Scottish Castles You Should Visit

Argument on the number of castles in Scotland is controversial, but how many castles would you think there are?  The estimate (we can’t even count properly) says it varies wildly from 2000 to 4000. Wow, this honestly surprised me a lot. You may wonder what the definition of castle is.  Here are the two criteria: one, used…

Easter in Edinburgh

It seems like every holiday is made bigger in America, including Easter. I say this because, similarly to Halloween, I was surprised at the minor presence Easter had in Edinburgh. Leading up to the holiday, not much décor was put up and not a lot of events were organized to celebrate the holiday. I did…

Meeting the world

Internationality and the University of Edinburgh – these two go hand in hand. An idea that caught me right when I typed Edinburgh University into my web search for the first time that has now turned into reality. Life and uni in Edinburgh truly are multicultural. And that’s a big part of the fun! There…

Last Few Months in Edinburgh…

So we finished semester 1 in December. Semester 2, the last one in Edinburgh for me, started in January.  And now Semester 2 is about to end… I can hardly believe that only a few months from now I have to be back to Japan.  I have such a mixed feelings about going home —…

Trip to Steall Waterfall

  The 18th of January I was going to the airport with a big smile on my face because two of my best friends, Celia and Ricardo, came to visit me from Spain for my birthday. After an evening of celebrations and a little sleep, without even having shown them Edinburgh, we woke up the…

Lessons from Creative Learning Week

The Festival of Creative Learning has now come and gone, and I spent my week off from classes walking around the city and an empty campus as well as attending workshops. When I heard about the different events running on campus, I decided to stay in Edinburgh and join in on the Festival while most…

Citylife vs. IESS Trips

  On the University of Edinburgh campus, the two most prominent organizations for day/weekend trips are Citylife and IESS (International and Exchange Students Society). The two cater directly to international students wanting to see more of the UK. The affordable day and weekend trips Citylife and IESS lead are perfect for those studying abroad. Though…

It Snows in Scotland?

Often our preconceptions of a city are associated with its climate. I have experienced first hand that this is indeed true. I can tell you as a native Californian that I am questioned about our sunny climate. Or as a university student in Canada I am often pitied for our exceptionally cruel winters. That being…

A Coffee Addict’s Guide to Edinburgh and Beyond

Although I may not call myself a coffee addict, I am certainly addicted to coffee shops. The welcoming, cozy atmosphere is immediately alluring with no two shops alike. Most coffee shop addicts have their go-to shops back home, but living in a new city requires finding the best new places for a cup of joe….

Not Just a ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’

After walking past the Surgeon’s Hall Museum and the Anatomical Museum countless times, I decided to visit both of them for a Saturday full of medical marvels. Lucky for me, it was the last Saturday of the month, meaning the Anatomical Museum was open and free to the public. I have heard of warnings about…

Ready for a Travel Challenge?

Although spring semester seems long, it is broken up with many breaks and long stretches of no classes. And with the chilly Northern air of Scotland, the best solution is to travel (preferably south). Travel is a high priority with exchange students. Fortunately, Europe’s intimate borders make it easy. That being said, Europe is expensive….

Happy Hogmanay!

After Christmas, I came back to a quiet Edinburgh. Winter break here means an abandoned campus, free choice of seat in your favourite coffee shop and an empty hallway in my usually busy twelve people apartment. I came back to see the big thing at the end of the year, join the party, the crazy…