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University of Edinburgh : Testimonials (Edinburgh)

The following program testimonial responses have been selected for publication by GatewayAbroad | Office of International Education
Testimonial
Academic Experience
I was in three third-year honors history courses. Everyone told me not to take honors course but they were actually about the same style and level of difficultly as UR 300-lvl history courses. I had roughly 20-30 students in my classes while the lower levels had 50-100+. Honestly, I felt I did better in the smaller courses than I would have in the larger lower-level courses. I got to know my teachers much more than other international students. Class participation was somewhat important because of the size of the class but was not graded. Two of my classes met once a week and the other met twice. All of these classes were 2 hours long. How much reading you did depended entirely on you. There were generally recommended readings but the rest and extend to which you read a certain subject was on an individual basis. You would not physically be able to complete the amount of reading assigned each week.
You really do have to learn to manage your time. I had one written paper half way through the semester and a final for each of my courses. The paper was usually 30% with the exam at 70%. The numbers changed slightly, but the exam was ALWAYS the most important part of the coursework.
Exams were most one essay/two essay with a document analysis section. It is VITAL to make sure you keep up with the course work during the semester, because attempting to teach yourself the entire course over a month is not an easy or recommended feat. Just because the professors do not check in on you consistently like UR professors doesn't mean you can get away with little effort.
— Spring, 2013 Participant
Academic Experience
My academic experience at the University of Edinburgh was a great one. Classes were challenging and required me to go beyond what I had been doing at the University of Richmond. It also made me think outside of the box and comfort zone as classes were structured differently and graded differently. The campus was beautiful and it was not too difficult to get the classes that I wanted to take.
— Fall, 2016 Participant
Cultural Experience
Culturally, Scotland is close enough to the US experience that I didn't get culture shock as much as homesickness for the first month or so. The thing that I think most international students forget when in Scotland is to actually really delve into the host country. I had many friends that spent their breaks traveling to the continent or to England/Ireland, and ended up leaving Scotland without a feel for the rest of the nation outside of Edinburgh. Edinburgh is an amazing city, but it is unique to the Scottish experience. Make sure to visit other places outside of urban areas. Make use of the International Student Centre in Edinburgh. They have trips every weekend to Scottish castles and natural areas that would be near impossible to access without one's own car. The prices are ridiculously cheap and UR will generally cover the cost of the trips! Scotland is a rustic and naturally austere, but breathtaking country. Don't get stuck in the Lowlands the whole time! Explore. Also go to a ceilidh fully kilted. I completely missed out on this experience and regret it to this day. Also listen to the Gaelic radio station once in awhile. There is nothing like Gaelic music as you ride through the Highlands.
— Spring, 2013 Participant
Cultural Experience
I learned so much about the Scottish parliament and how government works in the United Kingdom. At the end of the trip, I became an expert and was able to tell my parents and others about this complex political issue and the political implications of Brexit with Scotland.
— Fall, 2016 Participant
Advice for Future Students
1) As much as traveling abroad to other countries can be fun, actually make use of your time in Scotland. Don't miss out on your host country even if it is not as flashy as Italy or Spain.
2) Scottish weather is notoriously bad. I don't need to warn you. So learn to make a list of outside things to do (Grayfrairs Graveyard? The Royal Botanic Gardens?) and make use of every sunny day you get! Also if it is windy on the streets in Edinburgh, it will be a hurricane on Arthur's Seat. Adjust plans accordingly.
— Spring, 2013 Participant