Spending 3 months here I feel that I know my ways around, and I can consider this my city.
So let me give you few pieces of advice on how to settle in here.
Before you get here you need to secure an accommodation as not to spend your first days here hustling around looking for flats and dorms, I’d strongly suggest you get a room in Holyrood North. Although many argue that it’s best to get a flat on your own as you would have bigger room/space, yet Uni accommodation has a lot to offer. Starting with all bills included: Gas, Electricity and WiFi, to the weekly cleaning (bathroom only) to the other facilities they offer. But, I would specifically recommend Holyrood North, as it’s quite new, although the room is averagely small (bigger room would be much much appreciated but it’s relatively okay compared with other accommodations, it has HUGE common room (2 to be more accurate) and a huge shared kitchen, but most importantly, you can always meet someone new and chat. Over 400 students live there. It’s located in the central area, basically near to everything. And btw, each floor has its own common room, and yes, btw again, there are 3 music rooms!
So, you’ve settled down and have a room, you need to have a way to move around the city, for me, I got a bike as I love cycling, and the city is cycling-friendly. But the main advice is: YOU CAN ALWAYS WALK. Nothing is quite far in the central area around the uni so if you wanna stay healthy walk, and if you want to be healthy AND cool; get a bike.
If you are lazy and don’t want to walk a lot, don’t worry, the busses are everywhere! It cost £1.6 per journey or £4 per day, and if you are planning to move a lot or take the buses on daily basis, you can get a monthly pass for £40 a month, quite a good deal, ha?
Also, £30 can get you a train card which gives you 30% discount on every train ticket you get for 1 year! Make sure to get it if you want to travel around the UK.
Oh yes, remember, Google maps is your best friend here. It knows everything and can give you bus times, let you know whether the place you are heading to is open or closed, and the best route to use.
Now you need to open a bank account, to be able to buy stuff! Your accommodation will give you a letter to prove your address and you have lots of options to go to, the closest one will be Santander as it’s located in George Sq. but I’d recommend using Bank of Scotland (not the royal bank). Why? Because they basically don’t charge you for the account and they give you a contactless visa card (Santander won’t give you this) and you can use it for Android Pay and Apple Pay (Santander will charge you for this).
You’ll need your: Passport, BRP, Bank letter from Accommodation (these 3 you should always have them with you whenever you want to open something or buy something with contract)
Then you need a sim card! True, WiFis are everywhere but you still need the data connection, for google maps maybe? For myself I believe “Three” give a quite good deal but they are all the same, just think of what you want to do with the sim (Data? Calls? Texts?) remember you can always use WhatsApp for calls and text, so look for the cheapest operator that offers good data plan. Remember to take your bank card along with the stuff mentioned above.
On a later stage, you’ve sorted out all of the above, you need to go shopping! You need lots of winter jackets, thermals, boots, ..etc and the place to go to is….? PRIMARK. Located on Prince street, the cheapest store you can find, they have everything, literally, everything with very competitive prices, so if the brand doesn’t matter a lot for you, you just need something that looks nice and does the job, that’s the place to go to.
Now, you are officially settled down and spending your money well (not so well maybe) you can finally enjoy the city and move around! lots of places to see and go to, I’ll mention the free ones: Arthur seat is a must (sunrise or sunset?), Calton Hill, Portobello beach, The Royal Mile and all of the museums (90% of them are free entry). Just remember there is always something new to see/do in Edinburgh.
That’s the end of this post! Remember to have fun, and yes, study from time to time.