20 December 2019

After all the research is done, there will always be new and unexpected things to learn when you live abroad. Here are a few things that have either shocked or pleasantly surprised me in the last few months of living in Edinburgh.
8 Surprises About Edinburgh image: Students in George Square by Paul Dodds

1. Climate

I have never experienced such cold weather in my life. I remember the day I landed in Edinburgh. It was still the end of September, but my teeth chattered. Windy rain makes it colder and so much harder. I can vouch for the fact that it rains at least twice a week here. I can proudly say that I have now gotten used to this temperature. But then again, "winter is coming"!

2. "After you"

Yesterday, a very nice lady and I spent at least five minutes saying "after you" before one of us finally gave up and boarded the Lothian bus that was on time.

3. Travel Cards

I come from a place of organised chaos and I quite enjoy that from time to time. However, it is nice to experience things that are in order. In Edinburgh, or for every city in the UK for that matter, there seems to be a travel card that can be used for any form of public transport, and that is life-changing.

4. Discounts

Life as a student is difficult. There are numerous weekly assignments, group project submissions, and exams. On the bright side, we are blessed with student discounts. In a lot of the shops, you just show your student ID and they magically give you 10–15% off. Unfortunately, some places are just not willing to accept magic.

5. Cards

Call me ignorant but I didn't know contactless existed until I came to Edinburgh. We don't have it in India. I am in love with how contactless cards are convenient and efficient. For those of you who are unaware like me, a contactless card is like any other credit or debit card—you just don't need to enter your pin to empty your bank balance in this case!

6. Cost

As an international student, it is hard to fathom that a cup of coffee costs 205 Rupees (£2.05) or that a packet of chips cost 100 Rupees (£1). The best way around this is to not convert your currencies while buying things.

7. Diversity

In my opinion, the best way to experience the cultural diversity in this beautiful city is to just walk along the streets of Edinburgh. You will overhear people speaking in a multitude of languages—some of which you may not even recognise. My course alone has people from at least 15 different countries! It is amazing to see how we are all completely difficult but still very similar.

8. Toilet Paper

That one just speaks for itself!

Revathi is a student on the MSc in Business Analytics at the University of Edinburgh Business School.