Susanna Meili decided to spend her autumn semester in Edinburgh. The Bachelor in Applied Languages student takes us on a tour from her dorm room at Heriot-Watt University to the Scottish seaside and talks about her experiences living and studying abroad. From the landscape to the culture, learn about Susanna’s exciting and rewarding semester, which immensely enriched her education.
By Susanna Meili, BA in Applied Languages
Edinburgh is a city full of life, history and contrasts. You can’t help but be charmed by its friendly residents, small tearooms and old buildings that make you feel like you stepped into a BBC period drama. With only half a million citizens, it may not be the largest city in the UK, but it offers everything you may long for as an exchange student in need of an adventure. The fantasy-like castle in the historic centre, free museums, spooky ghost tours through underground dungeons and the stunning view from the city’s own extinct volcano called Arthur’s Seat are all within the city limits and a 40-minute bus ride away from Heriot-Watt University’s campus. While the rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands north of the city are enticing and definitely worth a visit, Edinburgh itself and its nearby towns are exciting enough on their own to wander around in.
Off campus exploring Scotland
After a full week of studies including a challenging conference interpreting session, translation courses and several other social science classes, I board a bus to visit South Queensferry. The seaside town is an ideal spot for a day trip as it is easily accessible by direct bus from the university’s campus. After an hour-long bus ride across Edinburgh’s suburbs, I stand in the quaint centre of South Queensferry, next to a small medieval church. Together with a friend, I walk down the picturesque main road with its colourful storefronts and pubs until we see the impressive Forth Bridge. We treat ourselves to a sightseeing cruise which takes us to Inchcolm Island. Ashore, we explore an ancient abbey and feel like we have been taken back in time. The wind tousles our hair as we stand near a cliff, overlooking the estuary Firth of Forth. Seagulls cry above our heads while we walk around, looking for seashells on the tiny beach to take back home as keepsakes. As we board the ship that will take us back to the mainland, we even see a seal pop its head up above the water, looking at us curiously.
Back on the serene campus, we head to our comfortable dorms. We greet other students on the way and see one of the many university squirrels hurrying away into the adjacent forest. We smile and feel lucky to be here in Scotland, lucky to be allowed to study at a university that is so near to so many fascinating places and full of open people. Later that evening, I cook dinner in the common kitchen, telling my international flatmates about my day and already making plans for future trips.
Good to know: Living on campus
As previously mentioned, I chose to live on campus. The seminar rooms and lecture theatres are within walking distance of the dormitory, which is a big plus. The renting process was also rather simple. The application has to be submitted online through Heriot-Watt, where I was able to choose between a traditional and contemporary single room. The university will then send you an offer which has to be accepted within 7 days.
The University has several areas which are designed for studying. For example, the Learning Commons next to the Student Shop. Keep in mind, however, that these areas are often busy from Monday to Friday. In general, you will be more likely to find a quiet place at the weekend. The library is rather small and especially full at the end of the semester. If you are sensitive to noise, I would recommend studying in your room or in one of the many lovely cafes around town.
An exchange-semester to remember
Overall, my semester abroad was exciting and rewarding. Heriot-Watt University offered engaging courses while granting me enough space to explore Edinburgh and its surroundings. It was a memorable time that has indeed enriched my years of study immensely. I can therefore only recommend studying there if you have the opportunity. You’ll certainly enjoy your time in Scotland’s charming capital!
This is one of the five award-winning blog entries from the Autumn semester 2019 of the Bachelor in Applied Languages programme.
Students need to have in-depth intercultural experience if they are to become multilingual experts. This is why the fifth semester of the Bachelor of Applied Languages can be spent studying abroad. When studying at a host university, students are immersed in the language, life and culture of another country, and they return with an international network and in-depth intercultural skills, both of which are in high demand in the international job market. In their blog posts, students share a few of their impressions, providing readers with a glimpse into an enriching semester studying at one of the IUED’s partner universities.
Every year, about two thirds of the students in the BA in Applied Languages take advantage of this opportunity and spend their fifth semester at a university abroad or in a different language region of Switzerland. The IUED Institute of Translation and Interpreting has a wide network of partner universities around the world and assists students in finding the university of their choice.
Are you planning a semester abroad? Please note that due to the coronavirus outbreak, the study exchange programme has been disrupted. As the health and well-being of our students, faculty members and staff remains our top priority, the list of our partner universities is currently restricted. Please contact the International Affairs Office for further information.
The BA in Applied Languages at the IUED Institute of Translation and Interpretation turns language enthusiasts into language and communication professionals who can move effortlessly between languages, cultures and subjects. Many of our graduates go on to find positions in multilingual project, event or information management, in the language industry or in technical communication at the interface between humans and technology.