“Woah…Where is Harry Potter.”
Hi I’m Ayumi from Japan, a newly arrived exchange student who is going to stay for one semester in this magical city, Edinburgh. As I first arrived at the Royal Mile, I felt my heart beating not only because I was carrying a big suitcase and two backpacks on the cobbled street, but also because the whole view in front of me was noting but a spectacular film shot from Harry Potter movies. Here, in my first blogpost, I will introduce five things that swept me off my feet and I found quite unique about Edinburgh
1. Welcome to the World of Wizardry
If Scotland enshrines a unicorn as a national animal, the capital city, Edinburgh, is a homeland of fantasy. All the magnificent historical buildings, mysterious backstreet allies and the gloomy gray sky, everything makes you feel as if you could hear the tinkle of spooky Harry Potter music through the wind. Even if MacGonagall had popped out from one of the boutiques in the Old Town, I wouldn’t have been surprised, because I always encounter people in traditional kilts and gothic gowns on the way to the University campus. Can you imagine, this will be your everyday senary while studying at the UoE.
2. Aesthetic Designs of Medieval Architectures
Take a close look at buildings, and you will find bewitching pieces of art and hidden polygonal details that trick your eyes. Here, magic is all around you. But the best thing, at least I think, is when looking up the sky you can spot countless tiny chimneys on the roof. They’re much cuter than a typical giant chimney but as odd as mushrooms awkwardly sticking out here and there. Most of the main University buildings also retain its traditional style, especially the Law School and the Divinity School building are absolutely gorgeous. Nonetheless to say, they would be a perfect spot to take the coolest arrival picture at the UoE to send to your family and friends back home.
3. Vibrant Cultures and Academic Vibes
Edinburgh was the heart of Scottish Enlightenment, which advanced education, literatures and medical science. A number of scholars cultivated knowledge and grew their thoughts which the spirits and legacies which are still sparkling in every little corner of the city. You might be fascinated by a statue of Adam Smith or a plaque of Arthur Conan Doyle in The Writer’s Museum. Or are you nerdy enough to visit the Anatomical Museum and The National Museum of Scotland to see Murder Dolls? Scottish whisky is not the only thing to make you feel thrilled. Enjoy exploring the sophisticated culture and find what your intellectual curiosity goes for.
4. Braw Scottish English
Each country has its own charm. “Scottish people speak bloody fast with their distinct accent”. This is what people say. To be honest, for a non-native English speaker like me, it’s a double-hardship to understand British English boosted by Scottish accent. However, in fact, there is another reason that makes their language tricky. When I was walking down the street with my friend from London, she asked me “Look, do you know what Wee means?” and pointed out small establishments named “The Wee Pub”, “Wee Coffee Bar”, “Wee Café”. “Humm, the owner is a Chinese called Wee?”, I answered. Then she told me that Wee means “Little” in Scotland, so that is how they signify “The Little Pub”, “Little Coffee Bar”, “Little Café”. Thus, Braw Scottish English means “lovely/fine Scottish English”. Indeed, it is a cool language, isn’t it? Don’t worry international students, your English skill is still good in Scotland. Let’s try our best “When in Scotland, do as the Scottish do”
5. Breath-taking Landscapes
Do you believe in the magic of nature? Here you can find not only vibrant urban life, but also peaceful spaces where you can take a deep breath and embrace the lively mountain breeze and mindfulness. Calton Hill and Arthur’s Seat are my favorite places where I can easily take a walk after studying all day and watch the epic sunrise/sunset whenever I feel like it. It’s a quite tough situation to do anything these days, especially for visiting students relocating to a different country, adjusting to unfamiliar environment and making new friends under the many restrictions. However, I swear, you’d never regret studying abroad after experiencing all the wonderful things that Edinburgh has to offer.
Hope you enjoyed my small bites of Edinburgh. My new semester in UoE has just kicked off so that there are many more wonderful experiences and adventures to come. Thanks for reading and see you soon in the next post.
Warm hugs from Edinburgh,