If you are reading this, you have probably had your eyes on Edinburgh as the next destination for higher education. Figuring out a university and the right course as stepping stones for your future, surely, is enough of a dilemma. So to make things simpler, here are some pros and cons of being a student in this magnificent Scottish city.
The Awesome Stuff
Edinburgh & its 500,000 citizens are spectacularly placed on seven hills, with the city’s architectural style ranging from medieval to neo-classical; the scenery is simply picture-perfect! This is home to two modern universities, Edinburgh Napier and Heriot-Watt as well as a historic university named after the city, which was established in the 1500s; offering prospective students the best of both worlds. They are specialists in language, science, and design subjects, perhaps ideal for aspiring researchers and innovators. Even if these are not your thing, each university still has about four to five hundred programmes of study, both undergraduate and postgraduate options; so that you are never short of choices.
On the less serious side of things, Edinburgh is also renowned for the world’s largest festival: The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a huge arts and culture event spanning across roughly 25 continuous days, with over 50,000 performances in 300 venues or more. With entertainment, arts & cultures being an emphasis of this city’s image, besides ‘The Fringe’, The International Festival, which covers books, films, arts, theatres and music is also organised every year, bringing Edinburgh life and diversity. Student life here, certainly, will be anything but boring!
Being host to such large-scale international events, the city has, therefore, adapted itself to the constant flows of festival goers with frequent and modern public transport link. Students are offered discounted weekly, seasonal or annual travel passes for the local Lothian buses, with some running until 4:30 am; making things ‘economical’ for the night owls.
All travel information and payments can now be sorted via a mobile app, allowing convenience for the smartphone generation. Not only does the city offer efficient local transports, but there are also regular trains to and from other locations within the UK and the rest of Europe; plus an international airport with flights to any famous city you could think of, from Dubai to Beijing, and New York. Creative, diverse, and super inter-connected, that’s Edinburgh for you!
The Slightly More Tricky Bits
The occasionally gloomy UK weather you might have seen on movies or read of in novels, it is not a myth or fiction; here in Edinburgh, it can be experienced more vividly than ever. Everything can get a bit ‘grey’, not just the colour of the old stone buildings, but the sky, literally, with about 124 rainy days annually. Poetically speaking, the rain can be romantic and all, but here is a tip for those wet days: stay away from the curbside as you walk, or your nice trench coat and fluffy jumper could be soaked with mud, as cars and trucks drifting pass splash ponds of rainwater from the road. Oh and, just a reminder to those from outside of the UK, daylight can end really early, at about 3 pm, in winter, due to the city’s geographical location higher up in the Northern hemisphere. Regardless, these are no biggies; layer yourself up with water-resistant clothing and maybe, grab a warm cup of coffee to keep your body awake through the cold season, and you will be invincible!
Despite the history, beauty and amazing culture, living in Edinburgh, for students, could get quite pricey. Private-sector halls in ideal locations with modern amenities and stunningly decorated interiors could be up to £160 per week in rent; and universities’ own halls, though cheaper at about £90 per week, are likely to be in high demand at all times. A solution to this is to share a student flat in residential areas further away from Edinburgh city centre or on the outskirts, which can be found easily on housing apps like Zoopla, Rightmove, or Spare Room. Distance is not quite an issue, thanks to the well-operated local transport and travel tickets at a special price for students.
So there you go, cards on the table, Edinburgh, like any other city, has its pluses and minuses; but this Scottish city is also full of personality and fascinating stories, even spooky ones. The decision is yours, of course; however, this is my suggestion: why not pay a quick visit, let yourself fall in love with the little vintage shops in the old town, the genuine, fun-loving people and the three fantastic universities. In the end, if Edinburgh is your second home, you will just know.