My O-Week Experience: Zofia

Well team, I made it!

I’m writing this sitting in the Mary Brück Building at the King’s campus of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. It still feels surreal that I’m actually here, despite being several weeks into university starting.

So, what have I been up to? Well, there has been a lot of beer and late nights, as well as lectures and practical labs (I swear, Mum, I’ve been going to every one).

Since I’ve come into Edinburgh’s second semester of the academic year, O Week wasn’t a huge “official” thing (although I hear if you come in September, Freshers Week is insane). That being said, the unofficial party hasn’t stopped since I got here.

I arrived at my accommodation in January. I’m staying at Pollock Halls, which is a complex of seven or eight “houses”, which are your typical university hostels – small rooms, single beds, questionably patterned carpet. We all share one big dining hall, which is all-you-can-eat and arguably wonderful.

On the first night we got taken to an event for international students called ‘A Taste of Scotland’. We got the whole haggis experience, with a piper and a proper Scottish address. If you don’t think about what’s in it too much, haggis isn’t half bad, and the Scots’ obsession with mashed root vegetables (“neeps and tatties”) is well founded.

During the week we also went to a ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee – that’s Gaelic for you). It’s a traditional Scottish folk dancing gathering, where you get taught the steps and dance in big circles. Really fun, but also a lot more of a workout than I’d anticipated when I dressed for the 0 degrees it was outside.

Those were the two properly organised events that I went to, but I’ve managed to meet a tonne of absolutely lovely people who go to Edinburgh Uni. Despite only being here for such a short time, the city itself and the people already feel like home.

Coming from New Zealand, you tend to forget how young we are as a country. Some of the buildings here outstrip our entire history by hundreds of years, which is insane to think about. The first day I arrived I just walked down all the streets taking photographs of everything and you could tell the locals wondered what I found so fascinating about literally just an old building.

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The other major difference here is the cold. I’ve never lived anywhere that is this cold. When it started properly snowing I absolutely lost it (embarrassing in front of exchange students from Canada, who didn’t find it so thrilling). But after purchasing some additional woollen socks I’ve managed to make it through.

The university work is really interesting, too (had to mention it at some point, I guess). Very similar set up to how science courses are run in Auckland, although I am slightly bitter about the difference in workload between science courses and everything else! My friends taking arts and commerce subjects literally have three lectures a week, whilst I’m suffering through about four times that.

So there we go – the first update from Edinburgh.

Love from Scotland!

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