I often get asked when speaking about my life as a vet student why I chose to study at the Dick Vet over other schools, and what it is like living in Edinburgh. Whether you have accepted an offer and are preparing to start at the Dick Vet next year, or are looking into applying in future years, this is the blog post for you! I’m here to shine some light on our vet school and the city of Edinburgh itself, and why I believe this was the perfect place for me to be throughout my vet school journey.
*Please note some things I will mention below might not be happening or open currently due to the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic.
1. Proximity of vet school buildings and facilities: When first looking into the Dick Vet, I appreciated that the school’s facilities were all in the same area, with no need to travel to many locations in the city/outside the city for different practicals or labs. The school has its own teaching building separate from the main university, with a variety of hospitals (small animal, equine, farm animal), farms (sheep and dairy) and research institutes all within close proximity and walking distance to one another.
2. Outside of the city centre: When also looking into vet school’s, I did like the fact that Edinburgh’s vet school was away from the city centre, but still accessible by public transport/car. For me, this physical separation allows me to really detach school life from a more personal life in the city. This has been a bit more difficult to do during the pandemic, but for this year, it has always been refreshing having a change of scenery at the school campus for our practicals after spending most of the week at home listening to lectures.
3. Kindness and Community: Right from the interview, I got a sense of kindness and community from the vets and other employees of the Dick Vet, which gave me some comfort when I finally got accepted and chose to come to Edinburgh for my veterinary studies. The kindness, enthusiasm and support from the Dick Vet community (including my amazing friends and classmates) has been present throughout my vet experience so far, and I am glad to have chosen a vet school with a community that feels like a home away from home.
4. Access to main university facilities and societies: Although the vet school and its events are often separate from the rest of the University of Edinburgh, I love the fact that as vet students we are still much a part of the wider university community. We have access to many of the main university centres (ie. libraries, gyms, student union building), and can also take part in the plethora of clubs, sports teams and societies the university has to offer. Throughout vet school, I have taken advantage of these facilities and clubs offered to us, such as studying for exams in the main library, taking spinning and yoga classes at the gym, and taking part in some fun clubs such as the yoga society and BSL society.
5. Cafes, Bakeries and Unique Eats!: Like many cities, Edinburgh has its fair share of local cafes and eateries. One of my favourite lunch or weekend pass times is to try out a new place and support the local food/café businesses. Here are some of my favourite foodie spots in the city (just to name a few!): Victor Hugo Deli, Scran, The Piemaker, Razzo Pizza Napoletana, the Milkman, Think Pastry, Little Fitzroy Coffee, Laila Edinburgh, Stockbridge Market
6. Edinburgh’s great outdoors!: The city and its surroundings have an abundance of parks, hills, gardens and green spaces that are accessible and enjoyable all year round. For me, this is up on my list of favourite things about this city, as I enjoy being outdoors on weekends and getting as much fresh air as a can after a long week of classes. My top favourite outdoor spaces in and around Edinburgh include: the Pentland Hills (which are right behind our vet school!), Calton Hill, Holyrood Park, The Meadows, The Royal Botanical Gardens, Princes Street Gardens, Braid Hills, Inverleith Park and Edinburgh’s beaches Portobello, Silverknowes).
7. Free museums! If you love a good history/art museum like me, you’ll be pleased to know that many of Edinburgh’s museums are free to visit! So far, I have been to the National Museum of Scotland (several times), Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and the Writer’s Museum.
8. A photographer’s paradise: Much of Edinburgh’s Old Town and New Town make part of a protected UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and it is easy to see why! The city offer’s so many beautiful buildings, structures and landscapes, and walking through certain parts of the city can really bring you back in time.
9.Yearly city events, festivals, commemorations and celebrations: This year has been a bit different due to the pandemic, with many of Edinburgh’s events being cancelled. However, during a more “normal” year, the city comes to life with the many different celebrations, festivals and commemorations it hosts throughout the year. Some of the big events include the Fringe Festival, the Military Tattoo, Riding of the Marches, the Christmas Market, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, Edinburgh’s International Festival, Edinburgh’s International Book Festival.
10. Bonus, the weather isn’t as bad as you think!: Before moving to Scotland, I had always heard it was an extremely rainy and grey place to live, which made me a bit hesitant to move here at first. I can’t speak for the rest of Scotland, but I can say that Edinburgh has surprised me in the best way possible! Of course, there are still some grey and rainy days (and you usually cannot escape the constant wind), but there are also plenty of full sunny days, and I have seen more rainbows here than anywhere else. 🙂