As a First-Year GEP student at the time of writing this blog, it has definitely been a ride adjusting to my life here in Edinburgh (I am originally from Singapore), managing lectures, exams and working part-time as well as missing my family that I am very close to. However, there is no other city I would rather be living this experience in. I love my lifestyle in Edinburgh and the little life I have built for myself here. A large reason is that Edinburgh is such a beautiful city and I have grown to love maximising all it has to offer. In doing so, I have managed to maintain a really positive attitude towards school and prioritise taking care of my mental health. Balance is really important to me and so I figured I would share some of the ways I relax and unwind here.
- Taking walks
Edinburgh is one of the most gorgeous cities I have ever had the privilege of visiting, let alone living in. I love the fact that I can just step outside and go on a peaceful walk in the Meadows or a run around Arthur’s Seat whenever I feel like I need to give my head a bit of space. My ultimate favourite is a hike up and along the Salisbury Crags. The view at the top always gives me a bit of perspective and takes my mind off the many things I could be thinking about. I think that the city has so much beauty to offer and it is so easy to get a bit of fresh air whenever it all gets a bit too much.
- Making a weekend trip
The beautiful thing about Edinburgh is that you can easily take a train to any part of Scotland to spend a weekend. You can purchase a student railcard and access discounted fares to a myriad of cities and towns in Scotland (and the rest of the UK) and embrace the incredible Scottish landscape. My personal favourite has been a trip to Oban which is a coastal town a 3-4 hour train ride away from Edinburgh. Train tickets are affordable, easy to purchase and the views are definitely worth the trip. It is also comfortable enough to get studying done during the journey if need be! Exploring Scotland is a perfect way to learn more about Scottish history and talk to new people while getting a good break.
- Head to the beach! (Ideally in warmer months)
Edinburgh’s landscape is certainly lovely, but many people forget that it is also a coastal city with Portobello Beach right around the corner! On a sunny day, Portobello is a perfect place to go for a picnic with friends, pizza by the beach or just a lazy tan. Beach holidays are one way to unwind but since we can’t always be running to a European island for a beach vacation, why not make use of our very own coast?
- Be a tourist for a day
Edinburgh has so much to offer but sometimes, as students, we get so carried away with school, lectures and exams that we forgot to explore the very city that we are so lucky to live in, especially for international students like me. The National Museum, Dean’s Village, Calton Hill and the Surgeon’s Hall Museum are just some examples of spaces and places that make short day trips to unwind and potentially learn something new. There are also walking tours offered around town, my personal favourite being the ghost tour that starts off at the Royal Mile – while it is not particularly fear-inducing, it is definitely exciting hearing stories about Edinburgh’s history.
- Head to the gym!
The gym has been and always will be a place where I go to de-stress and work on my physical health and fitness. The university has a wonderful gym in the city (Pleasance) that has abundant facilities to meet any kind of need or interest. They also offer a huge list of classes that are included in the membership so you just sign up! There is a smaller (yet completely sufficient) gym at the Easter Bush campus catered to the staff and students at Bush and the Roslin Institute that makes it easier for vet students to hit the gym after class as it is just across from the main vet school. The Easter Bush gym is my personal favourite as it is slightly quieter and a very comfortable space. You do have to pay to purchase a gym membership and there are different tiers but I would definitely recommend getting one!