Hi! My name is Annie and I have been in Edinburgh, Scotland studying at the University of Edinburgh for almost a month now. I am truly enjoying my time here thus far and am excited for new experiences to come! I had never been to Europe before deciding to come to the UK for a semester, so I wanted to share a few things that I wish I would have known before I started studying abroad:
1. You will be walking… a lot. For one reason, transportation in cities can be expensive and you will want to save as much money as possible for other trips. A second reason, is that when you walk in the city you are studying in, you get to know your way around a whole lot better than being a passenger in a car. Once you start to get to know your way around, it will start to feel more like home! So be sure to bring some comfortable walking shoes.
2. Shopping bags at the grocery store aren’t free. I didn’t realize this for about a week because they only cost about 5 cents. Store employees should ask you if you would like a bag, and you might have to say yes in the beginning to carry your groceries home. But, be sure to bring these bags with you to the grocery the next time you go to not only save money, but also save space in your flat.
3. Always ask for tap water at restaurants, or else you will be charged for water. In the US, we are used to water being free at restaurants. But, if you just say ‘Water please’ at restaurants, they will most likely being you a bottled water. This water costs money and will taste pretty much the exact same as tap water, so be sure to clarify between asking for water and tap water!
4. Come prepared with cash and any documents you might need (literally any possible document). Getting to Europe can be super stressful and tiring. It is nice to already have money once you arrive so you don’t have to worry about getting it once you land. Also, not all students need a student visa, but if you do, then bring any possible documents that you might need because you don’t want to be missing anything! I’ve learned it is better to be safe than sorry and to be over prepared than under prepared.
5. You will meet a ton of people faster than you think! I was nervous that I wouldn’t make friends fast, but there should be a lot of visiting students wherever you go, and they are all in the same boat! It is important to remember that everyone is trying to make friends too.
If you are getting ready to study abroad, then I am so excited for you. Get ready for an amazing experience! Be sure to take it all in, because I have only been here about a month and it has flown by…in the best way possible!