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Student Stories

Student Stories

Blogs and vlogs from students of the University of Edinburgh

Packing for Edinburgh as an international student…

Reading Time: 3 minutes

…by Sandra / from Nigeria / studying Africa and International Development / Postgraduate

I received my UK student visa via courier on a warm Friday afternoon in July 2021. It was one of the best moments of my life. I was over the moon with joy. I was finally certain of going to my dream school, the University of Edinburgh!  

However, in a matter of days, my excitement turned to anxiety. Now that I was sure of going to Edinburgh, what should I pack in my luggage? What should I take along with me and what should I leave behind? How do I settle in on a limited budget as a funded student? I asked myself questions after question, and oh! my family asked away too! My mum kept finding so many things I needed to take on the journey. At a point, it seemed she wanted me to pack our entire home in my luggage. Well, I arrived Edinburgh in September 2021, and I eventually settled in on a limited budget. If you are in a position like mine, here are a few tips to guide you through this confusing phase.  

Check your baggage allowance

Information regarding your baggage allowance will be specified on your flight ticket. If you exceed the amounts specified, then you will most likely be charged extra fees. In my experience, I could not afford to pay any extra fees, so I had to ensure to stay within the limit. Thus, I needed to pack things that I felt were most important, then if I still have some baggage allowance left, I could throw in a few items that I don’t really need (suggested by my darling mum of course!) 

Make a list!

This is the most important point that can never be over-emphasised. In my experience, it was a game changer. Before I began packing for my trip to Edinburgh, I made a list of all items that I felt I needed to pack in my luggage. This helped me in a lot of ways, first, while making the list, I had the opportunity to recall and include items that I may have forgotten. Second, it gave me a bird’s eye view of the items that I did not really need, considering my limited baggage allowance. Third, I was able to tick items on the list as I packed them in my luggage, so I didn’t leave anything important behind. Here is the list I made; you can modify it to fit your needs:  

Hand luggage  

  • Phone
  • Charger 
  • Backpack and Laptop 
  • Passport and printed copies of all visa documents  
  • Required medication (Put in a clearly labelled container) 
  • Money- I took some spending money to buy something to eat at the airport because my flight was so early and to pay for my transport.  
  • Facemask  
  • Hand Sanitizer  
  • A sweater (in case it gets cold in the flight) 
  • Some pocket tissues.  

NB: Do not to place any liquids in your hand luggage if they are over 100ml. Please read more about hand luggage restrictions at UK airports here. 

Checked Luggage  

  • Clothes 
  • Some comfortable walking shoes (Edinburgh is a walkable city) 
  • Family photos 
  • An adapter if necessary. The UK uses three pin plugs.  
  • My favourite snacks and foods. 
  • My favourite books and some Notebooks. 

The following tips might also be helpful:  

I am African, so I came with a lot of African food items because I didn’t think I would find them in Edinburgh, I was so wrong! Edinburgh is a multi-cultural city, there are so many stores that sell affordable Caribbean, Asian, and African food items. You can find some on Nicholson Street.  

Image of a local grocery shop

I came with a few notebooks, However, I realised it was not necessary. There are a lot of affordable stores that sell notebooks around the school.  

Coming from Nigeria, I knew the climate I was used to was significantly warmer than Edinburgh. I packed a lot of warm clothing, but I realised that the clothes I considered to be warm, were not suitable for the weather in Edinburgh. If you are coming from somewhere similar, please pack very few warm clothes.

Image of a charity shop

There are charity stores on Nicholson Street that sell affordable second-hand clothes and sometimes brand-new clothes too! There is also Primark on Princess Street. So don’t worry, you will definitely find more suitable and affordable warm clothing here in Edinburgh. 

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