Hi everybody! I’m Laura, an exchange student from Germany, and I will be writing about my experiences on this blog in the following months! I’ve actually never been to Scotland before, which makes it even more exciting.
So, here’s my first post, in which I’m going to talk about the first few weeks in Edinburgh:
Random acts of kindness:
First of all, I want to say that I am very positively surprised by how kind everybody is. Now, I don’t want to talk in a bad way about my home country, but I think that British people are in general a bit more polite than Germans. In general, I made the experience that everybody here is willing to help you if you ask politely, which is a really great thing.
A perfect example for this is the nice guy living in the flat under mine who carried my suitcase upstairs for me on my first day here. Ethan, if you’re ever reading this, thanks again for helping me! You seem like a very nice person, although your Northern Irish accent is a little hard to understand for me sometimes.
What’s up with your accent?
Talking about accents: I had a great time participating at the speed lingua event during Welcome Week. For those of you who don’t know: that’s like speed dating, but not with a romantic intention. Instead of finding a partner, you are supposed to find people you can practice your foreign languages with. Everybody gets a name tag, on which you write all the languages you speak, and then you talk to the person sitting at the other side of the table in a language you both choose. After three minutes, you change partners. It was pretty interesting and most people were really nice, but I also remember one guy whose reply when I told him where I’m from was “Oh, you Germans always have that harsh, aggressive sounding accent!” I was like “Uhm, I guess we do?” and could hardly hold back my laughter. The event was really cool and I’m definitely going to the next one as well.
How to make new friends – part I: Welcome Week
Talking about Welcome Week events: it was great that there were so many events (about 400 (!!!)) you could take part in! We don’t really have a welcome week at my home university; there’s usually just a big welcome talk and some pub crawls organised by the departments. That’s why I was positively surprised by this great variety of events you could choose from. It was overwhelming, but at the same time so much fun! And the best thing about it was that I met so many new people.
Three of them were even so nice that I decided to invite them for my birthday in the first week of the semester. I kind of expected to be crying alone in my room on my birthday – no, just kidding, but I definitely didn’t expect to make friends so fast! It was a nice little birthday party we celebrated, and now I’m probably one of the oldest Erasmus students here.
I sometimes feel like a granny, especially when I’m sitting in my Italian class, in which literally every student except for me is eighteen years old. Another example for this was at a Welcome Week event during which I was sitting at a table full of freshers, who seemed to be pretty hyped about starting university and whose conversations reminded me of myself when I started studying many, many, many years ago (actually it was just four years ago, but it feels like an eternity to me now).
How to make new friends – part II: flatmates
One of the things that scared me the most about going abroad was sharing a flat with three other students. I also lived at a student accommodation back at home, but everybody had their own room with a sink and you basically just saw the people when you accidentally ran into each other because you both wanted to use the microwave in the shared kitchen.
Our flat in the centre of Edinburgh (The location is great!) is very international: I share it with a guy from the US, a girl from Lithuania and another guy from Malaysia. They are all pretty nice, but there was one weird thing: I was actually the only person living in our flat who knew everybody else. I guess that’s because I just knocked on everybody’s doors to introduce myself when I moved in, which I can definitely recommend to everybody who moves into a shared flat. Otherwise you won’t get to know your flatmates until one of them (me) makes a group chat and somebody (also me) mentions the idea of going out together, so that you can get to know each other – which is what we did, and it was so nice that we decided to repeat it very soon. Mission completed.
I hope you guys also had a good start into the new semester!