Why the University of Edinburgh Should Be Your Top Study Abroad Choice

Word on the street is, it's about time that American college students started applying to study abroad programs. And since I've been attending a University that's a fairly popular choice among Americans, I thought I'd provide some unsolicited persuasion (as I always do).

Before I delve into the numerous reasons why Edinburgh (both the city and the University) is a wonderful place for a study abroad experience, I'd like to debunk one sweeping generalization that people have said to me about the United Kingdom that really gets on my nerves:

"The UK isn't really all that different from the US."

Whoa. That's a pretty big- and rather unfair- judgement. Sure, the language is the same. But at times, Edinburgh can feel just as foreign to me as a country in which I don't speak the language (and let's not forget that the Scot's have a language of their own). I'd also be quick to point out that despite the similarities of the British and the Americans that might be apparent on the surface, the cultural differences are certainly there if you spend enough time in the UK.

So the UK and the US are pretty different in their own unique and amazing ways okay? That's not the main point of this post though, so if you need further proof I'd like to direct you to blog posts here, here, and here.

Alright, onto the convincing!

You can really get "stuck in."

Perhaps one of the most unique elements of studying abroad at a UK University like Edinburgh is that you won't feel like an exchange student. As opposed to going to the "American University of *insert country name here*" where you'll likely spend most of your time with other study abroad students, Edinburgh provides the opportunity for you to interact with local students (whether they're from Scotland, England, or elsewhere). Instead of being isolated within your "study abroad crew" you can join a sport or society whose members are a mix of full-time and exchange students (to be honest, our running club is probably more welcoming to study abroad kids than anyone else!). You'll really become a student at the University of Edinburgh and have the full Scottish experience- rather than the American version of a foreign experience.

The best (and coldest!) club around.

The city is beautiful- but there's countryside too!

If you're nervous about transitioning from a campus-based school to more of a city school, but still want to see what the city's all about, then Edinburgh is the perfect place for you. A medium-sized city with history at it's core, Edinburgh doesn't come off as intimidating- rather, it is welcoming in it's charm. Not only is the size of the city manageable on it's own, but just a 20 minute drive outside the center provides you with picturesque Scottish countryside. We really do have the best of both worlds here.

There's no (complete) language barrier.

Even though I did argue earlier that the language in Scotland (and even the rest of the UK) can be quite different at times, the fact that there's no "full" language barrier is actually to a study abroad student's benefit. I never really understood why people would study in a country where they know none of the language- not only is it a major headache, but it really limits your interaction with locals, which is kind of the point of studying abroad isn't it? So if languages aren't your thing, then Edinburgh couldn't be more perfect. And if languages are your thing? Then I dare you to master Gaelic or Scots.

Living costs are reasonable.

This is a good one for the parents out there. We all know that American colleges charge extortionate amounts of money for tuition and housing (if you were paying for that fancy dining hall yourself you'd probably think twice about skipping a meal). Even as an exchange student in University housing at Edinburgh, you'll likely be cooking for yourself. That means that if you do your grocery shopping right, you'll probably be saving tons of money. And even though you'll have to be buying alcohol yourself (say so long to frat parties), Edinburgh's nightlife prices are a lot cheaper than London or New York, and you might come back home with more responsible drinking habits and a deeper knowledge of wine or whisky (no promises though).

Those cheap Friday cocktails at Montpellier's are calling your  name.

You can visit me!

This is quite possibly the main reason I'm writing this post. While I won't be studying abroad next year, my master plan is to have tons of friends come to Edinburgh (whether for school or a weekend trip) so I don't have to leave this fantastic city that I like to call my home away from home.

Me! One of the many reasons why you should come to Edinburgh. Also note the #legality.

P.S. If you're thinking of coming to Edinburgh for study abroad, don't hesitate to shoot me an email (in my About section above) or post a comment below!

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