New York to Edinburgh

Hi everyone!

My name is Sylvia and I’m a visiting student from New York. I’m currently finishing up my last semester of my undergraduate degree at Edinburgh, so this semester is particularly meaningful to me. However, the studying does not end simply because I’m abroad. I’m taking three courses this semester: Introduction to Criminal Justice, Children’s Rights, and Educational Policy and Politics. On top of that, I’m studying for my teacher certification exam in London this April (I received a job offer from Teach for America three hours before I left, to my parents’ relief). On the bright side, I’m going to be meeting up with a friend who is also studying abroad in London and who I haven’t seen in about two years!

We’re currently in the middle of our third week of class and I’m finally settled in my cozy room on East Newington Place, a street tucked away behind blocks of small businesses. It’s typically quiet, with the exception of occasional sirens. Here’s a picture of my room:

(Taken with my back against the door. The collage aka mess on the side of the wardrobe are photographs I’ve taken through my travels. This room is still a work in progress.)

The past two weeks have been exciting. Upon arriving in Edinburgh, I was informed that the airport couldn’t locate my luggage, so I was without my belongings for about two days. The only bright side to not having my bag with me was that I didn’t have to lug it through the rain from the reception center to my room. On the first night, I skipped the orientation event to compare the prices of local grocery stores (Lidl is hands down the cheapest, but the only store that carries silken and firm tofu is Starlight Chinese Supermarket) and to check out the the Royal Mile, the National Scottish Gallery and Princes Mall.

Soy sauce was a staple in my childhood diet, so this cushion holds sentimental meaning. (Unfortunately, this was not for sale.)


Since then, I’ve gone to the Royal Mile, Craigmillar Castle, Salisbury Crags, Arthur’s Seat, and the Hermitage of Braid. I typically try to schedule in a trip or two every week. I may not love nature, but I do have a penchant for getting lost, which is how I ended up at Craigmillar Castle and Hermitage of Braid (Travel apps hold a special place in my heart- they have 3 folders on my phone).

An early morning walk through Holyrood Park.
Entryway of Craigmillar Castle. (note: there is a MASSIVE tree)
Arthur’s Seat, taken from Crags. (I’m creeping on my friend, Katy)
Arthur’s Seat from Hermitage of Braid.
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My RA ordering £60 of pizza on the way down from Arthur’s Seat.

Currently, my favorite part of Edinburgh is the plethora of cafés I pass on the way to and from class. I’m the type of person who always has my laptop with me, so it’s very convenient for me to plop down somewhere to grab a bite and work. In fact, I’m currently sitting in Edinburgh Coffee Cake as I write, and I just had the most delicious slice of rosewater cake (I’m also the type of person who takes photos of food before a meal).

HI RITA. (My cousin asked me to post this.)

Anyways, here are several random things I’ve learned/noticed:

–       Scottish things: Ceilidhs and reeling balls, haggis, Hogmanay

–       Squash is a basically concentrated juice that’s meant to be mixed with water, unless you really want an intense, sugary high

–      McVites’ Digestives. When I first arrived in Edinburgh, my flatmate Millie introduced me to Digestives, which are denser versions of graham crackers. They get their name from once being prescribed to aid digestion.

–       Old College is especially magnificent at night

Old College aka the law school.

Apologies and thanks for reading this excessively long post. This has been sitting on my to do list for the past two weeks but I’m hoping to update every other week from now.


Cheers, Sylvia