Life @ Kaplan: A Scottish Experience

In June, we launched a Facebook photo competition to find the best Scottish themed photo from our fans. The prize was a two week English Vacation course at our Edinburgh College. Anita, who is 19 and from Poland was the winner of our competition, after her photo received the most votes.

Anita won our competition with her photo
Anita won our competition with her photo "I <3 Scotland"

Anita has been studying at the college during the most exciting time for Edinburgh. In August every year, Edinburgh hosts the famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival,  an event that celebrates music, dance, comedy and drama. We asked Anita to share her story with us, from how she felt about winning the competition, to her favorite things about Scotland.

“I'd dreamed about visiting Scotland since I was ten years old. Our English teacher divided the class into groups and we had to prepare a short presentation about the different countries in the United Kingdom. My group had to talk about Scotland. That’s how I found out it was an interesting place and I decided that one day I would visit it myself!

I was so excited when I found that I had won the competition! For my photo, I wanted to put a few Scottish traditions together so I could look like a true fan of Scotland.

Before I arrived, I had the impression that it is always raining here and that people speak with an accent that is hard to understand! Luckily, I understand a lot more than I thought I would and the weather has been much better than I expected!

There are so many great things to do in Edinburgh, like visiting the shops, galleries and museums. I also like going to pubs and restaurants with my new Kaplan friends. Then of course there is the Fringe festival. I mostly watch street shows and some of them are just amazing! The festival area is very busy and you can meet all kinds of performers there. I've seen a Japanese Ninja performance, opera singers, a rock and roll band and dance hall dancers!

Anita at the Fringe festival
Anita at the Fringe festival

So far, my favorite experience has been eating shortbread whilst listening to bagpipes music played by a Scotsman dressed in kilt during the Fringe festival. I felt closer to Scottish culture, history and music than ever before.

Anita's favorite Scottish experience has been listening to bagpipes
Anita's favorite Scottish experience has been listening to bagpipes

I’m really enjoying my time at the college. I’m making lots of great friends from all over the world including Japan, China, Italy, San Marino, Spain, Brazil, Russia, Germany and even Poland. Our teachers are always well-prepared and tell us a lot about life in Scotland. My host family are very kind. We eat evening meals together, so I feel like a member of their family. They talk to me a lot, which helps to improve my English!

Anita and her new friends
Anita and her new friends

If I could give advice to anyone thinking about studying English in Edinburgh, I would say you should always take your umbrella with you just in case! Also, be prepared that you might not understand everything that native speakers say at first. Just ask them to repeat it and talk a bit slowly. Don't be angry with yourself that you don't understand it. It's normal! All the people I have met in Edinburgh have been very polite and helpful, which has helped to make my experience even better.”

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