Welcome to Freshers’ week!
Every college freshman will encounter a welcome week; where the newbies settle in before classes and all of the societies have booths lined up to recruit the fresh blood, but welcome week is a wee bit different in Edinburgh.
First off, it is called Freshers’ week, and is aptly named because it is mainly for freshmen (but all students are welcome). Second, it is more like a fair. There are tons of activities and tasters (taste sessions of clubs and societies) throughout the entire week that you can participate in. This makes it easy to meet new people, get involved, and never get bored. Edinburgh is famous for their Freshers’ week because it is the largest one in the United Kingdom. There are over 240 clubs and societies available, but sorry to anyone participating in Greek life back in the States, there are no fraternities or sororities here.
Although I am a senior, here in Edinburgh I am new and I blend right in with the Freshers. We share the same wide eyed look of being in a new place, starting a new adventure. Normally at this point in my life I would hole up in my room with a few snacks, a movie, or a good book but I have been pushing myself to get out and meet people; to get the full experience of studying abroad.
Part of stepping outside of my comfort zone involved participating in a Ceilidh. All of my friends and family at home know that at best I am an awkward dancer, with all the gracefulness of an Ostrich doing ballet, but I dragged a few of my friends to a crash course in Ceilidh. Ceilidh is the traditional Scottish dance (pretty much line dancing). The dance involves a lot of jumping, stomping, clapping, and spinning. As long as you are having fun you are doing it right. No one really cares if you don’t know the exact steps, just that you put some enthusiasm behind it. There are many Ceilidhs that Edinburgh throws throughout the year. The various societies will also have Ceilidhs/dances, for instance the Harry Potter society will throw a Yule Ball around the Christmas season, and there is a big Ceilidh to celebrate the end of Freshers’ week. They are extremely fun and I recommend trying one, or at least looking one up and seeing what it is.
Now my flat-
If anyone at home is like me you are very curious what the living accommodations are going to be like. For students in the United States most on campus living consists of a shared room and a shared bathroom with sweet-mates or a communal bathroom; at the University of Edinburgh on campus living is slightly different. I live in a flat; where I get my own study room. There are two toilets and one shower that is shared between five people, a large kitchen/ living space, and the flat is co-ed.
This week has been insanely crazy trying to move it, buying everything I need, and getting involved with all the festivities occurring around campus. It is crazy to think that I have already been here one week and that classes begin Monday, and as cliché as it is time flies when having fun.
Helpful Tip: Join societies and get involved. Don’t be embarrassed if you have never done something before because everyone is welcome and there is an entire class who is new too. The societies are a great way to meet new people, get discounts, and during Freshers’ week receive some free food which is great for the budget.