is, however, more difficult to obtain marks and grades above 80% were rare. 

When choosing your classes at Edinburgh I recommend checking the prerequisites of the course even if it has already preapproved to count for credit to one of your classes back home. I chose to do Applications of Econometrics, which gave me credit for ECON2300 at UQ. Unfortunately, I did not realise until classes began that unlike ECON2300 this course required a prior knowledge of econometrics. This meant that I needed to dedicate additional time and effort to catch up on the assumed knowledge from the previous semester. 

Overall I found that the study load in Edinburgh was manageable and by keeping up to date with the work assigned I was able to enjoy my free time and travel on weekends and in the breaks.

Personal experience

Studying abroad in Edinburgh has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. In such a short amount of time I have been challenged to become more confident, independent and mature as an individual. I have had the opportunity to travel throughout Europe and along the way develop lasting friendships with people from across the world.

Accommodation

Over the course of the semester I lived in two different residences. I began my exchange at Brae House, which is a self-catered accommodation approximately 30 minutes walk from the main campus. Whilst my flat mates and the accommodation itself were brilliant I decided to more closer to the university as I was often spending upwards of 2 hours each day walking between the accommodation, classes and events. I applied to move accommodation in the first week of the semester but was not allocated to a new residence until about two weeks prior to mid-semester. From there I moved into Deaconess House, which is about a 5-minute walk from the main campus. Deaconess House is in the perfect location, the rooms are spacious and new and the accommodation as a whole is very social. The RAs hosted lots of events throughout the semester and my roommates become some of my best friends on exchange!

Costs

Including a month of travelling prior to exchange and a month after I spent approximately $15,000AUD in total. The largest components of this were about $5000AUD in rent, a combined $2700 for two tours I took post-exchange and $1900 for my flights to and from Australia. 

I found that food shopping in Edinburgh is cheaper than in Australia, whilst it is more expensive to dine out. Throughout the semester I mainly shopped at Lidl, which is the cheaper alternative to Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s. I only spent about £15-20 on food shopping per week so I definitely recommend checking out Lidl. In regards to dining out there are definitely places to eat for cheap and there are a lot of student deals around to help you save money!

Edinburgh has a great airport that can get you to most places across Europe in less than 3 hours inexpensively. I booked a return flight to Milan for about $60AUD so there are definitely a lot of great deals out there you just have to keep your eyes open. The Airlink 100 bus is a lifesaver and you can get a return ticket from Waverly to the Airport for just £7.

Professional Development

Professionally, completing an exchange has increased my ability to adapt and respond to different situations. As well as this I have become more independent and developed my communication skills.

Highlight

The biggest highlight for me was definitely the people that I met. Both in Edinburgh and whilst travelling I was able to make lasting connections with so many incredible people from all over the world.

Top tips

  • Try and get out and do things you wouldn’t usually from the very beginning. The university hosts a Give It A Go week early in the semester, which is a great opportunity to try out a load of different clubs for free.
  • Register with a doctor as soon as you get to Edinburgh. You’ll need it when you least expect it and there is a two-day waiting period from when you first sign up to when you can use the services. 
  • Try to explore Scotland as much as possible. Scotland is such a beautiful country and there are so many amazing things to see! I took a Hairy Coo Tour my first weekend in Edinburgh, which was a great taster of Scotland. I also really enjoyed the International Student Centre’s weekend trip to the Isle of the Skye.
  • Say yes as much as you can! Someone I had spoken to for less than an hour invited me on a trip to Milan in my first week, I said yes and it ended up being a fantastic experience. 
  • If you’re going to climb Arthur’s Seat for sunrise definitely check the cloud coverage for that morning before making a disappointing trek at 4am.
  • Planning an exchange is a long and difficult process but don’t give up as it is the most rewarding 

Quote

I can honestly say that my exchange experience was the best 7 months of my life and no matter how hesitant you are I can’t recommend it enough. I have had the opportunity to visit so many incredible places, met some of my best friends and developed immensely as a person.