Practical Tips for International Students: Part I

This post is the first part of a three part series of hints, tips and advice for international students new to Edinburgh written by an Edinburgh graduate under the pen name ‘Little Me’. Enjoy – and comment below: what have you learned since arriving in Edinburgh?

A year can be finished before you realize. That’s why it’s too short to be missed out on. As an international student, here are some practical tips from my own experience that I’d like to share with all of you. Hopefully these could help you save some time and energy for the things you really need to experience by yourself.

  •  Traffic direction. Once I got out of the taxi in Edinburgh for the first time, I was like a brave person standing in the middle of road, because I thought I would know where the cars would come from. It seemed to worry the taxi driver a lot. He kept telling me: “watch out, watch out!” Then I suddenly realized how stupid I was to keep forgetting the traffic direction. The taxi driver, therefore, became the first super nice Scottish person in my heart! After looking both ways when I cross the road for a long time, now what I do is – looking at the RIGHT way first, then left!
Edinburgh traffic

Edinburgh traffic. Photo: Little me

  • Keep receipts. Keeping all the receipts in your bag all the time can be annoying when you find it like a garbage bag. Why don’t you try to organize them by clipping them in different categories? They could be from supermarkets, shops, and cards or however the way you like. I didn’t pay any attention to this until one day I lost my railcard. I could have just got a replacement if I had kept the receipt. Instead, I had to buy a new one for £28. Receipts from clothing or souvenir shops can be necessary if you want a refund or draw back the tax paid. Even the receipt I get on the bus, I would keep it until I get off in case someone pops on and checks. Keeping receipts can also help you manage your budget.
  • Student discounts and charity shops. Being a student here can be quite nice sometimes. There are student discounts in many shops, restaurants and Chinese supermarkets. Please don’t feel too shy or ashamed to ask. It doesn’t do any harm but offers surprising benefits. I wasn’t a big fan of charity shops until I started volunteering in a charity shop. Things that are not needed by the owner can be exactly what you are looking for. If you can get it in a very cheap price, why not? They don’t just sell clothes, they sell almost everything—books, CDs, souvenirs, antiques and on and on. You could always go and have a look every week on the way home since they change the things quite often. As students we don’t make money; so personally, I think we have every responsibility to save some.

Coming up in Part II: Travelling and Practising Your English

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