"Come and Experience Edinburgh!" - Student Tips
Ladina, from Switzerland, shares her insider tips for a great time studying in Edinburgh. She even loved it so much that she entered a competition to come back!
I always wanted to go abroad. It was always a big dream of mine to go to England. But destiny wanted me to go to bonnie Scotland. I’m glad that I it happened to be like that. When I was booking last year’s language stay I coincidentally won this competition. That means going to Edinburgh twice. After a fantastic three months last year I was so happy to return again.
As I landed at Edinburgh after two quite relaxing flights, I felt as if I had left the city only yesterday. I was so happy to see my host family and to dive into
the city life again. Thanks to Kaplan International I became part of a fantastic host family. I really felt at home at theirs. They helped me wherever they could, let me be a part of various family events and taught me some Scottish words. In the last days before I headed back home again to Switzerland, some family friends laughed at me “because I sound a wee bit Scottish”.
As this was my second time at the Kaplan International school, this time school was rather a side issue. I can remember how serious I took it the year before. It was really important to me to be in time for the lessons, to do my homework and doing so getting the best out of my English. I wanted to do the CAE exam. Being able to attend 3 month of classes at the proficiency level without problems, passing the Advanced was easy. I was quite proud of me. So I knew that this language stay was worth it.
But it was not only school that was good. All the teachers are really kind people. They always have an answer to your questions and help you to achieve your goals. And sometimes they make jokes to brighten up the class.
Even more important are the other students. You will get to know so many different people and through them also their culture. It really depends on how long you and the other people will stay. There are times in which the mixture of students changed every week. In my class were a couple of long staying people like me, so strong friendships were built up.
With these guys I went to various activities and shared brilliant moments. The most central day of the week was Thursday, pub night. At peak times the pubs were really crowded and filled with funny people. Otherwise, we went up Carlton Hill or to Prince’s Street Garden when the sun was out. One day Mike, the Social Manager, showed us the way to Cramond Island. Unfortunately we couldn’t walk over to the isle. You only get access to the little Island in the Firth of Forth only during low tide.
During my time at Edinburgh I have seen and experienced so many things, it’s impossible to tell you of every event. Here are some things I really recommend you to do:
- Try to dance Scottish. There are a lot of locations which offer Cèilidh.
- For the lovers of scary things, it would be suitable to go on one of these many Ghost tours, either by foot or bus.
- If you want to enjoy yourself for a full afternoon, play some mini golf on the Meadows.
- During August the famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo is on. If you have the possibility to go, then go!
- On the Royal Mile there is so much to see, but you can’t see the story of Mary Kings Close without going underground. This tour shows you how people lived in medieval times.
- Even though it is really touristic, have a glimpse into the castles and all over Edinburgh.
- In July is the Spectacular Jousting event at the Linlithgow Palace. It’s a huge family event about horse riding and sword fighting.
- As a last insider tip, I would recommend you spend a nice day at North Berwick’s beach. By train it’s only half an hour from the city.
I feel as if I still haven’t seen everything. If you need any help, say to find a certain attraction or a place, don’t hesitate and go to the school's reception and ask the staff to help. And always use the public transport. With the right ticket you can get very far for very low money.
If you are lazy in organizing, go to reception and book a whole weekend trip. It’s all included: Transport, sleeping facilities and dinner. In only two days you can travel from Edinburgh through the Highlands into the north to Isle of Skye. During the journey you see different locations, of which some were used in famous movies...
Come and experience Edinburgh!