As an international student, I have found that one of the best things that has helped me settle in here and feel apart of the community has been getting involved in some of the many clubs that are offered through the University of Edinburgh. This has helped me meet people outside of the veterinary program with the wider university clubs as well as helping me meet more people in the veterinary program with the vet clubs. It also gives you a chance to continue your hobbies or to find new ones and helps me find a good study/life balance, which can be a challenge during veterinary school.
There are so many clubs offered it was hard for me to even narrow it down to which ones I wanted to join. However, there were some different fairs and events for different clubs during welcome week that gave us a chance to check different societies out and see which ones we might be interested in joining. Also, a lot of the veterinary clubs will email out to the whole vet school when they have different talks by professionals on zoom, and you don’t necessarily need to be apart of the club in order to attend online, so I have found it easy to attend the talks that I find interesting. For example, one of the vet groups hosted a talk on zoom on animal forensics done by a professional in the field that was very informative and interesting.
There is also a Dick Vet Musicians group that was easy to join, they don’t require auditions or anything, and they have both an ensemble and a choir that meets once weekly to practice. This has been a good stress-relieving (at least most of the time) activity to get together with some other students and play music.
In addition, there are many sport clubs, some which are more intense and some that are more laid-back. I joined the gymnastics club which I have found very fun, although I had only ever done gymnastics before when I was very young. I have also joined the Christian union group, and I have found everyone there to be very friendly and engaging so it has been a great way to get to know other students and they put on lots of different events, like the ceilidh dance pictured here.
Another way to get involved is to just invite course-mates and flatmates to do things, like go to coffee and study, or go to a Christmas event, or organize flat meals or a Thanksgiving meal. Sometimes with all the studying we have to do it is nice to take little breaks like these. This also helps me not feel so isolated or homesick as well, since while here I am quite a long ways from my family.