A tale of one city: Edinburgh…

…by Nicolas / from Chile / studying PhD Law / 3rd year

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Roses are red

Violets are blue

Edinburgh is great

I can’t rhyme even if my life depended on it

Edinburgh is what I call a ‘Goldilocks’ city: not too big, not too small; not too hot, not too cold; it’s just right. Why do I say this? Glad you ask. It is not crowded (except during the Fringe), nothing is really far away from anything and there is a pretty good transportation system. You can also walk or cycle around without problems, although it takes a few days to get used to people driving on the other side and pedestrians occasionally invading the cycle lane. On this note, there are excellent cycling routes that take you away from the city, so that is a nice plan for a weekend. Or two. Or the whole year (get good rain gear and something for those annoying things called midges).

Edinburgh has everything. If you like architecture, you can walk around the Old or New town and really understand why they have the UNESCO World Heritage status. If you like nature, you can visit the islands or beaches around or take a short hike to Arthur’s site and see the local fauna enjoying themselves, as well as some animals. If you are into history, you can visit the castle, the museums (most of them free) and the galleries.

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Nicolas at Doune Castle…

You could even take short trips to places of historical significance like Stirling (ask the locals all about that “excellent” and “very accurate” documentary called ‘Braveheart’).  If you like people, there are lots and lots of students from different regions to befriend, but some of the best people have to be the Scottish, with their friendly attitude, excellent story-telling skills and enough patience to repeat what they say three or four times. It takes some time to get used to the accent (about 75 years, by my account). If you like sports, there are two football teams in the city to support, several rugby matches to see and like 200 kinds of sports that you can practice at the University, including quidditch and curling. If you like movies, Edinburgh is a regular shooting location for different films, including Avengers: Infinity War (Scarlett, if you are reading this, it was you who came too late….I was already married). Finally, if you are into mystical stuff, you can pray to the gods for guidance to decipher the weather patterns, as you can go through all seasons in the span of two hours.

Of course, what people also want to know is about living costs. I must say that accommodation could be a little bit more expensive than the average in other European cities, but not London-crazy rates. In any case, the pound is in one of the lowest points in a long time, so all in all when you convert your expenses to your home currency in your head (you know you do) it is actually not that bad. The everyday costs are not that high, but if you want to lower them some more here are some tips for you;

  • Ask everywhere if they have student discount (usually they do).
  • Go to the different charity shops to buy stuff (some even give away food).
  • Use social media to contact other students that sell things.
  • Attend open events. Some have free snacks. Including some seminars at the University. (I learned all about protocols for groundwork data collecting, I am not doing groundwork data collecting).
  • Get yearly tickets/subscriptions (transport, historic Scotland, etc).
  • And finally, walk or cycle instead of using public transport.

All in all, Edinburgh is a great place to live, my family and I (and the constant stream of visitors) just love it. Now if you excuse me, I have an interesting seminar about speech therapy…


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