Feeling at home in an international community…
…by Amanda / from New Jersey, USA / International Relations / 2nd Year (UG)
As an international student, one of the first things I’m ever asked when I start a conversation with someone new is why I decided to come to Edinburgh instead of staying in my home country. During Welcome Week my answer always tended to be a short snippet of why I chose Edinburgh. I would talk about how I fell in love with the city when I came for the Post-Offer Visit day, or how I really enjoyed the Scottish education system and the flexibility of taking outside courses. Even though there was definitely enough for me to make the big step of leaving my small town in America, I wasn’t yet aware of what being a student at Edinburgh was really like.
Upon entering my second year of study and once again having the opportunity to introduce myself to new people, I took on a slightly different answer to the question. Being here for a whole year had shown me that I was right to choose the University, not only because of the education and location, but also the opportunities to interact and connect with such an international student body.
As an Edinburgh student you are exposed to different cultures, backgrounds, and languages on campus. Talking with people from so many areas of the world has given me a more global perspective which has been invaluable as an International Relations student. I have had stimulating tutorial discussions where classmates have shared their home experiences to enhance the political debate, and been surrounded by so many languages that I was inspired to learn Arabic. All-round, I’ve become a better informed student through getting to know and listening to the life experiences of others.
Being a part of this student community has not only improved my learning, but has encouraged me to get involved in so many different societies and social activities which promote global citizenship. I am a member of AIESEC, which allows me to help students find internships and volunteering opportunities in a diverse range of countries. Alongside this I am a member of the North American Society and Latin American Society; one society allowing me to feel less homesick, and the other allowing me to explore a new culture. Through these groups I have been able to connect with so many students from varying backgrounds and cultures and make friends from all over the world. My own flat has even become home to a mixture of cultures with the five of us sharing six different passports between us.
Overall, talking to and interacting with our diverse and international student body has been by far the most positive experience I’ve had since starting at Edinburgh. Having benefited so much from this, I can only recommend it to you!