Helpful Information for Foreign Interns
Information for Foreign Interns
at the SCLC
written by our 2011 German Interns Bettina Voussen and Mirka Fries
Where to find accommodation:
Good pages to look at are:
It is a good idea to have a flat close to the SCLC. The postal code is EH8. Don't forget to look, if the landlord takes short term lets at all. There are many festivals in Edinburgh in the summer. The advantage is that there is always something going on. It also means though, that the city is overly crowded.
Former interns stayed at Edinburgh University Dorms. www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/accommodation-services/home Tel. +44 (0)131 667 1971. You can also contact us for previous landlords used by our foreign interns.
One important thing about accommodation is Council Tax. As a full-time student from a member state of the European Union, you may be eligible for tax exemption which could significantly lower the cost of living. For more information check out the City of Edinburgh Council's website at www.edinburgh.gov.uk
The closest neighbourhoods to the centre of Edinburgh are Newington, Tollcross or anywhere around the Meadows. All these districts are within easy walking distance.
How to get from the Airport into Edinburgh:
Take the Bus 100 which leaves at the airport and ends at Waverly Station, which is located in the centre of Edinburgh. It cost £3.50 and takes about 20 minutes. If you already know when you will get back home you can get a ticket for both ways for £6. Alternatively, you can take Lothian Bus number 35 which is a regular service, costs £1.40, but the route is a bit longer taking around an hour, running from the airport through the city centre to Ocean Terminal.
It's also possible to take a taxi straight to your flat which costs around £25 (depending on where your flat is).
There are many food stores and restaurants in Edinburgh and most of them are open seven days a week, so don't worry about starving! The prices are reasonable, but this of course does depend on the exchange rate.
There are two bus companies running through Edinburgh, the Lothian Busses and the First Busses. They have slightly different routes but cost about the same. One bus ride on the Lothian Bus costs £1.40, a day ticket costs £3.50. The busses don't have any change, so you need to carry the exact change or you have to pay more. Depending on where you live and if you have to take the bus more often, it is a good idea to get a ticket for the week (£17) or for the month (£51).
The cheapest way to get pounds sterling is to withdraw it at a cash machine in Scotland. The exchange rate will most often be better there. There is also a cash machine at the airport, so you can get money straight upon arrival in Edinburgh.
However, it is not a bad idea to have some money changed in the beginning, just in case you want to take the bus or in case your bank card doesn't work (but don't worry, it usually does). Sometimes you have to tell your bank about your intention to get money in a different country than your home country, so your card is unlocked for that country..
The weather in Edinburgh is truly Scottish! It is changing all the time; never trust blue sky and sunshine, it might be start to rain in a couple of minutes. So don't forget to have sunglasses and a rain jacket with you all the time. It's also advisable to pack some waterproof shoes.
It is a good idea to get an international Student Identity Card before you come, since you can get loads of student discounts in Edinburgh.
Travelling in Scotland is a good idea. You might want to see the country side or other cities than Edinburgh, like Glasgow, Scotland's biggest city. There are many tourist offers for trips around Scotland. You can look them up in the internet, but it's not a problem to book them after your arrival, too. The best place to book such tour is Haggis (www.haggisadventures.com)/; don't mix that up with the famous national dish!). They have their office quite close to the SCLC and offer a wide range of tours.
If you want to go on your own, you can go by bus or by train. The buses leave at the St Andrew Square and are slightly cheaper than the trains; look at www.citylink.co.uk You can also take the train; there are sometimes good offers, if you book in advance: www.thetrainline.com
If you intend to get around a little bit you should absolutely bring waterproof boots.
What to do in your spare time:
Edinburgh offers a wide range of sights and places worth seeing. You should definitely climb Arthurs Seat on a not too cloudy day. You will have a great view over the city from the top. Then there is Calton Hill in New Town, again with a great view over Edinburgh.
Edinburgh also has some nice museums. The National Gallery and the Museum of Scotland are recommendable and the admission is free. If you are interested in science you should definitely visit Our Dynamic Earth which offers exhibitions about the history of planet Earth and the environment.
Also the canal is worth a visit. Take a walk along the Water of Leith Walkway, from Haymarket Station to Stockbridge to the Royal Botanic Garden. Then, of course, there is the castle and – on the other end of the Royal Mile – the new, modern parliament building with the palace in its neighbourhood.
Absolutely advisable are the New Europe Walking Tours (www.newedinburghtours.com/) They start every day at 9:30 am, 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm in front of the Starbucks on the Royal Mile. They are free (you pay as much as you want to) and offer you 3 hours of Edinburgh's Old Town full of interesting and entertaining stories about Edinburgh's history and present. To get a deeper insight into the medieval history and legendry of Edinburgh get on one of the famous and popular dungeon or witchery tours.
Edinburgh offers loads to see and to do, especially during Festival time. There are many festivals going on simultaneously; the Jazz and Blues Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival and the Festival Fringe. To see the programme and to book events visit the Festival's website at www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk And definitively don't forget to pop over to the fudge store on the Royal Mile!