It is the time of the year when high school graduates back in my home country Bulgaria are waiting for replies from the foreign universities and/or are deciding where to spend the next years of their lives. As a result, they are trying to gather as much information as possible for the countries and towns they may live in…I know that because I asked around last year and now it is my turn to respond. To save some time I will hopefully answer some of your questions by describing my personal experience here in Edinburgh, Scotland for the past 8 months…and please take into account that for some parts this is entirely my prospective and it may turn out to be different for you 🙂
- How is life in Scotland?
I remember that even I asked that but now I am wondering how should I answer: D The thing is once you establish your own daily routine – get up, go to uni, do a sport/ go to the gym, meet friends, get out, you realize these activities themselves would be entirely the same no matter in which country. The big difference is actually what opportunities you have to do them such as how many nice clubs, pubs, restaurants are there to go out, is there a nice park to go jogging…So, as straightforward as possible – life in Scotland, or let me be more specific, life in Edinburgh is interesting, colourful. The city is vibrant, alive, yet people on the streets look anxiety-free. The best part is you don’t feel pressed by huge skyscrapers…at least I do not feel small and insignificant in the big city, I feel like a small yet significant part of it. Here in Edinburgh you see young people from all around the world, the city center is like a small world itself – while waiting on the bus stop you can hear at least five different languages spoken. When the weather is nice and you have time, the parks and the hills, and even the streets are amazing for a walk…the numerous small cafes with great yet expensive brunch served are my favourite…You have theatres, cinemas, shopping centers, gyms, clubs, pubs, which all offer great student deals. If you love cities which are a combination between old and new, Edinburgh is for you (what an advertisement): D In addition, I visited Glasgow and I find it as amazing as Edinburgh with bigger pedestrian area which I loved! To see how beautiful Edinburgh is…
- What are the prices? Is it expensive?
Ok, of course it is more expensive than in Bulgaria due to the currency.
However, as far as grocery shopping is concerned, supermarkets such as ASDA and Lidl offer really reasonable prices for the main products. Stay away from Sainsbury though as it is almost two times more expensive. To get a better idea, here are pictures of two of my receipts. Additionally, if you want to eat out in a café and a restaurant it is at least 8-10 pounds. For a pizza night with friends there are great Domino’s, Papa Jones and Pizza Hunt vouchers!
If you live in Edinburgh (I do not know how it is in the other cities) you have a £ 40 expense per month for a public transport ridacard. It seems expensive but it is great as you can travel as much as you want with the Lothianbuses, Edinburgh trams as well as the Air link bus. Either way a one way ticket is £1,50, a day ticket – £3,50 and I am not sure about the night ticket since I have a ridacard. For more information check out http://lothianbuses.com/. For me, the public transport is much better than the Bulgarian, since during the week day you have a bus every 10-20 minutes, and during the night and the weekend buses run every 30 min.
Unfortunately, I live in a student accommodation and I can’t provide you with a lot of first-hand information regarding water and electricity expenses. However, from my friends who live in private flats I know those bills are around 50 pounds per month altogether. The interesting thing here is that, despite the bills, living in a private flat seems to be cheaper than staying in those offered by the university, I mean at least £100 per month cheaper.
As far as mobile phone costs are concerned, you can get very good offers (£5 – 10 per month) from giffgaff – https://giffgaff.com/ .
For me the most expensive part is the night life, even though some clubs have student offers it is still between £3 -10 entry + £1-2 wardrobe on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. It is cheaper to have a pre- drinking rather than drink in the club, but have in mind that in Scotland before 10 am and after 10 pm it is against the law to buy alcohol. Furthermore, always have your ID or driving license with you.
What about the clothes, shoes and cosmetics price? If you want cheap clothes Primark is your place, yet be extremely careful what you buy as some products quality is just…I do not even want to comment -_- 😀 Other places, hmm, I am not much of a shopping girl but I think you can find good value for money in most of the main chains such as HM and Top shop. Cosmetics, in my opinion, are an expensive part too. For example, a decent lipstick from Superdrug costs £6-10 …and believe me when you enter Superdrug you do not get out only with a lipstick: D
Last but not least I can think of is cinema and theatre ticket price. Cinema tickets vary according to the place but are between £ 8 and £12. Here are the regular theatre prices http://www.edtheatres.com/, however, a student deal for £10 per ticket in the day of the performance is offered, though you have to go personally with your student card and after 12 am. The “Playhouse” does not have such student deals as far as I know.
- What is the weather like?
I hope you realize you are not going to Majorca 😀 Still you should not believe all the stereotypes about the rainy and cloudy UK weather. Yes, it rains, but the good part is that it is only half of the day and the temperatures do not fluctuate as much as in Bulgaria. The autumn last year was pretty amazing with a lot of sunny days in September and October, however now in the spring there are some foggy and cloudy days…Still, in short, I think the weather in Scotland is as good and/or bad as in Bulgaria.
This turned out to be a little too long, but I hope I managed to give you a clearer picture about the life in Scotland and particularly in Edinburgh. If you have any other questions, please leave a comment and I will try to be as helpful as possible 🙂