13 November 2019

Alejandra shares her experience of preparing for Edinburgh after being accepted onto the MSc in Human Resource Management.
Train on Glenfinnan Viaduct

1 March 2019. I wake up and immediately grab my phone to refresh my inbox (this would be equivalent to a virtual Hedwig arriving with my Hogwarts letter).

From: UEBS MSc Admissions

Dear Alejandra,

I am delighted to inform you that the university is offering you admission to the MSc Human Resource Management.

I jump off my bed as if it is Christmas morning and run to the kitchen screaming indistinct noises. I finally come back to my senses and tell my whole family I got in. I got in!

Now I have to figure out visa and accommodation issues, pay for fees, create a cost of living budget, check plane tickets (or Platform 9¾?) and fit my entire life into 2 pieces of luggage—because that is the permitted number on the aircraft, plus my carry-on of course.

Oh! And I have to accept the offer (very important).

Tip #1: Write All Your To-Dos on One Page and Check Status

Top Tasks infographic. Item: Offer, Status: Done, Observations: Have a print copy; Item: Visa, Status: Pending, Observations: Set embassy appointment; Item: Accommodation, Status: Pending, Observations: Live at uni or private? Item: Fees, Status: Pending, Observations: Write deadlines/check funding'; Item: 5, Status: Start, Observation, and so on

Fast-forward to September 2019. I arrive at Welcome Week in the University of Edinburgh. Basically this episode reminded me of Harry walking into Diagon Alley for the first time (without Ollivanders), but with plenty of the magic that Edinburgh emanates by itself. Everyone was getting ready, buying spell books, checking classes, meeting professors, buying robes, potion bottles, and a cauldron. It may seem overwhelming in the beginning, but this next tip is very useful for the first few days.

Tip #2: Complete the Basic To-Dos in the First Two Days

Top Tasks for Days 1-2. Registering with the Police, Registering at the GP, Check in at University

After you're done with these tasks, you are ready to discover everything Welcome Week has to offer. There are societies, sports, shows, parties, volunteering, and even field trips happening at the same time. There is something for everyone and it is the perfect opportunity to make new friends and discover new cultures. The amount of people I met during Welcome Week could add up to the population of an entire country (ok, a little bit exaggerated, but it is like meeting all of Hogwarts' students at once). So before the semester flies off (like Harry on his Nimbus 3000), get ready for the last piece of advice.

Tip #3: Take Every Opportunity and Make the Most of It

You may feel anxious, excited, optimisting, and/or nervous, but I can assure you this: I have been living here for 2 and a half months now, and every time there is an event to attend, I just say yes. Learning is happening everywhere, all the time. There are lots of people with similar interests, and also very different ones. Everyone is willing to help, so don't be afraid to ask. There will always be someone by your side willing to lend you a hand. And the people you meet here will become your new international Scottish family; ready to share the most unforgettable memories with you. They will become your Dumbledore's Army ready to fight and succeed with you in this new stage of your life.

Alejandra Dancuart Zimmermann

Alejandra Dancuart Zimmermann is from Peru and is studying the MSc Human Resource Management.