A Day in the Life of an Exchange Student at the University of Edinburgh

As an exchange student at the University of Edinburgh, my days are quite different than when I attend my home university in Vancouver, Canada. Instead of attending classes five days a week and juggling five modules, I only have classes two days a week and take three modules. Although, this did take a bit to get used to, mainly the part about having so much free time on my hands, I now use that time to explore the city and of course, scout all the cute coffee shops and brunch venues. So what’s it like having classes only two days? Here’’s a glimpse into my typical Monday morning at the University of Edinburgh.



Although my classes do start at 9am, I’m a morning person and I love waking up early before everyone else to drink my home made cold brew and plan for my day ahead. During this time, I look over my planner to see what tasks I need to complete before the end of the day and add a few more if I see that I have spare time. I usually make a note to go on a jog up to nearby Calton Hill after class if its not raining.



Armed with my laptop, UK power adapter, cold brew, and post lecture snacks, I leave for class at the University of Edinburgh’s central campus. I live quite far from campus (about a 30-35 min walking commute, 10 minute bus ride if you don’t want to walk) and so I like to give myself extra time to walk to campus and then study a few minutes before my 9am seminar.


My first class of the day is Sociology of Intoxication which also happens to be my favourite class. Professor Bancroft is an amazing lecturer and despite the class being two hours in duration, time does seems to go by quite quickly. If you ever have a chance to take one of the many classes he teaches, I would definitely recommend! He really does care about his students!


My second and final class of the day is Human Personality which pertains most to my major out of all the classes that I’m taking. Psychology is taught quite differently here in Scotland versus back in Canada, in the sense that instead of having three in class examinations throughout the semester, we engaged in a mandatory debate with our peers and argued for or against different theories of personality. Its safe to say that I much rather enjoyed the participatory aspect of psychology classes here rather than having to take examinations back home! Also, if you’re also thinking about taking classes in the area of psychology, Professor Mottus is an absolute gem! Ask him about his favourite book, Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are, and you’ll be guaranteed to get on his good side.

1-3:30 ish

After class, I walk over to the College of Art Library which is based in Evolution house just off of West Port. A simple tip for incoming exchange students is to go onto the University’s library page beforehand where all the opening hours of the libraries are listed. Some libraries have strict opening and closing hours. Helpful tip for incoming exchange students is that some branches such as the main and law libraries monitor their capacity levels and publish it online so students can easily check to see if the library is empty or full. At this time, its usually somewhat quiet enough to study for a few hours and work on the various essays that I’ve been saving for the last minute.


On my way back to my dormitory, I always stop at Real Foods, an organic grocer on Broughton Street. Being a university student can be stressful, but I always try to choose healthy food options whenever I can. Real Foods also has some easy to prepare recipes on their website if you’re ever at loss on what to cook.

Carlton Hill


After I get back to my dormitory, I change into my workout clothes and go for a quick jog up Calton Hill before dinner. My home university is situated within Pacific Spirit Park on the coast of British Columbia, so there are lots of jogging and hiking trails nearby. After moving to Edinburgh, I was at a bit of a loss on where I could run, however, I soon found out about Calton Hill and have been going there ever since.


Dinner time? What I eat varies day to day, usually consisting of a vegetable paired with a protein. My favourite go-to’s are udon soup with egg and vegetables, and quesadillas with refried beans and lettuce.


After dinner, I like to wind down for the night by listening to music and studying. Coursework can be quite stressful so its important to take the time you need to relax and prepare yourself for the next day.


Lights Out!

By Annabella