Archive for the ‘Study Abroad Advice’ Category

Tips for future travelers!

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

I thought I’d make a post with what I suppose would be helpful information for anyone reading this blog that has plans to travel to or study in Edinburgh in the future.  This is pretty much just a hodge-podge of things I’d tell anyone thinking of coming here, so it may seem kind of random. These are things I wish I’d either been told in advance, or that I think are just nice things to know. Here we go!

  • Bring a bag with you when you go grocery shopping! Most grocery stores do not automatically give you bags like they do in the U.S. You can ask for one, but you usually have to pay for it. Best not to learn the hard way like my friends and I and end up spending an extra five pounds so you can carry your things home.
  • You can’t buy alcohol after 10 PM. Not a problem really, but if you think you’re really going to want a glass of wine while you stream re-runs of Doctor Who at 11 (or, you know, for other occasions), then just go to the store before 10.
  • Jay-walking is legal here. Just look out for cars, and remember they drive on the opposite sides of the road here!
  • ATM’s are free!! Yeah, there are a few ATM’s throughout the city that will charge you, but don’t use them, because most will not and it’s a glorious thing to get cash for free!
  • Everyone dresses extremely nice. Whereas in the U.S., 95% of the students on campus are wearing old jeans and sweatshirts with pizza stains, the vast majority of the students here are dressed like they just walked out of Teen Vogue. So you might want to save your sweatpants and hoodies for your flat, lest you be seen as the sloppy kid on campus. (But if you really don’t care, then where what you want!)
  • Apparently tips aren’t expected here. If my friends and I leave a tip the waiter looks like they want to cry and hug us. So it’s nice if you leave one, but you don’t have to. (Which is kind of nice when you’re a college kid living on a budget!)
  • Don’t bring curling irons, flat irons, blow dryers, or anything like this. These things use motors to run and are really tricky when using adapters. They easily “blow up” and break when plugging them in with adapters/converters. I suggest just going to a cheap store (Poundland, Pound Stretchers, charity shops) and buying one there. Just give it to someone or throw it away before you leave.
  • If you’re looking to buy things cheap, go to Nicholson Street. This is where all the charity shops, Pound Savers, Poundland, etc are located. Stuff for your room, toiletries, envelops, and even some food – shop here first. You’re probably going to get it a lot cheaper in a shop on this street than somewhere else.
  • Don’t bother bringing or buying an umbrella. If it’s raining hard, it’s probably also going to be very, very, windy. It will just blow inside out and break. A coat/jacket with a hood is good enough.
  • If you are coming to Edinburgh as a student, don’t bring bed sheets or blankets with you. Either buy them when you get there or pre-order a bedding pack from the university. (Or do both, there isn’t much to the bedding pack but it gives you something sufficient to sleep on so you don’t have to run out shopping as soon as you get there.)
  • Don’t call pants “pants”. They are called either jeans or trousers here. I say don’t do it but let’s be honest, you are going to end up calling them pants anyway and it will be awkward because “pants” here are underwear. This mix-up is inevitable. Accept it.