18 November 2021

Rhema Joseph, MSc International Human Resource Management, shares her experiences being an international student and adapting to the move to Edinburgh.
 New College building in Edinburgh
  • "What will my experience in a new country be like?"
  • "How will I fit in?"
  • "Will I be able to make friends?"
  • "What will the weather be like?"

These are some thoughts that flooded my mind a few months before flying from my home country India, to start my studies in Edinburgh.

After receiving my offer early in December 2020, I was on cloud nine. I could not comprehend the way my life would be in a few months, and it all seemed like a distant dream.

Reality had not hit me yet — but as things slowly got checked off my list and I received my visa in the mail one morning, it finally sunk in.

Settling into Edinburgh

Being an international student, I had the anxiety of adjusting to a new country coupled with sheer excitement. I was so excited to begin my journey and experience everything Edinburgh had to offer. I was now ready to board that flight and turn my dreams into reality!

I still remember getting off the flight at Edinburgh Airport and funnily, the first thing that popped into my head was, "wow, is it going to be this cold?" In my defence, the city in India I lived in, had winters going as low as just 17°C! A pretty sunny day for Scotland, isn’t it?

The journey from the airport to my isolation accommodation was a good 30-minute drive and it was a blessing in disguise, as it seemed like the perfect way to soak up the beautiful sights of the city before being confined to a room for 10 days.

I was glued to the window the entire way to my accommodation and could not help but be thankful for this opportunity. After my isolation period, I finally stepped out of my room, ready to explore the City of Edinburgh!

I walked around Princes Street, stopped to admire the beautiful architecture around me, and was in awe of the magnificent Old College standing strong in the distance.

For those wondering about the weather here in Scotland, well, it can be very unpredictable, and you will be fortunate enough to see all four seasons in a single day!

Pro-tip: carry at least one wind or water-resistant jacket from home to tide you along for a few weeks before the winters set in.

A diverse community of friends

To be honest, in the end it was not hard to make friends. If you are reading this and you are nervous about how things will pan out for you, rest assured that you will not have any trouble fitting in.

The University encourages diversity and is filled with friendly faces from across the globe. This year, students from across 70 different nationalities have joined the Business School Master’s programmes.

I personally enjoyed the welcome sessions on 'Cultural Transition and Culture Shock' and the 'Edinburgh in Context' interactive session organised by the Student Development Team. These events struck a good balance between understanding different cultural dynamics and meeting new people from across the globe.

People here are warm, kind, friendly, and equally in need of friends! Most of the people I have met are eager to get to know new faces and would go out of their way to start a conversation.

Above all, interacting with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds gives you a wider perspective on different issues, helps you learn and enjoy new experiences, and leaves you with skills that will go a long way.

Excited to see where this year will take me

My experience at the Business School has been amazing, and I cannot wait to see what this year has yet to offer. I constantly find ways to push myself out of my comfort zone and experience everything I anticipated to learn and do.

In the City of Edinburgh, every day feels like you are on vacation and you are going sightseeing to a beautiful spot in and around the city.

My key takeaway of being an international student in a foreign land, is giving myself the time to recognise and acknowledge the things moving quickly around me. My experiences and my adjustment to the city is merely a process that gets better each day.

My advice to you — do not let the complexity of a situation get the better of you and hold you back from achieving what you have come to conquer! And who knows, you may fall in love with the city, the memories you have created, and eventually call Edinburgh your second home.

Rhema Joseph is studying MSc International Human Resource Management (class of 2022).

If you have questions ask Rhema on Unibuddy.