Settling in to Edinburgh
So I have arrived and comfortably settled into life in Edinburgh! My plane landed on the 7th of September after a very turbulent flight. I spent the rest of that week with my orientation group of about eighty American students at a hotel on Grassmarket, a street full of cafes, shops, and pubs to explore. I had a stellar view of the Edinburgh castle from my hotel room (as pictured below). Overall, orientation proved to be a helpful and enjoyable experience. We listened to many seminars ranging from the history and culture of Scotland to how to cope with “the W curve” of culture shock. The main seminar day was long; however, the organisers from IFSA Butler were proactive in planning several coffee and tea breaks into the schedule.
After orientation, I moved into my flat along the Cowgate, a popular street in Old Town. It is full of young people and lively nightlife. Although loud at times, my location is ideal because it is close to campus, social activities and even a grocery store. My five flatmates are from all over the world: England, Boston, Belfast, Los Angeles, and even India. Each one of them is friendly, kind, and respectful. We are quite a motley crew, but function well together and enjoy each other’s company. I am very lucky.
Last week was welcome week or “fresher’s week” at the University. My friends and I were busy buying the necessities for a flat and gearing up for classes. After we settled in, we were able to explore a bit. We hiked Arthur’s Seat, the main peak among the hills of Edinburgh. The view from the top was breathtaking, even though I was already out of breath from hiking all the way up. We also took a day trip to St. Andrews, where we explored the castle and cathedral ruins along the ocean (as pictured below). The water is calming for me so St. Andrews was the perfect place to wind down after a hectic week. Although I often miss the familiarity of home, I am so happy to be here. Edinburgh is a beautiful, incredible city with friendly, welcoming people. I am excited to update you in my next post about how my academics are going!